Last week Coleman, Ava, & I drove across the country from North Carolina to Minnesota over 1,200 miles to move Coleman to the “dontcha know” state for the summer for his internship with an egg production company. Lee was originally supposed to take Coleman & that’s what we had planned on, up until about a week before departure. The reason Lee didn’t get to go was due to an almost fire at The Berry Patch. Lee was making ice cream & saw the power flicker & knew there was a problem. Upon investigation, he discovered there was a fire inside our electrical panel box. One of the many advantages of small town living is having the contact info for people that can help during a crisis. Lee quickly called a family friend who came out in a flash & addressed the issue, called in help to repair the problem-disaster avoided. Had Lee not been there at that very moment, things would have probably ended up differently, perhaps a large fire. It was at that very moment, that we realized me taking Coleman would better serve our family. There are too many things that can go wrong with our business alone & Lee is often the only one that can fix the issues. I like to call him Macgyver (young people, Macgyver was a man that could build a bomb out of coffee & Windex). I often tease Lee by saying I’m going to have that nickname inscribed on his tombstone.
Coleman got home from his study abroad trip from Norway & Sweden on Wednesday & we headed out Thursday morning for our trek. For the most part, our trip was uneventful which was completely shocking to us, I know it has to be for you also! I was more shocked to see that there are numerous Shoney’s still in existence in other parts of our fine land (their hot fudge brownie was always to die for) & a Cracker Barrel stands literally every 15 miles on the interstates. Taking two days to get to Coleman’s summer home-he’s living large, we saw some wonderful parts of America we’ve never seen, from lots of farm land, the rolling hills of Wisconsin, to miles & miles of windmills.
Upon arrival, we met Coleman’s roommate, did a quick tour of his apartment which is really nice, & went grocery shopping on my dime so he could to stock up his kitchen. I would love to see his place right now. I wonder just how clean it is or isn’t. We only took one car which was Coleman’s so he could have it for transportation while in Minnesota, meaning that Ava & myself would have to fly home. I went 43 years without flying, had intended on making it the rest of my life without spreading my wings, but when you make proclamations like “I’m never doing blah blah blah”, the universe has a way of saying “oh yes you are”! Flying & snakes have always been my worst fears…still are! I am really good at tamping down things I dread until the very last moment, I tried not to think about flying at all, that was until we got to the airport that morning. Coleman literally dropped Ava & I off at the door & gunned it! I had zero idea of what to do. I felt like The Clampet’s from The Beverly Hillbillies when they flew to England. Ava was my source of interpretation, reasoning, & mostly importantly, calm. I’ve heard horror stories from various people about their TSA experiences, but the one thing I was most worried about, was not having socks on while my shoes & body were being scanned. Now all I can worry about is contracting plantar warts! Worried that we would be pulled aside for something because we are The Berry’s after all, my first TSA experience was pleasant. Nothing was confiscated nor taken. That meant one thing in my mind, the plane was gonna crash! The Berry luck has to come in to play somewhere!
After lunch at some swanky pizzeria inside the airport, Ava & I headed to the boarding gate. This is when the moments of dread & second guessing our flight began. I was seriously considering a train ride home, but those accidents are always in the news. All was fairly calm until take off. If you’ve ever been to Disney & ridden the Tower of Terror, that’s what I compared a plane ride to. It was like that ride during take-off & landing. The flight was actually wonderful, smooth mostly, just terrifying for this big chicken. During take-off, I was crying like a baby. There I was facing my biggest fear without medication! Ava my source of reasoning & comfort patted my hand & wiped my tears. She was a champ & loved her first flight…that girl is going places, too. Once settled into the blue sky, here comes the drink cart & snacks. We were in the air for less than two hours, those were some eating people! All I could think about (other than crashing) was my Grandma saying she didn’t know why people had to eat all the time. If they had a meeting, they ate, if they had Sunday School, they ate, if it was the last day of school, they ate! It was then I wished I was a man. An older man was dead asleep during all that raucous. Wrappers being fooled with, cans opening, ice being put in cups, not to mention the noise of the plane itself-it was like being in an eternal vacuum. Men…they can sleep anywhere! Remember the picture of Lee falling asleep at an actual Keith Urban concert? All was well & wonderful with the flight, the hardest part was trying to find Mama when she came to pick us up at the airport.
I kept thinking when was the bad luck going to rear its ugly head? Were we going to get in a wreck on the way home? No, we made it home successfully also! It wasn’t until Sunday evening that that bad luck made its entrance, my throat started hurting. No big deal, but the next day it was my back, neck, & slight cough. The next day even worse, & the next-boom, full-blown sickness. Coughing my head off, severe sore throat, achy body, fever, some flesh eating bacteria inside my mouth (not really but feels like it) & fever blisters not only on my lip, but my chin! Ava has a mild version of it also. I knew our perfect luck was too good to be true. Someone on that plane gave me the bird flu as my Aunt referred to it. I’ve coughed so much I’ve lost my voice. Pictured below is what I did this morning to try to help rid this awful invasion on my body, I roasted garlic cloves & ate them. Now I love garlic & could eat roasted garlic all day, every day. This is also a result of people that don’t have health insurance which is so foolishly expensive if you are self employed, ours was finally up to $35,000 a year & we had to drop it. So sad!
And to top it all off, our Directv satellite signal has been lost yet again-please refer to my previous blog for more information about Dear Aunt Sue. I wish I had my Aunt Sue’s pistol!
All in all, it was a great trip. Jack was being taken care of by his caregiver, Mama, & Lee. Although I was extremely worried that he might get out-of-sorts without me home, he did exceptionally well. He never knew I was gone out of town, only thought I was working really long hours. This was intentional because as you’ve read in my other blogs, Jack can get stirred up. Jack has continued to do so well behaviorally, we have truly been amazed. There have not been any medication changes at all, so we know without a shadow of a doubt, that the positive changes we have seen in Jack are a result of prayer. Our prayers, your prayers were heard & we couldn’t be more grateful. Thank you to every single one of you that has lifted our family up & shared our story with your church or a friend so that they too could pray for our situation. Jack is back like his old self. Getting out several times a week with his caregiver, whereas for nearly two years, his outings were less than once every two months, sometimes longer. We have been blessed greatly by The Great One.
How exciting it is for us to see our children grow. For many years, Coleman had zero interaction with peers & would only communicate with close family members & now he’s many states away from us at only 19 years of age learning about so many different aspects of life. After I got home & was doing laundry, I washed Coleman’s towel & when Ava was putting the towels up that evening, I said, don’t hang Coleman’s towel up, he won’t be using it this summer. That was a sad sentence to use. He may not ever use it again in our house. He’ll be coming home from Minnesota straight back to State into an apartment there. There’s no telling what direction he’ll go in, I just hope we are there to enjoy the journeys even if it does mean more plane rides & the bird flu!