Into December

For the first time in many years, we did not go to Kentucky for Thanksgiving. Things change, and this year my son Justin and my father-in-law Gene were not able to make the eight hour drive.  

Gene is stable after a stroke at Christmas last year and a long recovery period.  He has his sense of humor back, but it's a slog at this point for recovery of physical skills.  One of the big adjustments has been a 50% loss of field of vision in both eyes, making driving impossible and even watching tv difficult.

Justin continues to battle the progression of Duchenne's Muscular Dystrophy, but things have been quite difficult functionally.  He can't transfer anymore without a mechanical lift.  I used to just pick him up and move him around, but he doesn't have enough muscle structure for me to do that without hurting him.  Justin still has function in his hands, head and neck.

An executive decision was made to host Thanksgiving at our house, and things were a bit crazy for a few days with every bed taken, along with some inflatable mattresses and camping pads on the floor.

The weather here wasn't great.  My parents, who are in their eighties, were unable to drive over from Iowa due to rain, cold, and high winds.

I was in charge of the turkey, stuffing, and gravy.  Those were things that I did well before we started going to Kentucky, but I'm out of practice, which added to my stress level.  I can't say that the quality was anywhere near what Jill prepares in Kentucky, but we made it through.

Daughter Allie assisting

As the kids are now all becoming adults and the adults are becoming frailer, it will get harder and harder to have these gatherings with everyone present.  I'm grateful that it could happen at least one more time.

Julia's sister's family

One of our unique family Thanksgiving traditions is to celebrate my nephew Zach's birthday on the last day of our visit.  He is 17 this year.  In the photo above, you can see that he has outgrown his father, who is taller than me.  Below, we are gathered for tacos and ice cream cake.

Both of my kids are busy finishing up their semesters at college.  Allie will graduate in just a couple of weeks and is busy interviewing for jobs.  With the primary gun hunting season over, I'll be returning to the woods for hiking.


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