Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Journey Through the Storm

"There are some things you learn best in calm, and some in storm."
- Willa Cather

The Storm - Pierre-Auguste Cot, Oil on canvas, 1880,
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City, New York

Violent storms swept through Weldon Springs last night and into the morning. Vivid lightning, crashing thunder, and bursts of noisy hail joined torrents of rain in the assault. What a crazy night.

I felt as though the storms were a sort of manifestation of the storm that's lately been passing through the family ethos here, as well. As we prepare for the family to caravan to Kansas City in a couple of days for a weekend celebration of my mother's life, we seem to have entered a phase of conflicting, sometimes downright warring, emotions. We're a household of crazy people.

It can't be helped. I know this. I just don't know if the rest of the family knows it. We'll get through this...we have before and we will again. They don't seem to remember this, though.

It's stressful. Planning for any trip is stressful these days, even if it's just for one traveler. Multiplied by nine (with two of those travelers being small children), things that would normally be small issues seem to cause storm clouds to gather quickly. If we factor in the reason for the journey (the anticipation of a difficult goodbye to a dearly loved person), those storm clouds are bound to burst open.

Some in the family are focusing on transportation issues. Cars need repairs and cleaning and expensive gas in order to make the trip. Airline travel has been arranged for The Graceful One to fly into Kansas City. Hmm. I guess someone should plan on picking her up at the airport.

Some are focusing on keeping children occupied for hours in the car...handheld video games and players seem to be the saving grace for today's parents. Hmm. No more "Billboard Bingo" I guess.

Some are focusing on clothing for the occasion. Does everyone have socks? How about jackets? What will the weather be like (heaven knows!)?  Hmm. What does one wear to a memorial service to be held at a resort/spa?

Yes, that's what I said. My mother's memorial will be held at the hotel/hot springs resort/spa where my mother and father spent their honeymoon over 65 years ago. It's called The Elms in Excelsior Springs, and is about 40 miles north of Kansas City.  Here is a picture of it...

The Elms Resort and Spa

The Elms is over one hundred years old and is famous for the healing mineral waters that used to draw thousands of visitors each year back in the early days. One of its most famous guests was President Harry S. Truman, who stayed there on the eve of his re-election in 1948.

He must have heard how much my parents enjoyed it.

But I digress. I'll tell you a bit more about the plans for the memorial tomorrow. If I have time between the cars and the video games and the clothes shopping.

Now that the storm has passed through, the morning is cool, the air is clear, and the light is returning. Let's hope the family can manifest that, as well.

Today, I hope you can see past the storm.

I've selected a favorite song from a favorite genre of my parents' day, the Big Band Era. The inimitable Les Brown and his Band of Renown plays "Sentimental Journey" with the divine Vikki Carr singing the vocals.  Enjoy!

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