As I was cleaning out The Mom’s apartment after she passed, I found lots of things that warmed my heart, made me laugh and made me cry. But one of the most special things I came across was her National Parks passport book. She loved the National Parks and visited as many as she could, usually with organized tours.
Flipping through the pages, seeing all the stamps that represented trips and locations that she got to see, it just made me so damn happy. I brought it back across country in my purse and now it lives in a box of precious items to be grabbed in case of evacuation (living in Cali, you need a designated box or two in case of earthquake, fire, flood).
Here are some of the more colorful pages with cool stamps:
When she turned 75 in May of 2009, The Husband and I offered to meet her anywhere in the country to see a National Park she hadn’t visited yet. After a little thought, she said one of the only ones she still wanted to see was Death Valley.
At that time, they closed the park from early May to sometime in the fall, so we had to push the visit up to April but she didn’t mind. She flew into Las Vegas and we drove from Southern CA, picking her up and driving out into the desert. We toured Scotty’s Castle, kind of a mini-Hearst Castle, and stayed at Stovepipe Wells, in the heart of the park. When we arrived at 7PM, it was still over 100 degrees! But seeing the cloudless blue sky turn gradually to an incredible field of sparkling stars was so worth the heat and drive.
We spent a few more days in Las Vegas, making a quick stop at Marta Beckett’s Amargosa Opera House on the way. The Mom had always been a Liberace fan, so we had to go through his museum (that’s sadly closed now).
My mother was not one for using the F word very often, but on our way out of The Beatles Love Cirque Du Soleil show, she whispered to me, “That was fuckin’ awesome!”
There were also visits to the National Atomic Testing Museum, casino’s, buffets and wandering around the spectacular hotels on The Strip.
I noticed during that trip that she didn’t have the energy she once had, at one point actually insisting that we go on while she went back to the hotel for a nap. I’m really glad we got to make that trip with her and that it was so “fuckin’ awesome!”
Current Reads and Watches
What I’m reading now (paper): The Matzah Ball by Jean Metzler
What I’m reading now (Kindle): Hollywood Homicide by Kellye Garrett
What I’m binge watching: Call My Agent on Netflix