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Hello everyone I am home


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I thought I would drop in and let all of you know how my trip went. I wrote it out and if you know me you know it is a little long but it says what needs to be said.

I am afraid that I am really behind in the happings here on the board but will try to catch up soon. Seems I have a lot to catch up with everywhere so it will take a while. I hope you are all well and I want to let you know that even while away on my vacation you were all always in my thoughts and prayers.

Wow where do I begin? I guess the first thing is to thank my children for making it possible for me to have a sleeper this time. It was so much easier for me. I just can't seem to sleep unless I am laying flat so not only was it the comfort but I was able to get some good sleep at night.

I left here on January 26th after spending the night at Sherrell's in Red Bluff. I left Misty and my car there and took the Amtrack bus from Red Bluff to Stockton. The trip seemed to go pretty fast. I didn't get as tired as I thought I would riding that bus for so far. In Stockton I boarded the San Jauquin and rode it through the valley to Bakersfield. I just never get tired of that ride. The valley means a lot to me. I'll explain more about that when I cover my return trip.

After a good 3 day visit with my cousins in Bakersfield I again took an Amtrack bus to LA. It was so much easier. A red cap took me right to my sleeper car and the attendant took my bags aboard the train. I didn't even have to carry my overnight bag. My room was on the lower level and there were several bathrooms near by. I took my meals in the dining carupstairs and right behind my car. My meals were encluded so I didn't eat so much junk this time. All and all the trip was really good. We arrived less than an hour late on February 1st at the station in Scrhiever just outside of Houma where my family lives. My son in law Brian and my grand children were waiting for me.

My visit with my family was wonderful. I was there for Mardi Gras and saw my son ride. He was a duke again this year. I also attended the Hurcules Tableau witch is really quite a spectical. I had never been to one before. It was pretty neat watching Denny walk out in that huge headdress.

I also got to attend Lera's chior concert. It was great. On the day that my daughter in law Laurie rode I kept Christoper with me while Denny went with some of the other husbands to play golf. I got to keep Bridget's car after dropping her off at work. Chris and I went to lunch together and I got to go visit some of my friends at Dillard's where I used to work. I also went to visit with Denis' cousin my dear friend Dottie and her daughter Monique. It was sad to see them so unhappy mourning for Aunt Nora. It seemed strange for me to be there and her not be there. I always made a point to go visit with her when I went back to Louisiana.

I enjoyed visiting with all of my family. I wish I could have had more time with many of them especially Bridget but I understand they all have work and school. They lead busy lives. It was fun watching my two great grand babies Cy and Caroline. They are so precious and smart too. I had plenty of seafood and bar b que and one weekend I cooked a big meal for all of them. I tried to fill all of their requests. I made empanadas , fried chicken , cole slaw and home made bread and banana nut cake with whip cream.

My last weekend there we had a big crab and crawfish boil for the whole family. We had some old 8 mm movies that we had put on a vidio several years ago, That night we watched it. There were so many family members on it that are no longer with us, it was so good to see them again. There was also film of my children when they were little and even the movie of the day I got home form the hospital with Denny nearly 40 years ago. My old father in law and I shared a lot of memories in those films and the kids really enjoyed seeing their parents when they werelittle and people they never got to know.

All and all my visit was really great. I almost forgot to mention that I even got to beat Jared at Scrabble finally!! He is 22 now and has been beating us all sense he was in the second grade.

The return trip was great too. Once again I had the sleeper and this time I didn't even have to climb the stairs to go to the dining room. That was easier on my knees. I was also fortunate enough to have the same great crew that I had going.

No matter how many times I make that trip I never get tired of it. I have gone that same route by train and close to that route by car many times. I always see something different. As I was traveling through Texas I started to remember other trips and it occured to me how much I would love to have one of my grandchildren take that trip with me. I know to them it would be slow and maybe even boring. I would just like to try and share some of it with at least one of them. I don't want to just share what is there to see but the memories of other trips, trips by train and by car. Trips by myself and trips with Denis. There is just so much I could share with them.

I saw the usual things in Texas, deer and antelope and the mesas that make me always think of the old cowboy movies when I was little where there was always and indian appearing on the top of the mesa. This time I also got to see several buffalo that the train spooked. One evening I saw the exhaust trails of 6 jets at one time. The area is just so vast. There was also once again the thrill of crossing the Pecos river on the bridge that crosses the canyon high above. This time I even looked soon enough to get a good glimpse of Langtry, the little town made famous by Judge Roy Bean who proclaimed himself the law west of the Pecos.

We passed through most of New Mexico and Arizona at night but there are plenty of memories there as well. Sunrise found us approaching Palm Springs. The first thing you see arriving and the last thing leaving are the hundreds of windmills that are on both the valley floor and the hills surrounding the town. From there it is a short ride to LA and once again a bus to Bakersifield. I usually dread that bus ride through the mountain pass known as the grapevine but it was so nice this time. I have heard so many stories from my parents and other people dear to me about that area. I also saw a show on television a couple of years ago about the old Ridge Route that goes along the mountain ridge and was the first hiway to join North and Southern California by a land route. I know it is up there and in places I'm sure I could see parts of it.

