This Thanksgiving I drove up to Colorado Springs to spend the day with Tessa and family, with whom I have not given thanks on this day for over 16 years. What a gift and what a blessing to be able to do that.
Not that the day before, when i did the actual driving, was without challenge. The dogs (yes, all four) and I headed out around 11am....early enough to get there before dark but not early enough to miss the incoming dark clouds and snow that was once again approaching. Once again the wind had picked up and swirls of the white stuff were just hitting the ground when I headed for Cimmaron pass and Colorado. Tessa promised me that once we cleared the mountains, it would be clear sailing. Which it was....and she was not kidding about the sailing part. The wind was even stronger and there were warnings if you were driving a "high-profile vehicle". Huh? I did not know if I was or not but I have to think they meant the 18 wheelers, who swayed like drunks, from my side of the road (whoa, big fella!!) to their own.
I got lost once we got to the Springs...which is not like me. I am the navigator when John drives and know how to get to her house. Always. Except not this time. Took an exit a few too far and had to pull out the GPS to find my way. Finally did arrive safely and took a deep breath..then we started cooking. We got the cornbread made for dressing and Noni Hilda's "red stuff" and finished defrosting the turkeys. Then it was off to the hotel with the dogs for a well deserved rest.
May I just say now, for the record, that traveling with 4 dogs and only one human leaves the human vastly outnumbered. Even with split leads that hold 2 dogs, its still barely possible to manage dogs, purse, bag and an electronic key. I did get them, their beds, food, Tonka the baldy's clothes and my stuff into the room and discovered that with every sound in the hall the four part harmony began. The only way to keep them quiet was by keeping them on my bed. No problem.
Early Thanksgiving day we headed back to the Hebert house. It was truly a wonderful day....and such a blessing to have been able to be there. All the humans really enjoyed it...way too much food, starting with Cinnamon rolls in the morning, yummy snacks till the meal was done then Turkey and all the sides. We were all stuffed and happy, knowing that the following day the food would be even better since we didnt have to do any cooking.
The dogs were more ambivalent about the experience. Tess has a husky....looks like Demon in the movie Snow Dogs but not in the same intellect catagory. He is a sweet, sweet, gentle dog but he is not the sharpest crayon in the box. Eason just wants to play. He doesnt know he is at least 6 x bigger than my dogs. Bikki absolutely cant stand him, period. No playing about it. Loki tries to ignore him, since Loki thinks he is the alpha male. I didnt have the heart to tell him the truth. Lady flirts with him, stealing his toys and chewies and prancing away from him every chance she gets. Tonka tries to bite him, stands on his back feet and attacks for all he is worth. Poor Eason just looks confused when this happens. I think, given enough time, Tonka would be his best buddy ( or partner in crime, whichever ) but they are never together long enough for that to happen.
Tessa also has a cat. Said cat was also not amused. He was pissed. Bad example too....said cat feels free to sit on the dining room table and, wise dog that he is, Tonka followed suit. That is where Tess and I found him when we got back from the grocery store. Joe took pics and Tonka looks quite at home there. I am sure, since he saw the cat do it, he felt it was ok. Fortunately our table is higher here at home and he does not have that option.
I stayed an extra day as the thought of driving back this far, as tired as I was just seemed out of the question. The kids were gone so it was just adults and was very relaxing and peaceful. It is something new to have only adults and such a small group but it was wonderful to have time to talk to Tess and Joe and I really did love it.
The drive back was exciting too ( sensing a pattern here>) since I got lost in Trinidad. A blinking sign said "merge right" and since I write left handed, I am pretty sure which way that means....usually. We lefties do tend to get them confused from time to time but not THIS time. And I found myself on Main Street with no clue how to get back on I-25. Out comes the trusty GPS again and after a brief tour of downtown found the freeway again. By this time Tonka had gotten car sick and I was ready for the trip to be done.
We made it home safely but I can honestly say I HATE traveling without John. Every muscle and nerve in my body was as tense as a violin string and had anyone tapped me with a tuning fork every one of them would have shattered. My legs were shaking and I was dizzy with relief just to see the driveway. I can and will do this again to see her and the grandkidlets but I truly would not like to do it again solo.
I cannot speak about what it was like to be away from John for the first Thanksgiving since we married, except to say it hurt. The blessing was having family I could go to and for that I am truly grateful.