Recently I flew to Wyoming with my husband and my son to visit my parents. It was an interesting trip, full of local color and events that only happen in the area. We saw bear cubs and mammoth bones and Mt. Rushmore. We drove through canyons and blasted out tunnels in mountainsides.

I love visiting Wyoming because of the local color.

One of the fun things about the trip home was getting to see my Aunt Theresa. She is a lovely person who started caring for the elderly in her 50’s and only recently retired. Now, at 70, she works one day a week at a hotel. One would think she’d retire completely but she is so strong and vital you’d quail at attempting to suggest anything to her. She is strong willed and goes where she pleases, and I admire that quality in her. She’s a lot healthier than many who live in the 70-year-old range. My mother is similar to her in nature and I hope I’m as strong willed and long lived as they are.

It was a tough trip in some ways. When we flew into Gillette, we flew into three storms that had converged into one. The turbulence we caught threw our tiny plane around like a toy, and I honestly fought to make peace with my maker. We flew off into Casper to refuel and let the storms pass. I’m haunted by the feel of the storm’s edge making us dance to its tune.

The trip was lovely. Even when we weren’t traipsing up and down mountains, Gillette has one of the nicest Rec Centers I have ever seen, with a gigantic pool constructed with a current. Dad told me it’s called a “lazy river,” but there’s nothing lazy about it. The current tugs at you constantly, so you either swim or get pulled around the track. There are water obstacles, some falling like rain and others pouring like a fountain. Toby loved the water cannons and played with other little kids, shooting at them with glee as they fired back. I enjoyed our trips there, they were fun and relaxing at the same time.

Of course, the vacation was over before we knew it. Dad loaded up a flash drive full of photos from the trip. Mom showed me the insidious world of Pinterest. Toby didn’t want to leave. He enjoyed chasing cottontails out at Mom and Dad’s property, and playing outside in the rocks Mom has collected in the last several years.

It was a lovely trip, but the end is always heartbreaking. Everyone knows it will be at least a year before we see each other again. The memories are what get us through.

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