(note: with all this going on… not so much stock work. As soon as we’re back in the field i’ll have a new sheep post – promise.)

I’ve been thinking a lot this week about blessings.  For all of the crazy, stupid things I have done I have been blessed with some amazing opportunities and experiences.  My ex used to say that God let all of these strange things happen to me because He enjoyed laughing at me.  He gave me lemons, I made flavored vodka.  He sent rain, we got free used tires and made a mud pit (true story) or created a mud slip and slide on a grassy hill (also true and unpopular with the manager of the apartment complex I lived in).  I’m starting to think this is a hereditary trait.

My grandmother passed away this two weekends ago now.  Her service fell on the weekend of April Showers stockdog trial.  I was blessed that Bob and Evie and the club just picked everything up and made the trial work in my absence. When I asked for coverage, they didn’t skip a beat.  Ev took over all of the prizes and other such Souxie Cruze Director type things.  Bob CD’d the entire weekend, when that was not the deal we’d made.  It seems to have worked perfectly.  Between Bob, Ev, our trial volunteers getting the trial done and my friend Christine and neighbor Andy looking after the dogs… I didn’t have to worry about home.

Grandma passing also gave me a chance to learn about her life.  My mothers family including my grandmother is Southern ala Mississippi, North Florida and Alabama. Kicking around the Cantonment since at least the early 1800’s.  She was the oldest girl of 11 kids and her first home was a train caboose as her father was an engineer between logging camps in Mississippi and the mills in ‘bama.  They had a small plot of rented land at the logging camp and the older boys and my grandmother drove mules to plow.  That is how she rolled.  If they boys could do it, she could do it faster and better.  In adulthood, she was a navy wife.  Like most modern Navy wives, my grandmother pulled in extra income by having a job.  True to form though, instead of just having a job, she owned and operated a seamstress company, had five employees and did her own books (TYVM).  She made drapes and custom dresses for the well to do ladies of Norfolk & Chesapeake.  As we are talking this year about ‘Leaning In’, my grandmother was doing all this in the 1950’s & 60’s with four boys and a daughter. She was powerful that way.  Telling her she could not do something was more invitation than advice.  Also, a touch genetic.  Ancestry is great for getting facts; birth dates, date of death, where people lived.  Documentation doesn’t give the kind of context that allows us to draw the grey line between knowing about your family and knowing your family.  Knowing that grandma drove like a hellion and when they moved to Maine, she would purposefully skim the snowdrifts while driving the car is the kind of texture I think we sometimes miss. Note the third possible genetic trait.

Her funeral provided some interesting opportunities. I found out the next ‘baby’ cousin is getting married. While Cherry Point, NC in July is not on the beach resort I specifically requested, i’ll muddle through a Marine wedding surrounded by guys in uniform.  I got to meet my elder cousin Jay for the first time. Jay’s story is really interesting, but we’ll save it for another day – except to say any guy who can call a stranger and say “hi, I think you’re my Uncle.” is pretty brave. I got to spend real time with my cousins, Aunt and Uncle. They have always lived far away, so even though the timing was bad I wouldn’t trade it.

The final blessing i’ll mention before I close is about the trip planning itself.  My mother likes to take the red eye flight to the east coast.  I happen to think that should be in the DSM – V as a sign of insanity. I found out grandma had passed on Sunday night and on Tuesday I finally got it together enough to make the flight, car and hotel reservations.  So, coast to coast with two days notice. Awesomeness.  What I found was nothing short of a Christmas miracle – discounts on everything!  A flight to Norfolk during normal-people hours with only one connection in an airport I don’t hate.  Then I found an unrestricted first class ticket available on the return flight for $100 more than the unrestricted Coach ticket.  What was truly nonsensical was that the unrestricted tickets were almost $400 cheaper than the restricted coach ticket.  My mother was born in the late ’40’s and has never flown anything other than coach.  I’ve logged hundreds of flight hours (we calculated once that I had made twenty two flight legs before I was able to get a driving permit) and never been in First Class.  It is the place that resides on the other side of the ugly curtain. Glasses are glass. Food and drink – free. The food was on plates with silverware, not boxes and there was a cheesecake dessert. We were stuffed! My mother and I commented that we both felt like we were in someone elses (huge) seats.  It was nice to let my mom have a comfortable ride home after a long, hard weekend.

We are so blessed.  And I suspect if you look hard, you’ll see that you are too.

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