Things have slowed down some at the retreat this last week which enabled me to accompany a good friend on her trip to Illinois to do a walk down memory lane with family she hasn’t seen in quite some time. Sharing a road trip with a friend is a great way to bond closer and add to an already abundance of happy memories. The trip gave me an opportunity to see the family dynamics of someone else’s family instead of always being wrapped up in my own. Family dynamics are the patterns of relating, or interactions, between family members and are as unique and at times as complicated as the personalities of each person within the family. When families get together after many months or even years since they last saw each other there is so much to tell, so many stories to share and so much reminiscing to do that you often get very little sleep and possibly a side ache or two from laughing too much. Our trip consisted of great meals shared, long conversations, plenty of hearty laughs, and an abundance of warm hugs and even a few tears. I learned a lot about my friend and her family. I found out what Dad shoes are, tasted Santa kisses, discovered a place called Pepto bismol beach, was frightened by hairy toes, and truly enjoyed listening to the stories that old photographs and newly discovered records and journals brought about. On our road trip to and from Illinois we safely survived detours, heavy bird spit, visited many golden arches, saw beautiful old Victorian homes, lots of farmland with corn stalks that went on for miles and a very cool train station. “A picture is worth a thousand words, but the memories are priceless.” Unknown.

My friend Bob Fogle, shared a cute moment with me, “I just saw the funniest thing leaving Carti in Conway. Thirty five geese walking single-file across the road holding up traffic and in the middle of that pack of geese there was one lone mallard duck walking with them.” When he shared this I thought of two things: 1. What a brave duck, to walk among those that were different then him and be okay with that difference. It took bravery to quack, when everyone else is honking. And 2. How accepting the geese were of someone different from them and if these waterfowl can do it then why can’t we? Something worth thinking about isn’t it?

I witnessed more memorable moments when I attended the Clinton high school football game and one of our players was injured in the game and taken to the hospital. The overwhelming concern of our coaches, the other players, the family, friends and spectators at the game was heart warming. Many prayers were sent up that night and the last I heard, the young man at the hospital and another one of our players that was hurt are doing better. This homecoming game will be remembered not just for the victory we celebrated but for the moments of solidarity and love we all felt during a time of great concern.

If you have a heart warming story to share, would like to visit the retreat, need a hug, want to book a stay, volunteer to help, or make a donation to our mission of addressing Senior Hunger, call 501-253-4716, 501-757-2750, email, text or message me on Facebook through The Dirty Farmers Community Market page.