Opinion: In the loving arms of family

Tennessee is beautiful this time of year. I spent last week just outside Nashville, in the community of Spring Hill. Beautiful homes, clean streets and a good school district.


My Kirk family lives there: my mom’s brother, Pete Kirk, his wife Nada, née Gibbens, and her son-in-law and daughter, Van and Lori Woody, née Kirk.


During sad times, the loving arms of one’s family are extremely restorative.


I experienced the kindness of traveling strangers in an incredibly friendly atmosphere. Offers of help with my bags, a tram to take me between gates — the whole American Airlines experience.


There are some things one should not say to strangers, such as pull up your pants. Tie your shoes, young man. I’ve done it before, in a grocery store in Madera, it did not go well. The response was less than cordial.


Flying cross-country is an interesting journey. There are so many sights and sounds in an international airport. Starting at Fresno Yosemite International, the next stop was the Dallas Fortworth IA. After a two-hour layover, my arrival in Nashville is where my flights terminated. To recap, FYI to DFW and the BNA. Airport acronyms are sometimes confusing.


On my flight from home from DFW to FYI, I found myself seated across from a lady with a shaved head and two children younger than five. The row behind her was another mother with another child, this one less than three. Seated adjacent to a playpen, I thought. Frazzled moms and unhappy children on a plane are not a good combination.


The children settled down and the flight was fairly quiet. Smartphone reception was quite good, especially with so many devices tuned into the limited number of websites and movies available, for free, to the passengers.


The refreshments were a bit skimpy. Cookies with hot or cold beverages. The afternoon flight from DFW to FYI was beverages and salted corn kernels. I felt insulted when the pilot, on the last leg of the trip, called Fresno a little, small airport. An accurate depiction compared to Nashville and Dallas, but still insulting.


Traveling is not for the weak. My Rheumatoid Arthritis was not happy with the amount of walking involved.


The seven days of joy in my heart more than made up for any discomfort I experienced.


Shared memories with people who love me and watching home movies of our childhood brought laughter and happiness. Seeing my parents in the home where I grew up on a long-ago Christmas warmed my heart so.


One scene, especially of my Grandma Lillie Mae Kirk waving and walking to her little old car, is especially poignant.


One evening, I learned to play Texas Hold-em. An easy game to learn, much harder to master.


My time in Tennessee seemed to fly by, and, before I knew, it was time to come home. Though tired from my adventure, I wouldn’t trade it for the world. There is something about sleeping in my own bed that is just too fine for words.


Hold close to your loved ones ya’ll, as life is fleeting and every visit could be your last. Tomorrow is promised to no one.


Long days and pleasant nights. Have a blessed weekend.


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