We received the news last week that Mike's grandmother had passed away from a long battle with Alzheimer's Disease. She had gotten worse and worse in the past few years, both mentally and physically. Mike's family, while terribly sad at her passing, feels blessed that she is no longer in pain. I had the pleasure of meeting Mrs. Verena Brunner a couple of times before she got sick. She was a happy, fun-loving and funny lady with a heart big enough to love her huge family of kids, grandkids and great-grandkids.
We left on Friday afternoon, with plans to arrive in Great Falls, MT, late that night and then make the a.m. funeral on Saturday. Well, we did arrive as planned after 11 p.m., but our luggage did not. There we were with no clothes, no toiletries (not even a toothbrush to be had for any of us!) in the middle of the night. So we did what anyone in that situation would do and headed to the 24-hr Wal-Mart. Since the mall and all other stores usually don't open until 10 in the morning, we had to get everything from Wal-mart. I'm talking clothes, shoes, socks, underwear, make-up, toothbrush, deodorant, contact case/solution, shampoo, soap, etc. for all of us.
Mike was a pallbearer and had to piece together a suit (of sorts) and I had to find funeral-appropriate outfits for the girls and myself. I realized quickly that even though we were in the cold Northwest, they still put all their summer clothing out in March. So off I went to the clearance racks where I found a black and white, tartan skirt and sweater for AK, and I found my own ensemble in the midst of Miley Cyrus's clothing line. I know. The only shoes I could find were a size too small. I finished up the spree buying chalky make-up and cheap toiletries for us.
$300 later... we went to sleep cursing air travel and prepared to wake the next morning and get ready for the service. :) At least we can look back now and laugh!
If all that wasn't enough, two days before we left for MT, Avery and I got the stomach flu. It lasted a terrible day and 1/2 and I thought we were all better before we left. Turns out it came with us and not only made Mike sick on Sunday, but then made it's way through Mike's mom, dad, brothers and their families - and pretty much all his aunts, uncles and cousins! We are sooo, so sorry!
We did have a fun time visiting with everyone despite the very sad reason for the trip. We toured different places Mike spent as a child including his cousins' ranch, where AK got to pet a brand-new calf and take a ride on a four-wheeler.
Jan and TC - thank you so much for all your hospitality! TC, I really think you should open a restaurant. :) The food was delicious! We also appreciate you taking us fishing. It was a great time!
On Monday, we finally made it through FOUR long flights to get back home. And thankfully our luggage was there waiting for us in New Bern!
(More pics to come when Mike downloads them from his camera.)