Allison and I parted ways after California and I went on to Colorado where not only my brother and his family had recently moved but my mother as well. Upon touching down in Denver I immediately wished that I had a cellphone as a last-minute change of plans to stay in town (which then changed back to sticking with the original plan) left me wondering if my brother would indeed be there to pick me up or not.
I was transported back in time to an era when one had to rely on pre-laid plans and one’s wit to make a connection. After wandering the airport I finally decided upon a level and a curbside to wait. As
luck wit would have it, a while later my brother, Marvin, rolled up in the familiar green Prius and he greeted me with his new handlebar mustache. My brother and I caught up a bit on the hour-long drive to his house where the rest of his family, my mom, and a delicious supper were waiting.
When I was a kid I remember with a fair bit of annoyance how coffee-breathed old codgers would coo, “Oh my, look how big Isaiah is getting.” Now as I sit here sipping my coffee and typing out my reflections from my visit, I can’t help but marvel at how much my nieces and nephew have changed over the past couple of years that we’ve been apart.
Morgan, the oldest, has gotten very much into dance and now can’t help herself but prance about the house and have her every movement be graceful poetry. I don’t think the rest of the family quite got it and didn’t always appreciate walking into a jutting leg so elegantly aloft in the middle of the kitchen or getting whapped in the face by long flowing blonde hair connected to an expressive head movement and spin. But I got it. Envious of such finesse my niece is coming to possess I would sometimes try to steal the spotlight with an impressive leg kick and spin, but to little avail. I’m coming to suspect my time as a ballet dancer shall never be.
The two younger kids, Toby and Henry, made good playmates for each other. That is, until they didn’t. But all in all they got along quite well and it was fun to watch them imagine different scenarios and play together.
Toby’s generosity is still evident as she used her own money to buy her big sister a bag of chips who was just returning from a dance conference several states away. She’s also still quite the little pack rat who must take at least 10 toys to her nest in the van no matter how long or short the trip.
I can now actually have little conversations with Henry, the youngest, as he can now be a talker when he’s inclined. He can momentarily become a broken record with him repeating the same phrase until he’s figured out where he was going with that train of thought, but it’s all very sweet. And, being the baby of the family, he’s still mama’s little boy.
During the weekdays my sister-in-law Eve typically took me, my mom, and the kids on field trips since Uncle Isaiah was there and they wanted to show me around their new diggs. We drove to and through several beautiful mountains, canyons, national parks, and mountain towns. I also got a chance to tour several factories while there: Celestial Seasonings tea factory, my brother Marvin’s Canyon Bakehouse gluten-free bread and such factory, and ODell Brewing Co. By the end of my time I had quite the collection of hair and beard nets going on!
On the weekends I took full advantage of being in one of the great ski areas of the world and we did some skiing/snowboarding. In fact, the last weekend I was there Marvin and I took a quick 10-hour round trip to go skiing with some of Marvin’s friends who had flown a client to Aspen for a long weekend. In the evenings we played games with the family, and when the kids went off to bed the adults took to the hot tub for talking, relaxing, and maybe a quick movie.
Of course, I also got to spend time with my dear ol’ ma as well. Knowing that her techie boy was coming home she saved some projects for me to do around the new house that she had recently moved into. I helped her set up her stereo system and her entertainment system as well. We continued with our tradition of feeding each other’s coffee addiction and sipped on lattes at her place or went out to coffee shops for a change of scenery. Zedo, her black and white cat, was also there and we spent some time chasing each other around the house like back in the good ol’ days. At one point Zedo leaped at me from the top of the loft about 20ft up in a sneak attack that, thankfully, failed and he zoomed past my head only to hit the floor with a heavy thud.
Towards the end of my time in Colorado I decided to make a quick run into Denver to see a few friends from college. My friend Doug, who I’d seen most recently outside of the US (in Paraguay and Ireland), picked me up from the bus station and we went out for some Mexican food…which brings me to a topic that I can’t believe I haven’t raved about yet. The food! Oh, it was so wonderful to have access to such a wide variety of food once again. But I digress… Doug was ever the gracious host and I was made to feel quite at home in his apartment.
The next day I met up with my friend Jesse who is a counselor/student advocate of sorts who works with around 50 youth in a Denver school district and seems to love his job that allows him flexibility and a chance to make a difference in the lives of youth. A while later friends Andrea and Kristen showed up who have been joined at the hip as long as I have known them though Kristen’s recent marriage probably means that they don’t have quite as many sleepovers anymore ;) Eventually Doug joined up with us and we finished the night with some delicious and spicy Thai food at Thai Monkey Club.
My last day in Colorado turned out to be my third-to-last day in Colorado as I found out that my flight had been cancelled and after an hour and a half the agent couldn’t find a way to get me to Asunción that didn’t use the infrequent Miami to Asunción flight. After my disappointment in not getting to see Allison as soon as I thought lessened, I appreciated this extra time with the family.
As it was for Allison, my time home was a wonderful and rejuvenating time. (Unfortunately I wasn’t able to see my oldest brother, Jeremiah, as he’s currently getting his PhD in math in Iowa and it didn’t work out for him to take a long weekend to visit the rest of us in Colorado.) I look forward to the day when they’ll be a little easier to visit (and when I can see Allison’s family as well!), but until then I’ve returned to Paraguay ready to take on these final five months of service. And, in only a month and a half, my mom will be braving the journey to South America to return the favor and visit us!