Until this trip, I had not been to Indiana for several years. I thought maybe two years had passed, but when I got to my bestie-from-forever, Chrissy’s house, it was evident that her son was actually 3 and a half… so after doing the math it was actually 2012 when I last visited. That was a bit of a shock.
Seeing Chrissy and her family made for a wonderful couple of days. When I first entered the house both of the kids hid from me. When I left, three days later, I couldn’t count how many hugs, questions or answers passed between the three of us. They are adorable and I wish I lived closer to them (and of course their parents).
I spent a couple of days with my Aunt Lela, who is technically my Dad’s father’s brother’s wife. She was a close friend to my grandmother and came to most of the Thanksgiving and other holiday meals my dad proudly cooked. My grandparents on both sides had passed away years ago, so Aunt Lela is really the person I would consider as the matriarch of the family. She is also a kick-ass woman with more independence and open-mindedness than I find in most people half her age. Like me, she is also making changes, moving from her home, the house she has lived in since before I was born, to a nice little apartment, and giving away the majority of her worldly possessions. The similarities between our lives are strong right now.
My time with Aunt Lela was filled with talking, cooking, some cleaning and reaching objects too high up for her to reach, and enjoying each other’s company. Unfortunately, I had a lot going on with logging into work and dealing with the car issues, that I fear a majority of my time was consumed by it, as were most of our conversations. Fortunately, she was there to listen and provide insight as to what I should do. We also talked a lot about the shy little girl I once was, hiding from everyone behind my mother for most of my adolescence and the stark contrast my adult decisions now suggest.
My last stop while I was in Indiana was to visit with my Aunt and Uncle (names?) who are not relatives by blood, but family friends I always considered my Aunt and Uncle. I see them more than other relatives because they live in Fort Myers, FL near my folks. But in the last couple of years, it has been harder to make time to see them with a busy work schedule and a need to crash in the comfort of my parents home when I actually get over the ‘glades to see my folks.
They were both busy with work during my recent visit, so we had our separate stations most of the day, but would meet in the afternoon for a swim in the pool and a dinner of fresh Indiana sweet corn – the best corn ever – fresh tomatoes and cottage cheese. I didn’t know this was a normal Indiana meal before, but it will forever be ingrained in my memory thanks to this summer trip. Why eat anything else when three ears of sweet corn are available? It makes perfect sense.
Indiana was full of family and friends who I consider family, so saying goodbye was hard to do but necessary to get on with my mission. Next stop: Nashville!