"I’m not surprised,” she stated. “When you called and told me about the wonderful church you visited on vacation, I knew God was calling you there. I won't complain, but I’ll cry my heart out as soon as I get a minute to myself." Grandma sipped lukewarm coffee as her daughter, Cindy, told her about the planned moved. It wasn't across town. It was across the world.
Maybe that’s exaggerating a smidge, though a twenty-three hour drive might as well be across the world, since Grandma's back-road shortcuts added several hours to any trip.
"Mom, you and Dad can fly out to see us. That’s faster," Cindy suggested.
"None of them airplane rides fer this Grandma! These feet stay on the ground." She wasn't ancient but was absolutely set in her ways.
Grandma hurried to the kitchen to give Grandpa his usual passionate welcome-home kiss (okay, maybe it was a peck on the cheek), as he took off his work boots before entering the house, saying, "Pack your bags, Grandpa. We're goin’ west." He followed her into the dining room.
"You are my bag," Grandpa teased, sitting down at the table, "and we aren't going anywhere."
Ignoring him, she reached for the atlas. "I think this is the best way to go, don't you?" Her hand traveled the highlighted route across five states.
Grandpa leaned forward on his elbows, cupped her chin in his hand and said almost inaudibly, "Young lady, they aren't there yet. They left yesterday."
"I know. I’ve been so preoccupied planning our trip I forgot to cook. I'll just grab my bag and we’ll go out to eat." Grandma was full of solutions for any obstacle.
"Dear Lord," Grandma bowed her head, sobbing as tears dropped on her open Bible. "This isn't working for me. I miss the sweet smiles when the children walk in the door, their hugs and kisses, and all the noise and commotion. I miss fixin' lunch for them. I want to see them so badly," she lamented.
That evening her son brought his three daughters to visit. "Grandma," the girls chorused. “We have a surprise for you."
Grandma gave them all bear hugs and big smooches. (Really big smooches - ask them!)
"We know how lonely you are for our cousins, so Daddy figured out a way you can visit with them since they’re gone."
"How on earth will I do that?" Grandma asked John as he carried a huge box into the house, following Grandpa to the spare bedroom. "Who put that desk in here," Grandma asked.
"Woman, pipe down. You ask questions faster than a feller can come up with an answer." Grandpa wrapped an arm around her shoulders as John unloaded the computer and began setting it up.
“Girls, let’s curl up together on the loveseat while the men work. You can tell me all about your day.” Grandma’s hungry heart showered her granddaughters with love.
"Mom, come and try your computer,” John called.
"How is this going to help me visit with the kids out west? I don't know anything about a computer.”
"I wrote out step-by-step instructions for you. Try it." Following John’s directions, she viewed pictures of all of her grandchildren on her own Facebook page. She giggled right along with her granddaughters.
"Daddy, show her the camcorder, too."
Quickly she was connected to their other dear grandchildren. She saw the sparkles in their blue eyes, the smiles that lit up their faces and could hear them all talking at once. “It’s almost like being right there with you,” she told them.
"Thank you, Son, for such a wonderful surprise.”
A few days later, Grandpa walked into the kitchen, took off his boots and smelled his favorite dessert - apple pie. "What is she up to now?"
She rushed (as fast as her cane would let her) into the kitchen, giving him a passionate welcome-home kiss (a peck on the cheek), waving something in her hands. "I don't have our passports yet," she joked, "but here are two plane tickets for South Dakota this weekend."
"What about the computer and camcorder? I thought you enjoyed them."
"I am thrilled. I can see the kids, talk with them and spend time with them. I love it. However, cyberspace lacks one extremely important thing. It won't allow me to feel their hugs and kisses."
KJV Psalm 127:3 Lo, children are an heritage of the Lord: and the fruit of the womb is his reward.
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