Thursday, December 19th at 9 pm a message comes across my iPad, “I’m petty sure we are going tonight!” The message was from my daughter Becca who was 9 months pregnant and was between the two due dates they were given by the doctors. The first date was December 23 and the second date was December 18. A little later in the evening Laurel and I went to bed with no currant updates, but Laurel kept the cell phone close to the bed for any news. In the morning I awoke and she said “Good morning Grandpa!” “You have another grandson.” She showed me the phone and there was a picture of Jeremy, the father, holding the new baby. They named him Anthony Jeremy and Anthony is our third grandson. Laurel asked if I thought I could leave work early so we could go and visit the newest member of the family. I thought it would be slow and figured it shouldn’t be a problem. She was going to do the same at her work but that was a long shot.
I left work at noon and went home to feed all the livestock so our neighbors only had to feed the outdoor cat and dog. As I was feeding the one group of sheep, Laurel came pulling up the driveway. Yes we could hit the road early. So with the packing of a small overnight bag we strapped our selves in the car for a four hour cruise to Waterloo, Iowa to meet our new grandson. I took the first leg of the drive. As we headed down the road Laurel mentioned we needed to stop at a friends place of Becca and Jeremy’s to pick some stuff up. Laurel said it was the next exit west of US 63 so it wasn’t to far out of the way. As I was driving down MN 42 I found the road dancing before my eyes. I couldn’t concentrate and focus, all I wanted to do was go to sleep. We pulled over in the little town of Elgin and switched off. I nodded off right away. I guess it was time to switch. Laurel drove as I slept and I came to as she exited the interstate. She had loaded the address of the friends so we could follow Garmin’s directions and it lead us to the front door. We gathered up the stuff and I did the driving.
Now I have an internal compass in me. I usually don’t get turned around, but that night I was lost and questioning my Garmin. The first turn I believed should have been a left and Garmin said take a right. What? That’s going west! Does it want me to go the Albert Lea and take US 218 from Mason City? All the sudden I came up on the small town of Grand Meadow and Garmin said take a left on MN 16. Now I am totally lost! Where is MN 16 and why does it want me to go south? Have faith! As I drove down the road rain started hitting the windshield and the temperature was 18. Yes the rain froze to the windshield but the road seemed fine. MNDot knows how to use salt! As I blindly followed Garmin I saw a big sign stating to take a left to Stewartville. And all the sudden I knew were I was and The Four Daughters Winery was just ahead. So I drove on in the rain and it didn’t stop until we got just outside of Waterloo. It was freezing so bad I had to have the defroster on high and leave a window open so I didn’t over heat. And kudos to IADot, they know how to us salt also.
We did a quick stop at the house and off to the hospital to see our daughter and new grandson. He was already 18 hours old and the newness was starting to wear off. We stayed for about 45 minutes and drove back to our daughters home for a good nights sleep.
The next morning we awoke to a crying child, Zach our second grandson. Dad was trying to quiet him but the magic trick was a sippy cup with milk and Thomas the Train. His life was perfect. The other grandparents were there also. They had arrived after we went to bed, but the morning found us talking about the newest family member. The other grandparents said they would go and visit in the morning and we said we would stay at the house and watch the other two boys. In the afternoon Laurel and I, along with our daughter Beth went and visited Becca an Anthony. We stayed for about two hours before we headed on our four hour journey back home. The drive home was much nicer and uneventful.
We hit the hay early because we were headed to Virginia MN in the morning for Christmas with Laurel’s uncle. But we were first headed to the Twin Cities to meet up with Laurel’s mom and brother Jay. We need to be there at Mom’s house at 7:30 so we got up a little after 5. Jay said he would drive, but when me, Laurel and Beth got in the back seat of Jay’s Saturn and our shoulder were over lapping. That was going to be a long 3 hour drive! We said “Lets take our car.” “Its an Impala and it would have more room in the back. So we switched cars and Laurel took control of the wheel and northward we headed. The weather reports were talking of a light snow, but the light snow added up to a couple of inches and some slick driving. Laurel said “I know my car and I an comfortable with it handling.” We arrived in Virginia and went over to Uncle Joe’s home for a brief stop then off to the assisted living home for Christmas with Uncle Joe.
We got there just before lunch and had made reservation for our meals so we could celebrate Christmas. We dined on fine meal, shared in conversation and had Uncle Joe open his Christmas presents. Uncle Joe is “four score and seven years” and has always come to the cities to celebrate Christmas, but now age and health are starting to slow him up. Spirit and wit are still healthy. After a couple of hours we made the long trip back to the cities with Laurel at the wheel. The roads had a dusting on them, but Laurel found her groove and speed and brought us all home safely. We dropped off Mom and Jay and made our way home. It was a lot of miles of celebrating the Christmas season.