Today…Friday, July 10th, Mom and Dad climbed up into the Beast again and started rambling down the road, headed down the Coast towards Huntington Park. Yes, they went down  Highway 1…but this section of the “1” is far tamer than Northern California. Southern California shoreline is beautiful and the beach-goers tend to be more interesting. Dad better keep his eyes on the road…and not on those bikini’s. Today is sunny and warm, so I am sure that they will have plenty to see.

Mom and Dad have been staying with Randy and I here in Ventura. I will always cherish these past few weeks, spent with Mom and Dad. I sit here, tears rolling down my face, my heart feels swollen and it aches and I cannot focus on anything I am supposed to be accomplishing today. I have plans to see them again real soon, but watching them drive off today made a wreck out of me. Several hours later and I still have this gigantic lump in my throat…and am amazed at how my tears have not shorted out my laptop. Have I told you lately that I am so blessed to have that wonderful man and woman in my life? I really had trouble letting that last hug end. I have gotten really use to them again these past few weeks.

Coming home from work and finding my Dad puttering around my kitchen has been great. Randy has been eating some things out of our normal diet….but Dad cooked some great meals. I offered to hire him, but he declined. He did leave some Okra and Turnip Greens in my refrigerator.  He told me he wanted me to cook them up for Randy. I’m sure he cannot wait. I love eating with Mom and Dad…they cook things that I grew up on, but somehow have not remained recipes that I prepare for my family. Good Ole Southern Food.

Dad and Mom were welcomed warmly by our Congregation here in Ventura and Dad complimented our friendly spirit…but remarked that we are not very good singers.  That is true…we have to work on that; however, last night, the last song was sung withgreat spirit. Somehow, I think they were all following Dad’s example. He sure belts out those Kingdom songs with heartfelt joy. I have to report that holding my Dad’s hand during the prayer brought back a flood of memories of being a child and attending the meetings with him. I love the way my hand feels in his. (More tears). How do you thank your parents for providing a foundation of truth, for teaching you to love Jehovah, and building a life that includes the best friends possible?  What a gift they have given their children. I am so proud to know that my father and mother have dedicated their lives to doing Jehovah’s will. Their endurance is an example for all of us…what a legacy.

My boys have sure enjoyed their Poppy and Nana’s visit too. Chris was in the middle of moving his family to Camarillo, so he was really busy…but we were all able to get together a few times. Christopher and his wife, Liz brought Micheal and Christopher over and they really took to their new Nana and Poppy.  Dad thinks my boys know how to pick their women. He was quite taken by Kate and Liz. Of course…they are beautiful women and they sure make my boys happy…what’s not to love?

Dustin work schedule allowed him to spend a lot of time with Mom and Dad. He squired them around town and took Mom and Dad to breakfast and lunch a couple of times…and he took them to Sals in Oxnard!  Our family has gone to Sal’s for Mexican Food forever. Dad used to work across the street from the restaurant. He knew Sal and watched his family work along side of him for years. Sal has died now, but his family has expanded the restaurant and has maintained all the old recipes. It is one of the first places Dad and Mom head to for a good meal and good memories.

While I worked, Mom and Dad took my car and drove all over Oxnard, their old stomping grounds. They drove down the streets where they lived and where Dad worked and past their old houses, where they raised their babies…good times. I find it so ironic that I am right back where I started….the rest of the kids are defectors…spread out all over the map. I say it’s time they all head back to California…where the COOK family belong; although I am sure that all of you over in Georgia have different thoughts on that one.

Mom and Dad went over to Lancaster for a couple of days to visit Mom’s sister, Annette and her daughter, Bunny.  They really enjoyed their visit and came back with a cool picture of them when they were younger. They have maintained their good looks over the years. I always tease Dad that he never smiles in pictures, so he was quite happy to prove me wrong with this picture. I will be sure to scan it and post it here.

One night, we were looking on the web and started searching for old friends and family. Mom and Dad had great old time friends, H.P. and Ruby Faye Fitzgerald. Over the years, they lost track of each other. Thanks to the good old WEB…we found out that Ruby Faye lives right here in Southern California in Cathedral City. Sadly, Ruby reported that H.P. died five years ago. Mom and Dad took turns catching up on the phone and have plans to visit Ruby in a few days. How cool is that?

While I am sitting here having a little pity party that my parents have left Ventura…I am thrilled that they get to go and touch base again with the people that have been so important in our lives…YOU. Over the years, we have made friends that have remained life-long, true companions. Just bringing up your names causes us to smile and laugh with some of the memories of great times. So let’s make some more. 

 BE AWARE…there might be a knock on your door soon….Dad and Mom are on their way… and the Beast is on a roll.