Comming down the mountain into the valley is always something to see. In the distance as you decend you see the valley layed out like a patchwork quilt. Some fields are being tilled and others are already green with the new growth of another crop. This time the mountain sides were green from the recent rain and a riot of gold and yellow wild flowers seemed to just crop up everywhere.

Looking down on the valley I saw what looked like a blue sea and when we got closer I could see that it was wild lupin , acres and acres of wild lupin blue and purple. It was so beautiful.

After another brief visit with my cousins I was once again riding up through the valley. This time of year it is so easy to see why it is famous for growing most of this nation's produce. Fields were being plowed and in places new young vinyards were springing up. The irrigation ditches were full and flooding many of the fields and the different kinds of sprinklers were rolled out and sometimes you can see a rainbow in the mist they make.

That is when I really wish I had one of the children with me. That valley is so much a part of my roots. Mama and Daddy came here to California during the dust bowl. They followed the crops taking any work they could get often at slave wages. They survived and two of my 4 brothers were born in that valley, one in Portersville and another in Pixly. Every town name has a meaning to me. I remember riding on the old 99 long before it became a freeway. I remember when the main crop was cotton instead of grapes. There were always pods of white cotton caught up in the fences along the hiway.

There are so many orchards too. Peaches and plums and pears, Walnuts, Almonds and Pistasios all grow in that big valley. Many places were already picking the first crop of strawberries. Off in the distance I could see a groups of trees often oak but almost always the graceful eucoliptus. I always know that is where the farm house is. I know most of the trees by their shapes and I still marvel at the long roads that stretch off into the distance as straight as an arrow.

The valley is so wide but you know that the mountains are there both East and West of you even though you can't see them. Later as you come further North you can see the snow capped Sieras in the distance and you know that hidden back there are some of God's most beautiful treasures, Yosimite and Sequoia National Parks home to some of the largest living things on Earth and the largest granite monoliths and beauty that takes your breath away. There is also Mount Whitney hidden back there somewhere, one of the hightest mountains in the US.

All of those things touch my heart. I wish my children and grandchildren could see it through my eyes. Then again maybe it is not just seeing it but feeling it that makes it so specail to me. One of my favorite things is to see the Eucolipus lined up along the hiways like graceful sentinals standing at attention for the cars that are passing beneath them. Then once on the busin Sacramento there were the beautiful green fields and the cattle and horses grazing peacefully. I told my family that up here where I live is where the California cow commercials were made. I took pictures coming home. pictures of those beautiful places and I am sure it has to be where they filmed those commercials because they have every reason to be happy cows.

It was nice to take such a wonderful trip but it is always nice to be home. I'm still trying to catch up but I will get it in time. I'm not going to rush anymore. I just want to enjoy my life and not always be busy. I learned that one of my neighbors passed away while I was gone and another was put into a nursing home. Two sisters who live in my building lost their mom while I was gone and one hurt her back really bad. There was a flood here last week too. Seems it decided to rain one day like it does in Louisiana and the parking lot flooded and some of the apartments in building one on the first floor had some water in them. Things are getting back to normal.

I'm happy to be home hoping that my next trip will be as enjoyable as this one was. I 'm thinking I may take a small recorder with me. Maybe someday if not with me then without me someone in my family will take that trip and have my record of all those memories to tell about all they see and don't see.

Wow I didn't mean to write a book but the thoughts just kept coming. I hope you can picture some of what I am talking about. There was one disappointment in Louisiana. I noticed that there is handly any Spanish Moss left. I guess the winds from so many powerful huricanes have taken their toll.

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Lil, I am so glad you had such a wonderful trip and I'm also very glad to have you back with us!!!

You know, through your beautiful words, you children and grandchildren can accompany you on that trip. You have a wonderful way with words and while reading your post, I felt as if I was right there with you. Please share those words with your family, as I know the words will have strong meaning for them, also.

Welcome home!!!!

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Hi Lil,

Welcome home. Seems like ypu really had qute an adventure. You always seem to have such nice time when you visit your famly. They sound wonderful.

The train ride sounded really great for you. I never took a train anywhere and maybe I will in the future.

Sorry about all the things that happened when you were gone and relieved to know your apartment was not on ground level. :shock:

take care,

Maryanne :wink:

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Wow! What a trip. I've never been further west than Dallas, TX, but your descriptions take me with you. If things weren't so hectic I would have loved to visit you while you were here. I pass near Houma pretty regularly these days, going to work and home. Seen that train running along Hwy 90 many times. Thought about tking a train ride to nowhere someday. Still may. Thanks for sharing your story.


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