Coach was finished with her repairs and maintenance the day before Dad passed and rather than taking her to clog up Dad’s driveway, we decided to just stay put at the parking lot at Camping World. Free electricity (unless you consider what our debt to them was!!!) The dogs were accustomed to the noises and neighbors there. We’d just continue the short commute while we waited to help Dad move into Sand Plum. Of course, then after our first night ‘back home’, Dad passed, we were glad not to have his parking area clogged up by our monstrosity!
John and Bill returned with a rental car, Kristin and Steve came with a rental car, the Gaddis family was around, there was a lot of activity while we planned a Celebration of Life in Bixby and planned for another Celebration of Life a few days later in Loranger, Louisiana.
The service on Thursday, February 13, 2020 at Bixby’s First Baptist Church was beautiful, well attended and Dad would have been pleased about everything! Pastors Monte Moran (First Baptist of Bixby), David Dillon (Bixby Assembly of God) and James Bell (Sapulpa Road Church of God) and Dad’s Grandson Jason all did beautiful job sending Dad off to Heaven! Dad got to listen to stories instead of telling them this time!
Friday morning found Keith and Joanette, Goober and Kona and Uncle Jason heading to Louisiana in Coach. Not far behind John and Bill in their rental car. Kristin would follow us on Saturday in Toad, after making sure Steve got back to the airport for his return trip to Montana. We spent one night in Shreveport in the Southern Living RV Park. If it’s any indication of Southern Living RV Park, on the way back Keith and I opted for a free night boondocking in the parking lot the Horseshoe Casino in Shreveport!
While in Loranger, Louisiana we were able to stay at the church with full hookups, just across the parking lot from the Oak Grove Church of God Cemetery. The service there was also very beautiful, Keith and John both spoke as well as Nelson Doolittle, a son of a very close friend of Dad’s back in the day when Dad lost his Father, and then Nelson’s Dad lost his.
We lost Jason while we were in Loranger. An emergency at home, we took him to the airport before dawn on Sunday so he could be with his wife and sons. A lot of prayers have gone up for their family in their time of need. They are doing well now, the loss of their unborn daughter weighs heavy on us all, but we cannot imagine how it is for Jason and Tina.
We had plenty of time to show Bill and Kristin around the Loranger and Hammond, Louisiana. Retelling stories that Dad would share with us each time we were there with him. We all got to eat red beans and rice with andouille sausage. We scouted all over for a restaurant that was serving the traditional Monday meal of Red Beans with Rice, but Monday was President’s Day and apparently they observe their holidays down there! We found a restaurant in Hammond, Tope La, and what a find it was. It was a beautiful old building, great ambience and wonderful food. Joanette’s red beans with rice was with grilled shrimp, Keith’s was with chicken strips and John’s with fried catfish. I believe Keith and I are over the need for more cajun food, fried food, and fish! We also traveled to NOLA (New Orleans, LA for our northern friends) the day John, Bill and Kristin all flew home. We left plenty early to to to Cafe DuMonde and have coffee and Beignets (never over those beignets!) a square fried doughnut loaded with powdered sugar! We took a stroll around the French Quarter and looked at the fogged in Mighty Mississippi River….
Keith and I and the ‘kids’ spent a couple of extra days in Loranger, visiting a few friends then headed back to Bixby to begin going through Dad’s things and getting ready to wrap things up here. We decided to make the big move and move on out of the metro area and out to Keystone Dam, about half an hour from the City of Tulsa, and about the same from Bixby. It’s beautiful out here, no interstates, semi trucks, just pelicans and water flowing out of the dam. Here’s a picture of our view:
Friday, February 28, 2020. We are finished up at Dad’s. All loose ends tied up we believe. We had a wonderful lunch with Danny and Erica Gaddis today. Talked about the parents, told a few stories, sighed a few sighs…. Another chapter in the books.
Joiner’s Journey resumes tomorrow morning. Onward West to Edmond Oklahoma for a few days after breakfast with Pastor James Bell and his wife Trisha.