January 12, 2014
Ok folks, when I started this story I hadn’t meant it to be a book. I didn’t even mean for it to be more than about 2 posts, but it has evolved into that. I regret not keeping a diary while we were there as the longer it goes the harder it is for me to keep it all straight in my mind. Good thing my memory has always been sharp. LOL
Anyway, to conclude the story, here goes:
After we returned to MAM headquarters Sunday afternoon, Oct. 13, 2013 we had to say good-bye to our beautiful, sweet, graceful, talented, and beloved daughter, Kendra Lily. (I could go on and on about her but I’ll spare you all. ) Anyway, she needed to head back to El Chal so she could be at the clinic the next day. Vernon and Tim Korver took her to the bus terminal so she could take the night bus back up. She said she got a really good bus.
Tiana didn’t go along with her as Benj’s family was headed down to the mission that same night. Holly’s parents were due to fly into the City from PA on Monday the 14th. I am sure they met the bus KL was on somewhere in the middle of the night.
I woke up early that morning thinking I heard the voice of little people. I was up in a flash. I told Vernon that our grandchildren were here. We got up and went outside our room and there was no one stirring. ????? I must have been dreaming! Looked at the clock and it was about 5 AM. So, disappointed, I went back to bed.
Later on, we found out that Benj’s had gotten to the mission about 4:30 AM and apparently had come in to use the bathroom and then finished the night out in their pickup. So, I wasn’t imagining things after all. If I’d gotten out there sooner maybe I could’ve brought one of the little ones in to sleep or cuddle in our bed.
Anyway, they were there for breakfast and it was a sweet reunion again. We had only been gone for 4 days so it was fun for them too as they remembered us well.
After breakfast, Holly and I walked down the street to Walmart for her to pick up a few needed items. Later on, Vernon went with them to the airport to pick up James and Cheryl Long. We hadn’t all been together since Benj and Holly’s wedding 7 years earlier so this was special. Of course, we had to take some pictures of our shared grandchildren.
They had planned to head north soon after lunch but Tiana and her Daddy finally had their much-needed father/daughter talk……so they patiently waited until they were done talking.
Of course, I used this time to fill up my Grandma Love Tank with the little ones and having a good time with Cheryl and Holly too. Cheryl and I share a lot of the same interests.
Even so, the painful good-byes came at last.
Saying good-bye to another beautiful, talented and lovely daughter was maybe more difficult than it was with KL. Tiana had planned to fly home for a visit in November but had just learned that she had missed her chance to use her ticket. We thought that she had a year from the time she flew down. Unfortunately it was a year from when it was booked in Oct. She was so disappointed and was really trying to work through this so it was hard part but we felt it best that she stay in Guatemala for the time being. (She is in instruction class and she has been blessing Benj’s family by helping with housework.)
After seeing them off, we and Tim Korver’s went downtown to Dr. Tercero (the Urologist) and Dr. Manuel Caceres’ office. Rhoda had been having some issues with her stomach so I had made an appointment with one of my doctors who specializes in her problem. We got there and were in the waiting room when the receptionist called us to go in.
Dr. Manuel, didn’t know we were there and I wished so much that I’d had a camera ready. He started to usher us into his office when his eyes lit up and a grin as big as it could go when he suddenly recognized us. He stuttered a little as he got over his surprise. “Yes. Yes. Yes, of course.” That’s one of his favorite quotes.
This man has been a very close friend over the years. We met him when Tiana was just 5 days old. I had had a gallbladder attack then and Vernon had brought me to the hospital. Dr. Fahsen called his brother, Julio, who examined me and turned me over to his older brother Manuel. We clicked with him….(we hadn’t with Julio) and a couple years later he eventually operated on me and removed the offending organ. He also saw me through a few other problems, such as sinus infections, kidney stones, etc. He also did surgery on Vernon’s left middle finger that he had pinched off in the hammermill accident.
The one thing I remember was how supportive he was in Joy Coates’ ordeal. He had taken care of Melissa when she had an asthma attack. He even had gone to the airport when the authorities took Joy and were going to fly her to the US. (You can read about that in “A Song For Your Honor”….by Kay Evans published by CLP). Even now, he will answer my questions via email if I happen to want to know something. He works with the German embassy as he is fluent in that language. He also works with insurance companies for the tourists. If a tourist gets sick or has an accident, he will fly out to the tourist in a plane or helicopter and transport that person to a hospital in the City. He also will fly with that person to his or her country for medical help.
