Tag Archives: Kathy Anne

Rivers are, um … full!

EUGENE, Ore. — I am back in the state where I began my life on this good Earth and noticed something intriguing — but not at all surprising, given what we have heard and read — as I drove here.

The rivers are full, as in brimming full of water. They’re past their normal “full” settings.

The North and South Umpqua rivers? Full. The headwaters of the Willamette River? Full. Every creek was more than a creek as I drove past them.

That is what the “atmospheric river” has brought to the normally wet Pacific Northwest, or as one of my sisters calls it: the Great Northwet.

It’s good to be back, even though it is under circumstances I would trade for a moment, given the tragedy I have suffered in recent weeks. I said when Kathy Anne passed away that I wanted to get out of the North Texas home we shared. I have done so.

The trees are mighty tall. Many of the leafy varieties haven’t yet bloomed, but their day is coming soon.

The rivers look healthy, as do the playas that dot the landscape. The mountain sides have snow, and that, too, will help alleviate the drought conditions that have plagued this region in recent years.

Ah, yes. It’s good to be back, although I don’t call it “home” any longer. Home is where I live these days nine miles from my granddaughter.

Still, I intend to get caught up with family members and friends.

The journey has borne plenty of emotional fruit for me. I am glad and grateful to have taken this plunge.


Journaling? Hmm … gotta ponder it

One of the bits of advice I have received from friends who have endured the loss of a loved one involves something I have resisted doing for as long as I have been writing professionally and publicly.

It deals with writing a journal. I have tried my hand at “journaling” and determined that — to put it simply — it just ain’t my thing.

My bride passed away suddenly of cancer in early February. I have been writing about my feelings concerning that shattering loss regularly through this blog. I hope I am not boring you with this, but it is serving as a balm for the pain that continues to tear at me. Many of you have gone through this already, so you know to what I am referring.

I keep thinking that blogging about it is tantamount to writing a journal. Maybe it is … in my mind and heart.

A dear friend suggested I write a journal and submit the entries in my own handwriting. There’s a “visceral quality” to expressing oneself in that fashion, he said, and it serves as more of a cleansing agent than typing entries onto a Word document.

I am going to ponder that for a little while. I’m on the road at the moment and will be winding my way back to North Texas soon. I have declared my intention for this journey to be to clear my head and start mending my heart.

My noggin is clearing a little each day. My heart still needs plenty of work.

I hope to decide soon whether I want to commence “journaling” as a way to start to mending my shattered heart. I will wait until the end of this journey. If I proceed, I won’t say a word here. I just thought you ought to know about this latest minor emotional tussle I am seeking to overcome.


Therapy is taking hold

Every journey is an adventure of discovery, or at least one can hope the discovery occurs,

So it is with the trek I have taken with Toby the Puppy. We have ventured to California. We’re heading farther west to the Pacific Ocean in just a little while. I declared my intention for this trip to “clear my head and mend my heart.”

My noggin is clearing a little bit each day. The heart? It remains shattered by the loss of my bride, Kathy Anne. However, I am detecting a bit of mending is starting to close — just a tiny bit — some of the wounds that were inflicted on my ticker.

I spoke with one of my closest friends on Earth today; indeed, I intend to see him very soon. He lost his bride to cancer not many years ago, so he knows the nature of my suffering.

He said that “it’s good always to keep looking forward as you move on, but you’ll always glance at the rearview mirror as you keep moving.” Yes. I am doing a good bit of rearward glancing these days.

But I also am finding out that writing about this journey, as I am doing at this moment, does provide some relief from the pain — in the moment. Once I stop typing, well, then it comes back.

But it’s not hurting as much as it did in the immediate aftermath of the worst day of my life.

I only can conclude that the therapeutic nature of his trek is producing the desired effect. I will count that as a success.


How about this discovery?

WILLIAMS, Ariz. — One of the more remarkable discoveries I have made on this journey I decided to take out west has kinda caught me by surprise.

It is that I do not miss keeping up with those political matters that seem to drive many Americans damn near to the nut house.

Ohhh, no. Most of my conscious thoughts these days involve my bride, who I lost to cancer this past month. Indeed, I think of her practically every waking minute of every day. But … I also seek to fill my days on this westward trek with sights I am seeing, those I have seen and those I will see.

