A NEW JOURNEY
Friday, Late June, 2008
A New Journey
cannot begin until the previous journey ends. My journey ended on
January 3rd, 2008. My Love and companion of more than fifty-years left us
for a better place.
For months my life seemed to be lived in a fog. I handled the immediate
day-to-day things and no more. I did what was necessary. My close-knit family,
the Arizona Redman Clan, helped me throughout this period. That and the
many emails, cards and calls from our friends were a comfort.
Sherry especially was there for me, just as she had always been for
Aldean. Last October she leased her horse property in Flagstaff and moved
in with Steve in Peoria. She made the drive to spend hours daily with Aldean
in the various facilities. In doing so, I think her life has taken on new
meaning and a new direction. She and I did a lot of research regarding facilities,
treatments, doctors and medicines. Our eyes really opened. I believe Aldean
received much better care with each of us spending hours with her on a daily
My turning point seemed to come in late April after Sherry accompanied
me to an Arizona Chapter, FMCA 40th Anniversary Party in Tucson. As an officer
and Webmaster we arrived
on Tuesday to prepare for the start of the rally on Thursday. We all worked
our tails off getting everything ready for the 150 coaches that would begin
showing up. Sherry was really a hit with everyone as she worked here, there,
everywhere pitching in, really helping set things up. She worked with the
registrations as the people came in, then at the games, dog show, ice cream
social and everything else throughout the week.
Three hundred plus people from a half-dozen states had a grand time.
Rebekah hosted a swim party, both for Father's Day and Rachel's Birthday.
There is Bev, Rory, Reb and Sherry in the front row. Then Michael, Rachel
and Grampa Gene.
Now, in June everything is still not caught up, but, I am in a much
more comfortable position then earlier this year. Counseling and some grief
management meetings helped me, but most of all my family has made the difference.
I attribute this closeness to Aldean as she raised these three youngsters
into adulthood, always spending as much time with each as was needed. She
was the guiding light for all four of us.
On the Road Again: This
morning I stand on the Mogollon Rim under the tall pine trees, cup of coffee
in hand, gazing out over the wide valley below. A couple of thousand feet
below and nearly twenty-miles away is a small white spot in the forest,
this is the town of Pine, Arizona. The buildings are like large dots among
the trees. Sort of like standing 30 feet away from an HOgauge railway toy
the valley are tall ridges and peaks marching away to the horizon, probably
fifty-miles away. The air is clear and crisp and temperature in the low
sixties, a lot different then the one-hundred-fifteen degrees I left in
On Wednesday, I pulled into this spot on the Mogollon Rim. Without
precise directions I would never have found it. It is off of Arizona Route
87, about 25 or so miles North of Payson and a dozen or so miles south of
Happy Jack. Then over five miles in "slow" gear over forest roads
that no longer even have a number or show on the map.
clearing gives us a great view from the edge of the Rim. Flat ground is
at a premium. When I arrived on Wednesday there were three other motor homes
and one travel trailer. My jacks lifted the front wheels off the ground
to level the coach. Only one or two more units showed up on Thursday.
More rigs began to arrive today, Friday, for the weekend. Motor homes,
travel trailers, tent trailers and tents. All bringing some of the friendliest
people to be found anywhere. Many applauded when the j-john was delivered.
I am looking forward to the weekend.
By Saturday we have nearly 30 people at this campout. The youngest
is a 3-year-old boy. The oldest, I won't guess... Mostly couples, some singles
who mostly camp in tents or in the back of their SUVs or pickups.
The weather has cooperated with no rain. We have had a good time with
a potluck on Saturday evening. The stars are so bright!
Sunday at mid-morning I am talking to four or six people, standing
near the middle of our camp on the Mogollon Rim. A number of people have
already pulled out, heading home. Barbara came through, making the rounds
saying goodbye to everyone. She motioned me to accompany her to her camp.
Her car was parked at the very edge of the clearing, a few feet into
the trees. I noticed her tent was already down and packed away. On the other
side of the car was her little reading place where she could take the sun
and nap. She picked up the pillow and tossed it into the car. I helped her
fold the blanket. We shook out the ground tarp, folded it and she put it
How to describe her? Barbara is about 5'6" and around 135 lbs.,
brown hair, and a pleasant face with wide set intelligent eyes. She is lightly
tanned with no strap marks. Her age? Late-forties? Perhaps older, maybe
younger? What man has the audacity to determine a woman's age? Not I. She
told me she has worked at a university for some years as a career counselor.
