(Dec. 8) We are finished trippin'! It was fun while it lasted, but we're home and burrowed in while the snow piles up in the yard. It was so nice to get home in one hour instead of the usual three it takes to drive to Richfield. All the boxes were waiting for us, as promised, so we have tackled a few today. New furniture comes Thursday and Friday.
Our luggage got through seven trips to six airports in a month, but didn't get off the plane with us in Salt Lake. We reported it
missing and they tracked it down in Portland. I guess it just got used to going there. But Southwest rerouted it and delivered it
this afternoon. Oh, great. Now I've got something else to unpack. Actually, I might just toss it out. It's fairly traveled this year
and might like to be released with a vote of thanks.
It was a month full of activity. We saw hilly Morgantown, West Virginia (six miles from the Pennsylvania border - Roger's
brother lives there; there's one mile of road that's straight)... ate lunch at an Amish restaurant in Maryland near a stone bridge
built in the 1700's as part of the first national highway (discovered in the restaurant gift shop an Amish romance novel and
couldn't resist buying one)… flew out of Pittsburgh on a commuter plane, climbing up five steps from the tarmac to get in,
sitting on row seven of nine rows… interesting (bumpy) experience… waited in Cleveland longer than we were in the air both
legs of the trip, took another plane (a little larger) to Rochester, where Jen met us… went to the Sacred Grove, the Smith
family home, saw the Palmyra Temple, drove to the (almost) top of the Hill Cumorah, had lunch at a local restaurant next to
the Erie Canal, and then visited the EB Grandin building in Palmyra – completely fascinating…in Jen's ward, introduced
ourselves for the first time as being from Provo – it's beginning to sink in… went to the George Eastman house to see a display
of gingerbread creations… fabulous place… went to Wegman's, a huge grocery store where the deli has about 100 kinds of
cheeses… saw Lake Ontario, Seneca Lake, the Elizabeth Cady Stanton home in Seneca Falls where the women's movement
began (Bedford Falls, the town in "It's a Wonderful Life," is said to be patterned after Seneca Falls – totally charming)…went to the Whitmer farm in Fayette...shopped at an Amish store, ate dinner at an Amish restaurant… fed ducks on the Erie Canal and found a pizza joint loaded with local color and great food… drove to Buffalo in torrential rain… sat in the airport an extra 45 minutes due to the computer glitch in Salt Lake that messed up the whole flight schedule across the country… met Randy and Elin in the Chicago airport; they went to school board meetings while we drove their car back to Decatur, stopping along the way to meet Roger's brother Loren and his wife for lunch… did what I have not done since 1961 - got up for early morning Seminary; I drove Kayla there and waited for her, then took her to school while Roger got Courtney up and out the door for the school bus… I drove to Bloomington to pick up Randy and Elin at the train, which was an hour late because it hit some debris on the tracks and couldn't go fast… got a perm… helped Elin get ready for Thanksgiving… Jen and Kevin and kids arrived Wednesday… Jen and Elin went to O'Hare to pick up Jordan and Heather on Thursday while the rest of us (well, some) fixed dinner… had a fabulous meal… laughed ourselves silly… the kids all got along well… had "Christmas" on Saturday, which means listening to Christmas music while decorating the house, then eating Danish rice pudding and opening the resulting pudding prizes… Jen and Kevin left Sunday morning… wandered through furniture stores in a little Amish town about 40 miles from Decatur, marveling at the craftsmanship, bought some pumpkin bars and cheese at a local bakery and cheese shop, found the sequel to the Amish romance novel, went to the Amish bulk foods store where Elin gets so many of our unusual Christmas presents – ever had peach flavor Danish Dessert, or apricot or blackberry Jello?…got up early to go with Elin to take Jordan and Heather back to Chicago, dropping them off at the el station in the heart of the South Side, a pretty scary place, but they were together, and it was daylight, and it was quicker than fighting traffic to drive all the way to O'Hare on the north side… bought a new coat… attended the Millikin College Christmas Vespers on Sunday night… got out of Midway Airport ahead of the blizzard, but got into some serious weather at the Denver stopover… de-iced, got to Salt Lake an hour late, got the shuttle and were delivered on our doorstep (covered with 5 or 6 inches of snow) at 9 too keyed up to sleep.
We didn't get to do everything we wanted to do – Jen planned to take us to Niagara Falls but the kids were sick so we changed
the itinerary – but now we have an agenda for our next visit. I love upstate New York so I expect to be going back a lot. Jen is
in the Palmyra Stake and lives 40 minutes from the Cumorah Pageant locale. We want to go back in good weather, but we
would also like to do a fall color tour in West Virginia, Pennsylvania and New York. Falling Water, the famous home designed by
Frank Lloyd Wright, is in the Pennsylvania hills a couple of hours from Morgantown. It was Monday when we visited, and the
place is closed on Mondays. Next time for sure.