I am writing from northwest Oklahoma where the wind is sweeping and the wheat is waving and vanilla Dr. Peppers are flowing with wild abandon. If you haven't tried a vanilla Dr. Pepper from a fountain, not a can, then you have not truly lived.
My mom and I hit the road at o'dark hundred yesterday morning and headed east until we couldn't handle I-70 a mile longer. Then, we turned south where we drove through exciting towns such as Wakeeney, Ness City and the infamous Dodge City.
SIDE NOTE: Dodge City is not all it's cracked up to be. They don't even have a Starbucks. Stinking Kansas. No literally, it stinks.
But then, oh then, we crossed that glorious boundary into God's Country and my mom and I let off a rendition of "Oklahoma" that would have knocked your socks right off. My mom hit harmonious notes that were nearly unidentifiable and when you combine that with my need for a bathroom and lack of sleep, it was a spectacular car wreck waiting to happen. Thankfully, there were no cars on the road (SHOCKING!) and since the shoulders consist of plowed prairie and an occasional tumbleweed, we moved along just fine.
And before we knew it, we rolled into Gage and breathed a sigh of relief.
There is something so safe when I come here. I can sleep in my familiar bedroom and listen to people downstairs talking about the plans of the day or when the guys are going golfing and the girls are going swimming. I have brought friends with me who know the secret closet in the north bedroom and have seen my childhood home just down the street. I even run into people who say "Are you still dating 'what's-his-name'? You two were so cute together." And I look at them and say "Thank you for asking but we broke up 10 YEARS AGO."
I love when that happens.
So for the next few days I will be here, in this familiar territory. I will spend time with cousins, aunts, uncles and friends. I will eat at Ed's and Pizza Hut and a few quick trips to the Quick Stop. And if I'm lucky, I'll sneak in a trip to Super Walmart. There is nothing better than an Oklahoma Super Walmart.
And at the same time, I will try to navigate the unfamiliar of what it looks like to come without him here. My Grandpa had a way of making a place magical.