Those of you who read this blog know that I have not forsaken all political commentary of late. I like to weigh in when events merit commentary on this venue. So, I do.

However, I do not look for topics on which to bloviate. If they present themselves, fine. I’ll weigh in.

My time instead is spent looking for joyous sights to see and looking forward to seeing more family and friends along the way.

I’ve only logged about 1,500 or so miles on the truck on this trip. I figure this journey could exceed 6,000 miles by the time I roll into my driveway in Collin County. Almost all of those miles and all that time will be spent enjoying the here and now.

Yes, Kathy Anne never is far from my thoughts and my heart. I am beginning to appreciate better the notion that (a) she would want me to enjoy myself and (b) she’s with me every step of the way.

You know what? I am beginning to draw comfort from it.


Journey about to begin

Here we are, ladies and gentlemen. A strange, but I hope invigorating journey is about to commence for Toby the Puppy and me.

It’ll take about a month to complete. I want to get a couple of points out of the way.

First is the obvious aspect of the strangeness of this trek I am about to take. It will be the first such journey without my beloved bride, Kathy Anne. She’s been gone now for a little more than a month. I decided several weeks ago to take this trip just to get out of the house.

So, I will do so likely before the sun comes up in the morning. I will see plenty of friends and family along my journey westward. I am not looking forward to being greeted by those who will look at me, well … differently. Kathy Anne and I spent more than 51 years together and we did practically everything together. 

Virtually all of my friends have known me only as one half of a team. My much better half won’t be there when Toby and I show up. You get my drift, yes?

Now … that’s off my chest. I want to stipulate a more important point, which is the way I intend to chronicle this journey. I will not dwell on the intense sadness I continue to feel. Instead, I intend to convey the marvelous discoveries I will make along the way.

The Grand Canyon awaits; yes, I’ve been there already, but its splendor is beyond description. Same for the sequoia forests of California; I’ve never seen the monstrous trees, so I want to share my awe at nature’s towers. The Pacific Coast highway from San Francisco to the Oregon border (weather permitting) will get plenty of attention, too.

The return trip from the Northwest will include a brief leg along the Loneliest Highway in America and will take my puppy and me through Santa Fe and into West Texas.

This blog serves multiple purposes. It serves as a platform for me to vent on politics and policy It also gives me a voice to express personal feelings and the joy of living the dream. If a grand jury indicts a former POTUS, well, I’ll weigh in on that at the right time. Absent that and some other things I might notice on our trip, I am going to devote a lot of cyber space recording the joys of the sights I see, sounds I hear and the people I meet.

So, with that, let’s enjoy the ride together.


Open road awaits

As you know by now, my retirement journey has taken a dramatic — and so very tragic — turn in recent weeks.

My bride, Kathy Anne, passed away from cancer. I miss her every minute of every day.

But … the journey we took together is about to resume, but with one significant difference — which I do not need to explain.

Still, I am preparing to hit the road with Toby the Puppy, who’s all in on the travel plans. I’ve told him in vivid detail about our plans. He listened. Wagged his tail. Pawed my arm. He’s good to go!

I intend to make this a journey of adventure. I will travel along some fairly familiar rights-of-way, having made this trek before with my bride. But not all of it will be familiar. The return trip home to North Texas will include some remote stretches of highway through the Nevada mountains, into Utah and then north of Santa Fe, N.M.

Kathy Anne and I always loved to take new, unexplored routes on our travels. I will continue that tradition as best I can during the month Toby the Puppy and I are on the road. And … as some of my friends have requested, I intend fully to chronicle my journey on this blog.

As I have mentioned already, my mission is to clear my head and mend my heart. I won’t set my expectation for success too high; indeed, I won’t set any expectation. I will take this journey one day at a time … which will be the setup for how I intend to live the rest of my life.

So, the open road is clear.


Itinerary set … ready to ride!

All righty, gang, I am proud to announce that my trek out west has been cast in stone … more or less.

My bride, Kathy Anne, would be shaking her head at me as I planned every stop along the way to the Pacific Ocean and back home. I even went so far as to make reservations at campgrounds and motels along the way.

She wouldn’t have done it that way, but she would be cheering me along the way as I venture away from the house we shared for too-brief a period. I need to get away. And so … I will.

