On Sunday afternoon, June 26, we (Sondra, me and David) left Shawnee and headed to Springfield, Missouri, to see Noel and Janice and Mark. We also wanted to see Janice's dad, Bailey Hill, as he is such a great friend and special person to us. We spent Sunday evening, Monday and Tuesday there in Springfield. Noel had his good moments and some bad episodes of chest and heart pain, as is usual now. He is waiting for the Cleveland Clinic to review all the data from his recent heart monitor recordings. But, Noel is always optiimistic and cheerful and fun to be with.
We went to the original Bass Pro shop and had their buffet breakfast one morning. It was fitting that the restaurant at Bass Pro was named Hemingway's, as David and I are now published authors (ha ha).
Since Mark's birthday was less than a week away (July 4), we had an evening of special food, gifts, cake and candles and an early birthday celebration for Mark on Tuesday (June 28).
One evening, Sondra had asked Bailey Hill to bring his guitar and sing some songs he had written. They were poignant and meaningful songs after the deaths of a son and then recently his wife. He also shared some poems and other songs. It was an emotional and touching time.
We left Springfield Tuesday evening, returning to Shawnee quite late. We were tired, but we knew we had enjoyed a wonderful visit to Noel and his family. Wednesday was a day with the grandkids. Jace and Kylee love playing Yahtzee, Clue, Mexican dominoes and Zilch. Macyn was her usual busy self, walking everywhere and getting into anything she could (and she was so cute doing it!).
Early Thursday morning, David and I drove over to Norman to see cousin Joanna Storm and her husband Gary. It is always a treat to spend time with them, as they are so gracious and caring. David tried to think of the last time he had seen Joanna, and it seemed to be at least 50 years since they last saw each other! We sat and talked at length and then had lunch there. David and I were thrilled to have some old-fashioned Grape soda with our sandwiches! (It doesn't take much to entertain us...chuckle chuckle!) We left after lunch and headed back to Shawnee, so I could spend some more time with mom, as well as Bill and Marti in Tecumseh.
On Friday, I got the chance of a lifetime. At least, for me it was. Jason invited me to accompany him to watch the cage fights (Extreme Fighting League) at the River Spirit Casino in Tulsa. Jason is a certified judge for matches for boxing and cage fighting through the Potawatomi Athletic Commission. So, we got into a car early Friday evening and headed to Tulsa with the Potawatomi Athletic Commissioner (Joey, whose day job is working as an agent with the Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics) and his co-worker (another agent for the Bureau who is a trained and certified to examine the fighters and their equipment prior to the bouts). They had very interesting stories to tell about drug busts and such. Prior to the bouts, I was introduced to Tim Tallchief, an Osage who is the announcer at our annual Pow Wows and is now the new director for our Potawatomi Health Clinics.
I am not into Extreme Fighting, but I wanted to go to this event at least once with Jason. It really was not as brutal as I thought it would be. The majority of the fighters were amateurs, trying to earn their way to the big time. So, it was actually an interesting and fun experience, sitting at "cage side" with Jason and the other VIPs surrounding the small arena. It was a late evening, getting home about 1 am Saturday morning.
Saturday was a day to relax and enjoy the grandkids again, as our plans were to leave the next day (Sunday) to head home. One of the special things we try to do every trip to Shawnee is take Jace and Kylee to Pop's. Pop's is a hamburger diner, gas station, Route 66 memorabilia store and a place where you can find a bottle of almost any soda pop which has been sold (Grapette, Orange Crush, Frostie's Root Beer, Bubble Up and so much more). This place has a whole wall (a refrigerated cooler) with hundreds and hundreds of various brands of soda pop.
So, we got ready and set out for Pop's, which is just outside Oklahoma City in Acadia. Since it was Fourth of July weekend, it was packed with tourists and so we didn't stay to eat like we usually do. We bought our sodas and went to the Brickyard in Oklahoma City to eat at Zio's (an Italian restaurant). Then, we went back to Jason's house and enjoyed our "pop."
We said our "good-byes" to the kids on Saturday night as we were ready to leave very early Sunday morning (July 3) at about 5:30 am. We picked up David around 6 am at mom's house and set out for home. As a side trip, we decided to stop at Glorieta for the night, staying at the Chaparral Inn on the grounds of the Baptist Conference Center there. On Sunday evening, we spent some time walking around Santa Fe and then eating at the restaurant of the La Fonda Hotel there. The Mexican food was delicious, but the real treat was being able to have the sopapillas (with butter and honey, naturally) for dessert. I left there with my taste buds satisfied.....ha ha.
We drove all day Monday (July 4) to return home. We hit some rain in the upper desert, just north of Rialto. We arrived at the house around 10 pm, tired and happy and filled with memories of a wonderful trip.