It was fantastic to catch up with Mom and Dad, my sister Ann and her husband Dan, and my nieces Elizabeth and Kate. I ate extremely well – many unbeatable Mom-cooked meals (and travel-themed cookies), a burger at Winstead’s with my dad, a second trip to Winstead’s with my friend David, and a great lunch with Elizabeth.
I also had a chance to see Ed, my boss at the job I left to take this trip. The fact that I really enjoyed working with Ed was one of the things that made it difficult to choose nomadic wandering over gainful employment, and he and I have kept in touch. Ed let me know that over Labor Day weekend he and his family would be in Kansas City (where one of his sons had a baseball tournament), so we arranged to meet at Gates for some old-school BBQ. It was a lot of fun to reconnect with Ed and meet his wife Hope and their three sons.
At my parent’s house I spent hours watching the action outside the kitchen window. Over the years my mom’s careful management of a birdbath (heated in the winter, of course) and a dizzying array of feeders has turned their back yard into the premiere hotspot for suburban Prairie Village wildlife. At any given time the view at the window might include chipmunks with stuffed cheeks, dive-bombing hummingbirds, a family of squirrels, a male and female cardinal, finches, rabbits, and belligerent blue jays. Occasionally a hawk will pass overhead and cause the feeder crowd to scatter as quickly as teenagers who realize a cop has just shown up at their house party.
Lately Mom had been throwing peanuts out the back door so regularly that the squirrels and chipmunks have come to expect it. As I watched from the kitchen one morning a particularly demanding squirrel literally flung itself against the window in a brash attempt to trigger Peanut Time. “There’s never a dull moment around here,” my dad likes to joke.