After we visited a little we left his office so that Rhoda could have her appointment. When that was over we stopped on another floor to say hello to our Ob/Gyn Dr. Derik Fahsen. He was not there as he was doing a C-section. We were disappointed but it couldn’t be helped so we headed back to the mission.
We finally got back to the mission and we packed up ready to leave the next morning. Had a nice visit with Harold Kauffman. Harold had been our bishop here at Sheldon Mennonite for a number of years but had returned to Guatemala in July to help out there. He is amazing…88 years old and still going strong. When he is here, he lives at Conrath Villa, only a block away.
Next day came too soon as we had to get up early. I don’t remember who took us to the airport. Either Craig or Tim.
We were there early so we took advantage of that by looking for a “Recuerdo” for Jonny. I had gotten everybody else something. Dress fabric for the girls, coffee for Marvin, an umbrella for Kaity but nothing for Jonny. I knew what I wanted but it took us awhile to find the right one. So here it is:
We flew to San Salvador then on to Chicago. The flights and lay over went well and once we were in Chicago we got a bus to Beloit, WI.
Vernon called Arthur Kauffman, Harold’s son, who had come to the airport and took our car, a RED MUSTANG, back to Beloit so that we wouldn’t have to pay $17 a day to be parked at the airport. (Vernon had warned him that he MIGHT want to park it behind his house. )
Arthur and Evelyn met us at a McDonald’s with the car and instead of eating there we decided to go awhile before stopping. So away we went, headed north and home!
I am not exactly sure where we stopped. There were a choice of 2 restaurants….McDonald’s or A&W. When Vernon asked my opinion, I said we hadn’t been to an A&W since 1986 so that sealed our fate. When we got inside, there was a group of 15 or 20 youngsters with a couple of adults. Looked like a kindergarten class. They were a noisy group but when we were joined by a busload of middle school students we wondered if we had made a mistake in our choice of restaurants. The din was awful!
We gave our order: I ordered a Coney Dog and a rootbeer float. He got a hamburger and a rootbeer float. Then we got an order of onion rings to share. We found a corner that we thought we could eat in peace but were soon surrounded by these preteens or young teens who were having the time of their lives, hollering, joking, laughing and of course, eating. We didn’t stick around any longer than we had to. We were anxious to get home anyway so the desire to linger wasn’t even a temptation.
We were motoring up the highway for about a half hour when I casually mentioned to Vernon that my belly was feeling a bit gassy. He asked me if I needed to stop. I told him that it wasn’t desperate but I could probably use the restroom before too long. Not long late,r I saw an exit ahead so I told him that I changed my mind, that I did need to use a restroom and it was getting urgent. We pulled up to the gas station and I was out the door as soon as it was safe to get out of the car.
I spent so much time in the ladies’ room that I was afraid that Vernon would be worried about me….. ;( When I finally felt well enough to return to the car I was surprised that Vernon wasn’t there. I went back in the convenience store and was browsing when the urge hit me again so back I went to the restroom. Finally, back on the road, Vernon confessed that he almost didn’t make it to the restroom in time. Oh, did we ever laugh! I think howling may be more like it. Every time I thought about it I started to giggle and then Vernon would join in. He told me that he was glad he had a wife that could laugh about things such as this. We have wondered what caused the scoots but figured it had to be the onion rings. Whatever it was, neither of us are too anxious to patronize an A&W again for awhile. If it had been about 30 years since the last time, well maybe waiting another 30 years won’t hurt. And Culver’s is a very good substitute in our opinion.
Finally arrived home about 11 PM……and our bed and our own pillows felt as good as we had remembered them. It was so good to be home.
What a vacation! What a trip! All because of a 4.5mm kidney stone.
One thing I forgot to mention: Before we left Jonny had asked me to tell Lee Burkholder hi for him. When I met Lee I told him I had a message from Jonathan Martin. “Oh, do you live in the same area as Jonny?” “Do you go to the same church?” Imagine his chagrin when he realized that I was Jonathan’s mother.