Gratitude, and another car story

So a car rolls into a bar.

That would have been a lot more interesting.

Sitting in the tow truck, I yawned, wondered why I felt so tired.

Was it the two-hour wait on the shoulder, the full sun hammering the car while I kept at least one eye locked on the rear-view mirror?

Or was it the night spent under the stars, son, sister, and cousins sacked out on the lawn around me? We laughed at the karaoke from a party down the hill and watched for meteors. I slept, woke, checked the sky again, and a few more streaks crossed the dark. Then the moon rose and just a crescent was enough to bleach out the stars.

A better reason. I yawned again.

Family reunion weekend. Some mishaps and much love.

It started when I forgot my sleeping bag (thanks, Daniel, for reminding me). On my way back to get it, my windshield wiper popped off. Okay, no rain in the forecast—we’re hitting the road anyway.

Almost to Ellensburg I realized I’d forgotten to bring the wine. How could I forget the wine? Far too late to turn back, so we stopped at a Safeway in Yakima to get salad supplies and some wine. It wasn’t Cloudlift Cellars, but it would have to do.

All good until just outside Cowiche when I hit the gravel where the road was torn up. But we made it through and reached the Tieton house.

Full of cousins. Lots of kids!

I’m thankful for that time together. I’m thankful for time spent with my sister and mom and cousins—one coming from D.C. We talked, played Boggle, talked, watched sports, talked over beers or coffee, depending on the time of day.

Talking in the afternoon
The kids peeled apples.
kids peeling apples
Kids peeling apples, shift 1
Kids peeling apples
Kids peeling apples, second shift

We ate. I’m thankful for that bounty of good food and all the work that went into planning, wrangling, and cleaning up.

For more wrangling, my cousin took us to ride the new horses, Moon and Echo.

Horseback riding
Rachel riding.
I rode Echo.
I'm riding the horse
I hope this is like riding a bicycle.
Horseback riding
Riding in the orchards.
We all rode.
Horseback riding
Daniel riding.
Horseback riding
Nanc riding.

Then my cousin took us to the vineyards so I could send one of my signature bad phone pictures to Tom.

These pictures are better.

Vineyard rows
Naches Heights vineyards.
Grapes in the vineyard
Some grapes in the Naches Heights.

I’m thankful for all that and mostly the time together—bittersweet because my aunt has pneumonia (sending her all my good thoughts) and Tom wasn’t able to be there (he was working at the winery).

Then we hit stop and go traffic east of Elk Heights, and west of Cle Elum, my car started to make strange sounds. Was it just the stretch of road? Or was my Subaru haunted (a wooooo and a clank, clank, clank). I pulled over and looked under the car. Nothing hanging down. I like to think bad things will go away—or they’re all in my over-worrying head. I got back on the highway. Wooooo, clank, clank, woooo. I stopped—as I’d find out later, right between two shady spots.

Called AAA. Waited.

It was a busy night. I’m thankful for the WDOT woman who stopped to see if we were okay, and the couple in the white car who asked to make sure and the State Patrol officer who stopped and even asked if I had a charged cell phone battery and said he’d check back in a while to make sure we were okay. I’m really thankful for the tow truck driver and for cell phones and AAA and my son who sat patiently in the car with me for two hours.

I thought about all that as we watched a glorious sunset from the tow truck cab and then Tom met us at the auto mechanic’s. Thank you, Tom!

After two days of writing and a night pouring wine at the zoo, it was a wonderful weekend. I’ve carried the good parts through this Monday. And the car’s getting fixed tomorrow!

I feel lucky—and thankful.

Open the door. Open my heart.