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There and Back Again -- Part II

By Neal Stone -- 

The Journey Within -- A Visit with Unca

After a very teary goodbye to Aunt Kaye it was off to Alabama to visit Unca (uncle) Ron.
Storm on I-65Image by Dystopos via Flickr
It was about a three hour trip and went well, other than a major rain storm greeting us once we hit Alabama.

We finally arrived to Unca Ron's house and before we could hop out of the RV, Unca came out and greeted us. It was another awesome reunion with long lost family. After forty years I finally got to meet so many relatives -- some I didn't even know about.

I really got to enjoy some goof times with Unca Ron as well. After all these years and all this looking, things finally were coming together.

Read Part I of this story by clicking here.The first night there we sat and talked and got to know each other as family. My sister, Unca, and me finally together. Catching up, talking and sharing our lives that have been apart for so many years. It was awesome to connect.

On the first night we put the dog in his gazebo outside. It was still muggy, but the gazebo was in the shade and Chanel did OK with the heat so far. What she didn't do well with was being left alone. She threw a fit thinking she was being abandoned (given to us when she was five from owner who had from puppy). Throw in muggy weather and a pug nose and her getting upset and throwing a fit lead to her throat swelling and her having breathing problems. What we thought was a heat stroke was a major anxiety attack and it was scary. Her tongue turned blue and she was having problems breathing and it looked as if we were going to lose her.

Unca Ron wasted no time in locating an emergency vet and rushed us out there to get Chanel treated. It was so cool to see how he cared and went into action. I was impressed by this and felt that my unca was one awesome guy. He understood how Chanel was our family and wanted to see her get better.

We got to the vet and they took her back and she was better in no time, but we had to leave her overnight. She is all better now. Thanks Unca!

We stayed with Ron for a few days and got to drive around and see some cool houses. The houses in Washington are so boring compared to the south.

In the evenings we would talk and look at photos. Another one of those magical moments when you sit and look at photos till your eyes watered from being tired, and then looked some more. Found a photo of my dad in high school that looked so much like me in high school that it blew me away.

I have learned once again that my dad and I share so many traits. Even so far away and never seeing each other we turned out alike in so many ways.

We did a family picnic and I got to meet my cousin Rhonda as well as her daughter Stacy. I also got to meet her boyfriend who was also a fellow computer geek. He gave me a USB hub which was cool. Those are handy when you have a laptop.

We had a great time. A lot of eating, walking and talking. Best part was watching Ron trying to play baseball. Hopefully he keeps his day job because...sorry unc...he sucked at it. LOL. But it was much fun watching him just enjoy himself and being with family.

We went out for dinner a couple days before we left and I got to meet Mandy my second cousins and Rhonda's other daughter. I got to see a couple posters she created for my Unca Ron and realized that I have so much in common with all my family there. Mandy and I both are creative, artistic and avid bicyclists.

On the way home I got to ride with Unca Ron is his convertible. We had the top down and road around listening to Bruce Springsteen. It was an awesome moment to enjoy good tunes, family and just connect. Add this to one of those magical moments. I will never forget that ride and the peace and joy I felt in being with my unca.

Then the time finally came to leave. The RV needed some repairs so Unca had to take us to the dealership to pick it up and we left from there. It was hard to leave knowing in a few days we would be thousands a miles apart.

This journey has caused me to look inward and see how important family is. So many times we sacrifice our family for things that aren't really as important. Work, other families, church functions, i have seen people lose family over all of these. You can always find another job, church will always be there and other families need to learn to take care of each other. But your family you have once and only once. Then they're gone. Be careful because if you're not paying attention, the thing that matters most could get lost.

When I was a teen my parents pushed me aside to help some bus kid favorite. I was told I had to make the sacrifice to do “God's work”. What they didn't realize is I was the sacrifice.

Family is important above all else. Keep them or lose them and if you lose them find them before it's too late.

Next Part 3 – The Journey Home