I plan to do some sightseeing on my journey. I am going to spend two nights near the south rim of the Grand Canyon. We went there a couple of times years ago, hiking along the Bright Angel Trail to a plateau overlooking the Colorado River. It was 3 1/2 miles down and, yes, the same distance back. The vertical drop from the rim is about 3,000 feet, which gives you an idea of the torturous hike we took to return to the top of the trail.

Toby the Puppy and I aren’t planning any such hike on this trip.

I am going to spend a night in Visalia, Calif., which is just west of Sequoia National Park. I am going to drive to the park and look at those extraordinarily tall trees.

I’ll be seeing family and friends along the way.

The weather in California has been, shall we say, a bit dicey. I’ll need to remain flexible. I have mentioned already that I am an adaptable fellow. I do not hope to demonstrate my adaptability chops on this trek.

The Pacific Northwest also beckons. It was where I came into this world, where my bride and I got acquainted and where I have many friends and family awaiting.

The trip home will be scenic, too. I’ll be traveling for a stretch along the “Loneliest Highway in the Nation,” U.S. 50 before turning south toward Santa Fe, N.M. and then into West Texas.

More friends and family await in Texas.

All in all, I’ll be on the road just a bit longer than a month. I look forward to this journey. My aim is to clear my head and mend my broken heart.

The head-clearing is easy. The heart-mending? I am not yet sure how that will work. I will hope at the very least that I will be able to return home to North Texas with a smile on my face and knowing that Kathy Anne enjoyed the ride with our puppy and me.


She would approve greatly

You know what just occurs to me? Of course you don’t, so I will tell you: It occurs to me that my bride would approve greatly of my desire to get out of the house and hit the road for an extended period of time.

Kathy Anne loved to travel. We embarked on many remarkable adventures pulling three recreational vehicles over the course of several years. We owned two fifth wheels and a smaller travel trailer before we decided this past fall we had enough fun with them.

She’s gone now, but I have decided to hit the road. I believe I will leave with her heartfelt blessing and perhaps a wish she were still here to enjoy the trip with me.

But … she is with me. She’ll always be with me.

I have known all along that whomever of us leaves this Earth first that the other one will carry memories of our life together wherever we go and whatever we do.

And we had a grand and joyous life that encompassed 51 wonderful years. We set foot in 48 of our 50 states. We traveled abroad to about a dozen countries. We walked among antiquities that pre-dated the birth of Jesus Christ; we toured part of the Holy Land; my bride, who couldn’t tolerate Asian food, came with me twice to Taiwan.

We saw about a dozen of our national parks, stood on mountain passes and peered far into the distance and drove many miles along three coasts: Pacific, Atlantic and Gulf.

We cruised on ships through the Caribbean, Alaska and Hawaii.

Yeah … she would approve of this journey I am about to take.

It gives me comfort knowing it.


Manic planning sets in

My bride most certainly would agree with this description of myself: I tend to make all-too-detailed travel plans, rather than just sorta going with the flow.

I am planning an extended road trip out west, needing to get away for a while to process the loss I have suffered with Kathy Anne’s passing a month ago from cancer.

I now have every stop on my way out set up. I know the dates I plan to be at each location. I have made lodging arrangements along the way; I will be staying at RV park cabins, cheap motels and, of course, with family members who have offered to give Toby the Puppy and me a place to sleep.

Furthermore, I even have mapped out tentative plans for my return to North Texas, which at this moment appears to be one month after my departure for the Pacific Ocean.

I have put some friends on alert that I’ll be visiting them in West Texas. I have a family member who will put us up for a couple of nights in the Hill Country.

Then I will drive my pickup to my driveway in Princeton. I will unpack it. Sit down on the couch, take a deep breath … and then think about where and when I want to go next.

I am thinking about the Atlantic Ocean.


A path to recovery?

Allow me this bit of unsolicited advice: If you have lost a cherished loved one, placing a picture of that person in a prominent place could be far less painful than you might believe.

The picture you see with this very brief post is of my dear bride, Kathy Anne. She collected angels for far longer than the 51 years of our marriage.

My sons and I decided to hang this portrait of her next to this partial collection of her angels.

We could not possibly have found a more appropriate place to put the picture — which my daughter-in-law snapped about a decade ago — than next to her cherished angels.

It gives me a tiny measure of comfort when I gaze at it. I didn’t believe it would … but it does.