Archive for August 2016

The Journey Home

It was your birthday week, and I can’t believe you were not here. I remembered your birthday week last year. After living your dream of moving to Ketchikan, Alaska, and living there almost three years, you felt you needed to move back to Kansas City. I helped you drive to your new home in 2012 (what a dream trip that was), and now it was time to help bring you home. I had two connecting flights and would travel all day, but it was a spectacular clear day in August; and I captured this shot of Mt. Rainier approaching Seattle.

Mt. Ranier

I thought back on our trip to Seattle the year after you moved to Ketchikan. We gathered together in Seattle in 2013. We had a wonderful extended weekend visit. The three of us had been friends for about thirty-five years.

Bathing Beauties 2

“Way Back When??”



You once told me it was after that trip that you felt a little homesick. And then your health declined, so you decided to move back to Kansas City to be closer to family and doctors. But your emotions were split. You loved Ketchikan too. You made sure that I saw the amazing beauty of Ketchikan when I arrived the second time.

11899911_792788300819569_351074358359201324_n 11220919_792788364152896_629846189762260585_n waterfall

In a couple of days, it was time to begin the long journey home – two days on the ferry and then a three-day road trip traveling in the same little red car we drove on our first adventure.

ferry as we leave

We had a pleasant and uneventful drive from Washington to Kansas City – unlike the deer-hitting adventure of three years earlier. We did have one hazard on our last day on the road, but you dodged it beautifully. I’m still trying to figure out how a pig was sitting smack-dab in the middle of the interstate in South Dakota. We laughed till we cried and couldn’t believe our eyes. Imagine that – a pack of deer in 2012 and a pig in 2015, both in South Dakota.

You settled into your condo in Kansas City on your birthday. It was good to have you home – spur-of-the-moment visits, Royals baseball games, shopping, and helping me prepare for the wedding the next summer.

Finally, it was wedding day. Then the following day, you were gone. We were called to the hospital, but you really weren’t there. A machine kept you breathing for another day, but you had already found peace.

Now, your birthday has passed again. As the weeks turn into months, I miss you more. I thought we would have more time for those Sunday afternoon visits. I went on one this past Sunday without you. I would like to hear your comments and review of “Helen’s Heritage,” but your voice is absent. I still look for you on the couch when I reach the bottom of the stairs, but you are never there.

I am beginning to understand that on this side of heaven, the chair will forever be empty. So I have this one request, please save one for me there.

wedding chair


Publications & Happenings

This has been an exciting month for me. Helen’s Heritage went live (you can purchase by clicking on the book on the sidebar of this website), and I have also enjoyed reading a published version of my blog A House, A Home in “Country” magazine on my iPad.

08.16 (2)

I am still waiting for my hard copy of “Country” to arrive. You can subscribe to the print edition by clicking here or calling the number at the bottom of the linked page to order a single copy of the August/September 2016 issue. You can also download a digital version of the issue by clicking here. The story is on page 54 in the “Family & Community” section. Their title is Heart of a Home. They also refer to “The Gathering Place” and say: “Aunt Lizzie and Uncle Hike put life and love into everything they did.” You’ll have to read the rest for yourself. 🙂

Our first bulk shipment of Helen’s Heritage will arrive next week, and we have a kickoff book signing scheduled at the Polk County Senior Center, 1850 W. Broadway, Bolivar MO, on August 14, 2016, from 1:00-4:00 p.m. Both Helen and I will be there. Stay tuned for another signing in Kansas City, and we would welcome the opportunity to present Helen’s Heritage to your specific group. Please leave a comment on this blog to inquire, and we will be in touch.

Thank you all – readers, subscribers, and followers on Facebook and Twitter (@debra_irene). I hope to meet you at an upcoming book signing!