She said she should have been on the road an hour ago heading back
to the Valley. We talked for a few minutes more... She said she has a lot
on her plate just now and is glad of our conversations. She feels much better
about herself then she has in a long time. She was impressed with my "New
Journey" and has again started her journal. I told her I too have gained
from our time together.
Another hug from her, then she slid into her driver's seat. I walked
to the rear of the car and guided her past some obstacles as she backed
to the forest road. Once on the road, she stopped. As the car started moving
forward she waved to me.
She drove slowly down the track on her five-mile trip to the highway
Will we ever meet again? Maybe, perhaps at another campsite some time
in the future?
Last Thursday I drove the Durango to Payson. Kathleen and I spent two hours at brunch in the Airport
Restaurant, watching the planes while we visited. Then to Kathleen's house
for several more hours with the pleasure of Caroline's company. It was really enjoyable to be there.
This is what life is about. Here is a link to the Payson Website.
The next day I had a nice conversation with Michelle in England. Juliana
chimbed in at the end with a, "I love you Grampa."
They invited me again to come this summer.
But, I don't think so. Besides the hassle of present day flying is the long
9 1/2 hour flight each way. Besides I understand Steve is going over for
a two-week visit at the end of July. With Juliana staying with them I don't
want them to be overwhelmed. I will look forward to seeing them when they
return in October. Perhaps I will visit them in Colorado in the summer of
2009 when they are settled in Colorado Springs. By then there will be three
in the family.
Driving up I-17 last Wednesday the coach seems strange with no one
in the navigator's seat. It has been three years since embarking on a long
trip like this one. In previous summers Aldean and I would leave in early
May and return at the end of September. Our travels often included California,
Utah, Nevada, Oregon, Washington, B.C., Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, New Mexico
and back to the Valley of the Sun
It is late in the summer for me to be leaving the Valley. The last
doctor appointment is behind me until near the end of July. When I leave
here I will head for Lake Mary RV Park near Flagstaff at least until the
end of July, Then... I don't know. I am considering Colorado perhaps somewhere
on the Deloris River or the large and beautiful lake above and behind the
town of Delores. Then move on to the area around Jackson Hole, Wyoming which
Aldean and I both love. With the lateness of the season, I may not get that
Aldean and I always made summer plans and contacts in the previous
fall, to get the summer volunteer jobs that sounded interesting. It being
so late in the summer with nothing set up to occupy my time, I just might
remain at Lake Mary.
I have a campsite reserved next to a good
friend, Al Coir. The coach will be out of the heat and I can commute to
Phoenix as needed and get some more of my paperwork cleaned up and out of
the way. But, that is for the Future!
The weekend is over. An easy drive through Happy Jack, through the
forest and past Mormon Lake which has more water than I have seen in a long
time. Saw a fox cross the road about thirty-yards in front of my coach.
Now in Flagstaff the coach is in a nice space here at the Lake Mary
Country Store and RV Park. My new address for the next
month or so is Gene Redman, 480 Lake Mary Road, #25, Flagstaff,
AZ 86001. (Mail sent to my home is being forwarded, for the time I am here.)
and Dorothy Coir are in the next space. They have had their Holiday
Rambler 5th Wheel here off and on for a number of years.
Al is Webmaster for the Arizona Region of Lions International
and the Holiday Rambler Owners RV Club, Arizona Chapter. I am Webmaster
for the Family Motor Coach Ass'n., Arizona Chapter. Just a couple of conversation
starters. We both are long time members of AMUG, Arizona Macintosh Users
They and I have Happy Hour almost every afternoon. We watch the various
birds at the feeders in their "yard" and throw them peanuts. Watching
the birds interact at the feeders is a beautiful and relaxing sight.
I found a coffee shop in Flagstaff with WiFi. I had 2400 emails waiting.
My first time on the Internet since last Wednesday. It was nice to hear
from some of my friends. Of course 99% of the incoming emails are junk and
went straight to my Junk mailbox. Thanks be, for filters.
Limbo: It is nice to be
in a sort of limbo right now. I am waiting for my mail to catch up. I am
expecting only a few bills to come in.
The only thing on my social calendar is a pot luck Al and Dorothy
are throwing this Friday, July 4th. Brats and potluck. Sounds like just
what the doctor ordered. They estimate 15-20 neighbors will be present.
This is a nice quiet RV park. Al seems to know most of the people
here. If you don't know someone, just wave and he or she will wave back.
I am learning fast.
It was so nice to hear today from Sherry and Steve. I hope the others
call or email me. I feel a little out of touch up here in Flagstaff...
Chapter II, The Past and the Future...