Oh gosh, I’m not sure if this got published. Blogging is complicated!! This should be just before Loranger and Back, which was before Heading South which we just published yesterday.
The Joiners are still here in Oklahoma! Our last blog post was January 18. Here it is February 12. We’ve kept a fairly accurate running account of our activities of the last month, and today we finish it up with some pictures. We apologize that a couple of paragraphs or photos may be out of chronological order, but it has been an eventful month.
We had a good time on our road trip to meet Harley and Kerry from Broken Bow in Southeast Oklahoma. We met in Poteau, Oklahoma. Saw the final resting place of Harley’s parents. Keith has great memories of that clan when he was youngster. We enjoyed the company, and Fort Smith, Arkansas was a great day destination. We did a little walking at the Janet Huckabee Nature Conservancy, walking around Beaver Creek and Wells Lake (Joanette’s maiden name is Wells!), enjoyed lunch at Freddy’s and then hit old (very old) Fort Smith. Originally an outpost, then a Civil War Fort, we could have had a great walk around old Fort Smith, but the wind came up and it was way tooooooo cold for our comfort! We had a great day and look forward to our next meeting!
We are currently camped out at Camping World Tulsa which is not totally bad. We are about 15 minutes from Dad’s, over on this street, onto this highway, then off here and viola! we are there! The site is free and Dad has a little space from us!! We are waiting for a couple of repairs, which involves them figuring out what is needed, getting part numbers, getting the extended warranty inspector out, etc. and some regular annual maintenance. So we’ll spend a couple of weeks in Dad’s guest room.
While still here in Tulsa we’ve gone on a few little excursions, John, Keith and I went to “The Gathering Place” here in Tulsa a few days ago. It is apparently a very innovative partnership between the City of Tulsa and several corporations and private donors. A very large piece of land along the Arkansas River right adjacent to downtown, has been turned into a hand’s on learning and play area, with two architecturally stimulating places to learn, eat, sit, enjoy…. outside there are ropes courses, playgrounds, climbing walls, ponds, skate boarding venues, picnic areas, lakeside sitting areas, and walking trails. The trails lead across Riverside Drive on pedestrian bridges to a several mile route which follows the river. There are basketball courts, tennis courts, beach volleyball courts, places to sit. It is a lovely place, hard to describe, but listed by USA Today as the number one attraction in America a year or two ago. It is definitely not an amusement park, but would be both fun and healthy place to spend some great time with the youngsters! Really wish our own grandchildren could come and see The Gathering Place in Tulsa!
Yesterday (this was actually a couple of weeks ago) was a ride out to Heyburn Lake, which John and Dad remember as a “mudhole”! Actually a small reservoir with a couple of Army Corps of Engineers campgrounds, about 40 minutes from Dad’s home in Bixby. John left to return to Palm Springs. We planned on seeing him and Bill again in mid February.
A few days later we took Dad up to Claremore OK to the Will Rogers Museum and then to Oolagah to Will Rogers Birthplace Ranch. We had another great day!!
We are certainly doing the touristy thing. Again, Dad, Keith and I went to Pahuska OK and visited Ree Drummond’s “The Pioneer Woman Mercantile”. A town put back on the map by the rancher’s wife who cooks on TV known as The Pioneer Woman. Again we had a great time.
All of these excursions, Keith’s dad is filled with stories about the time he did this or that. He loves to tell them, we still listen!
Did I mention that Dad came to decision that he would go crazy staying alone in the home, that there were great people at Sand Plum, that he would eat well and the apartment life would be nice. We got the ball rolling, went back and looked over the available apartments, picked out the one he thought he would like best, bought a gallon of paint for the maintenance guy to paint an accent wall in the living area and bedroom while he was replacing the carpet and tile. Dad had his nursing assessment done on Friday! Move in day would be Thursday, February 13, followed by a Valentines party at Sand Plum. This was good news!
Coach was almost done with the maintenance and repairs at Camping World, Keith and I and the doggies would be able to go back and stay there, giving Dad a little independence and a place where we could turn the thermostat down! This was also good news! Friday was a good day for us all. We went out for pizza with one of his Gaddis Steps, Robyn, got home, slathered his fragile skin with his medicated ointment, reminded him to take his pills, and headed out for our first night back in our own home.
We came in Saturday morning expecting to see Dad puttering in the kitchen, frying bacon or baking pies for Church on Sunday, but instead we found that he had passed away during the night. We found that, after making a couple of phone calls to a cousin in Louisiana and a friend here in Tulsa, he ate a banana and sat down in front of his fireplace and was called home to his reward. That morning we were going to have his favorite breakfast, grits, eggs, red eye gravy and toast. Everyone’s plans changed. This was God’s plan and not ours, so we are pleased that he went peacefully with his arms outstretched, ready to go home.
We’ve lost both Dad and Janet in the last 9 and a half weeks. Today is Janet’s Birthday. Tomorrow is Dad’s Celebration of Life at Bixby’s First Baptist Church.