Random Thoughts and Emails

After my Odyssesy blog last time, one of our classmates sent me this email which I enjoyed very much!

Suz, after reading about your odyssey in Grinnell, I just had to tell you that portion of road is “haunted”.
I was headed to Indiana, and ran into a snow storm, white-out, freezing ice in that same section about 9 o’clock at night.  Pitch dark.  Since no one could see, about 20-25 cars were all in single file going 10 mph.  Sometimes a car right in front of you would just spin off wildly into the ditch.  Then other cars that had already spun off, their drivers would come running up onto the interstate, some would slip and fall on the ice, others madly waving their arms, but you wouldn’t see them until they were beside you, and you couldn’t stop, and were afraid you would hit one of them. 
At Grinnell, the entire line pulled off.  In the safety of the motel, the line was long, and the clerk announces, with two men standing in front of me, I only have two rooms left.  I had been talking to the guy in front of me, saying I was traveling all alone, and scared to death, white knuckles included.  My guy says to the guy in front of him, Joe, can my wife and I share your room, so the last room can go to this lady?  They shared, and I got the last single bed.  I even offered to pay for their room I was so happy!  
Like you say, I got up the next morning, and the interstate was fine, lots and lots of cars in the ditch, but if you hadn’t been there, you would think you had been dreaming.  Trust me, I plan my trips for daylight hours, on that stretch! 
Glad you made it home, safe and sound!
We continue to have lot of snow in Omaha and every now and then, we get a couple more inches.  Not much is melting.  Yesterday, the weatherman said we had broken the record of 71 days of 3″+ inches of snow on the ground.  A lot of us are getting tired of it and would like to see a few sunny days and melting, even though our cars will be a mess.  Right now we can’t wash them anyway, so they are already a mess!
Another thing is potholes. They are sprouting everywhere and some are huge!  I start to feel like I may drop into an abyss at any moment!  I think Nebraska could claim a new Olympic event–the pothole slalom!
Another classmate commented that he thinks there has been snow in every state (I think he meant continental US.  I haven’t heard that Hawaii has had snow.)  He said Oklahoma has received more snow than Vancouver.  (Of course, we know how that is going for Vancouver and the Olympics!  They should have come to Omaha!)  Also, Texas has been hit.  Even Mike H in North Carolina has pictures on Facebook of a snowman he made with his grandson!  And it’s a good sized snowman!
Puxatawney Phil saw his shadow, so more winter to come.  My birthday is on Groundhog’s Day and, growing up, people always asked me if I saw my shadow.  That seemed pretty dumb to me because, first of all, I’m not a furry rodent with big teeth (not that I am aware of, anyway!) And, second of all, if you can see your shadow, it is likely that I can see mine, so why ask?  Anyway, being born on that day has had its trials but also its fun.  Plus, my kids and husband always remember it!  (My husband is an April Fool, so that’s even worse!)
Lots of ups and down lately with my sister-in-law and now my brother in the hospital.  Carole is better, but the day she was dismissed from the hospital, oldest brother, Jim, was admitted.  He is rehab now to try to build up his strength.  Jim has had many knee surgeries and has trouble walking now.  He was falling a lot, so they admitted him and now he’s receiving physical therapy.  Hopefully, it helps.  His diabetes may have contributed to his falls a few times as well, so they are watching that.
One of my former Religious Ed students was killed in a bad car accident on Valentine’s Day, the day before her 21st birthday.  A semi on the interstate lost control and hit her.  They closed the interstate because of the accident.  Morgan’s funeral is Friday.  She was one of my 7th graders a few years ago and I will always remember her and two of her friends who asked me very interesting, often challenging, questions.  May God rest her soul.   I can’t imagine what her parents are feeling.  I think losing a child would be worse than losing a spouse, parent, sibling or friend (and believe me, I know how it feels to lose a parent, siblings and a best friend.)  When my best friend of 20+ years died in the Mexico City earthquake, her father said that, “When a parent or sibling dies, part of your past dies.  When you lose a spouse, your present dies.  But when a parent loses a child, your future dies.” 
I heard from Mike G about his trip to Haiti.  Here is his email from February 2nd:
Just got back from Haiti yesterday.  The devastation was horrible, every bit as bad as on TV.  1.5 million people homeless, with 150,000+ dead, many of them still unburied.
We set up a clinic in a partially collapsed church, and started doing basic care for the population.  Open infected wounds over a week old, unset fractures that needed to be casted, malnutrition, dehydration, dysentery, etc.
Bless Mike and all the people who went down to help.  It must be a monumental task, so overwhelming! 
Deb Mc will soon be heading to Ghana to help with the cleft lip/palate mission.  She goes as a photojournalist to capture the story.  The doctors and nurses who go to third world countries and perform the simple facial surgeries make an amazing difference in the children’s lives.  The stigma of being different or “cursed” is removed and they can have happier childhoods because the medical professionals shared their expertise.   This will be Deb’s first trip to Africa.  She went to China for trips with the medical group in the past.  She tried to talk me into going sometime, but right now I have trouble getting across Iowa!  Perish the thought of crossing the ocean!
We were sorry to hear that Carol Klingbeil died.  Lynne and Linda with sister, Cheryl, kept vigil at the hospital, sleeping in abscounded recliners,so they could be by her side until the end.  Carol was quite the lady.  I remember how well she treated me in those turbulent teen years.  I spent many hours at Lynne and Linda’s house, singing as Lynne played the piano, or gathered in the kitchen concocting some new flavor of hamburger, or playing pinoccle with the family.  (That was the only place I ever played pinoccle!)  Even as an adult, Carol still snuck into my life now and then.  When we moved to Chicago, she started emailing me.  Quite a feat for a person in her generation!  She did things that kept her young…and she eased my homesickness with her emails.  Once, she and the girls and granddaughters came to Chicago and I met them downtown.  We had quite a day of shopping and sightseeing.  Carol didn’t miss a beat, either.  She was right in there with us.   When she and husband, Mike, were in the bad car accident that killed Mike, I visited her at St. Joseph.  Ever the person concerned about others, she wanted to know how I was instead of telling me how she was!    The last time I saw Carol was when she and Lynne met Linda here in Omaha.  I met the three of them at a Starbucks and we visited.  Afterwards, they went to the Old Market.  I joined them at the French Cafe’ and we had the best time!  Carol was a very classy lady and gifted artist.  I am blessed to have known her.  She will be missed.
I hope you are all doing well.  Please keep our struggling classmates in your thoughts and prayers. Continue to pray for Deb and Arlene who was newly diagnosed with cancer.  Please remember our classmates who are unemployed or struggling financially, that they may soon find work or help.  God bless you all, and KEEP WARM!  Spring will come someday!   


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