Wednesday, July 25, 2007

odyssey final word

I knew there was more to the Odyssey and I came across the notes today so here the rest of the story.


Shirley and I drop Bob and David off on an off-ramp near Rosenblatt stadium for one more baseball game. (D do not recommend this practice of stopping on off-ramps) We continue on with Skyler and Shae to the museum where we meet Debbie, Derek and Dillon. The first thing I notice about the museum is the noise, lots of noise and it is happy noise of chldren having fun.

We start with the Bob the Builder exhibit with lifesize Bob the Builder machines, tools buildings and a garden. The kids scatter and the three adults try to keep at least on in sight at all times. The kids try out as many of the activities as possible and then ask to go to the main floor. I have never seen anything like the main room. There are tubes and chutes and things I have no word to describe. Then there are the balls the hundreds of balls of various bright colors that are being moved around this construction. Well you have to see it to understand. Shirley said to me, "What sick mind dreamed this up?" I noticed, however she became as intrigued as Skyler playing with the levers and wheels.

After that Shae found the store and shopping basket and went shopping for the play groceries. She filled a basket and said we had to have all of this stuff for a party. While Shae shopped, Skyler tried his hand at engineering with tubes and connectors in a water table. Shae also tried milking the cow.

While we were in the gift shop looking for a suitable souvenir, Bob called and said the gme was over and we could pick them up. (not on the freeway). Back at the Nebel house we re-group, add Adam to the crowd and set out for Lyons. Cassie and Alex follow in their car.

We were on our way to Lyons to see Faith play and Scott coach a softball game. We set out believing we had time to get there and have dinner at the Highway Cafe. Enroute we are contacted by cell phone that the game is at six not 8:00 as we had planned. Since we are more than halfway there we continue on our way. Janell's pick-up is outside the cafe when we arrive. David goes in to alert them to the change in game time. We arrive at about the fourth inning and watch the rest of the game. There are now about fifteen hungry family members gathered at the Lyons park. It is about 8:15pm the cafe closes at 9:00pm. We knew they would serve us if we made it by 8:30pm. Into the vans, pick-ups and cars and five minutes later we have taken over the large dining room.

Side story: Only once in about the last fifteen years, have I entered the Highway Cafe without seeing Cheryl (Bacon) Hoffman and sure enough there she is with her husband. We talk for a few minutes.

All of the employees know us as the Gatewood kids or Rachel's kids, since Mother worked as cook for a number of years. Orders are taken, we eat and we are gone by 9:15 much to the relief of the cook, waitress and Marilyn, the owner. She has health problems and sits in a booth with her oxygen tank next to her. This place is part of our history, a big part.

On the drive back to Omaha through the rural landscape we are treated to a light show from the fireflies aka lightening bugs. The side of the road is filled with flashing lights, very small but very visible even at 60mph. Looking out across the fields it appears that blinking Christmas lights have been spread out on the plants.

Thursday morning we load the van, carjole two tired, homesick children into their carseats as the temperature climbs to 85 degrees. By nine we wave goodbye to Shirley, Bob, Adam and Milo the cat. Maybe Husker Hound is open. says David. We drive to the Husker Hound (where they sell everything red and Nebraska branded). It doesn't open until 10. We drive t Lincoln and find the university bookstore, which is open. We spend an hour and almost $100 and everyone seems happy. Finally we are on the road west. The day progresses through good times and tears, and lunch, and ice-cream. We stop in Cheyenne and there is swimming, dinner, reading and sleep. We are all ready to be home. Day two we roll along I 80, everyone ready to be home. We stop, I read to the kids they play their kazoos, and then I drivee f rom Rawlins, Wyoming to Elko, Nevada while David and the kids watch videos. In Elko we stop at the Shilo Inn and after swimming and dinner we sleep. Saturday morning, David is awake early anda so are the rest of us. After we eat breakfast, David takes the wheel and we arrive in Reno about noon. The odyssey is complete.

I drove home from Reno, alone for the first time in three weeks. It was strange. Would I do it again? YES!

Now I fell finished with the writing of the odyssey.