Sunday, August 24, 2014

Vacation 2014: Yellowstone Meat in a Family Sandwich-cation, Day 3

Today we continued the sad task of sorting through mom’s things. Dad spent most of the morning struggling with his oxygen machine, a concentrator which plugs into the wall and sucks oxygen from the air, and like espresso is to coffee, shoves delicious oxygen up one’s nose.

My brother and his wife, and my sister, finished going through the clothes, and marveled at the intricacy of mom’s wardrobe. Scarves, hats, and socks for days. It seemed like a lot more than it was, I think mostly from the overwhelming emotional aspect to what we were doing. It is hard to reconcile the absence of someone so integral to your existence. And it will likely continue to be so for a while.

Around 1pm, it was time to say goodbye to my sister. She needed to return to Reno, and took my dad and aunt with her. Patsy enjoys the occasional trips out of town and Dad had doctors appointments this next week, so the timing was good.

For lunch we split a burger at McAdoo’s next to Cowboy Joe, which used to be so big-city espresso for a small town, until the inevitable sporing of Starbucks, which also carried a JoAnn’s, Home Depot, Ross, Marshalls, and of course, Walmart.

We relaxed in the afternoon, at the house just watching the sun cross the sky and relished the slight chill in the wind that carried the waning of summer, a rather wonderful reminder that autumn was just around the corner. Yes, Elko actually has that season. L.A. is just horrible blue skies all year, and occasionally you need a jacket, other than that, there are no seasons, and really no weather to speak of.

For dinner we joined my brother and his family for some good old fashioned Nevada sushi. It wasn’t bad. I have had way worse in Los Angeles, but have also had amazing, and I would say this was solidly good, right on the verge of really good. Ultimately we ate too many things, and drank to many sakes. I’m just not used to the generosity of places that offer all you can eat sashimi. Especially with a huge bottle of sake, billed as a single serving for $8.

After we went back to his house and had a drink and talked more about our family, causing boredom for everyone around us. We thought about dragging out the evening, but given it is a school night for several of those in his house, and we need to be at the bank early tomorrow to take care of some family business, we decided to call it a night.

I know it seems strange to start a vacation with such a heavy task, but really there was no other time that worked for the three of us. While we barely made a dent in the true task of clearing the house of its excesses, there is still the sense of accomplishment of a good start to a difficult and meaningful part of life. There is an inevitability that we all face that someday, someone will judiciously go through all your crap. And that the measure of your value has little to do with the actual small things that were so important to you, but to whether or not your sorter will know the difference: what is important, valuable and worthy of preservation, and which garbage and secrets deserve to stay buried. Because THAT, among all the other things, is love.

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