Mom & Dad’s Visit

It’s late July once again, which means hot, muggy weather and a visit from Mom and Dad. They flew in from North Carolina last Thursday and spent some time visiting our Uncle Ben and Aunt Carol up in Scottsbluff before staying with us for a fun, weeklong visit.

We started off our visit with dinner at Malara’s, an old-school Italian restaurant best known for its homemade pasta. On the way home, we dropped by the Eagle’s Lodge up the street to show mom and dad the spot where Vivian and I met for the first time (and where I proposed to her some time later). We also took a joyride around the Missouri River so we could get a good look at the major flooding that’s still wreaking havoc up and down the metro area.

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I took the day off on Thursday and got to have breakfast with both dad and Pastor Drew at Panera. We also had another luncheon with the National Association of Scholars at the Kiewit Lodge at Mahoney State Park.

That afternoon, Dad and I got to spend some nice father-and-son time later in the week by assembling a new gas grill I’d bought down at Aldi when the one we’d been generously lent by Onion Boy somehow stopped working so well. Between the two of us, we got the grill assembled in an hour and ready to grill some tasty steaks that evening.

Afterward, we took along walk by the riverfront to show mom and dad the pedestrian bridge. A film crew working for First National Bank of Omaha was there to shoot some TV spots, and they couldn’t have picked a more picturesque time — the sun was just beginning to set over the city providing some beautiful lighting for shutterbugs like dad and me to snap pictures.

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On Saturday morning, we took mom and dad down to the Old Market to browse some of the wares at the Farmer’s Market. We needed some more prime rib seasoning, and I got some basil for us to use to make bruschetta and alfredo sauce later on. There were plenty of “buskers” out and about playing music for us. The most impressive by far was the group of pre-teen kids dressed in early 1800s military gear playing music with drums and fifes. They must have been miserable underneath all that clothing, but they didn’t show it.

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That evening, Jonathan joined us for a trip down to Lincoln to visit with Nathan and Ranae. We watched Cowboys and Aliens together (which was horrible) and then had DaVinci’s pizza back at the house. Vivian and I got to spend a little quality time with Nathan’s new rambunctious golden retriever, Arthur, trying (unsuccessfully) to use up some of his energy before dinner time by playing fetch for an hour. Afterward, we wound things down in the traditional way by playing a couple rounds of Apples to Apples.

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On Sunday morning, mom and dad came to Twin Valley Church with us and got to hear Vivian play her guitar as part of the praise team. It was the first time Vivian has ever performed in public, and she did a great job. Pastor Drew was on vacation, so our guest speaker was Pastor Juan Andres Fernandez from Fe Eficaz. We grilled up some hamburgers for lunch back home and spent most of the afternoon making use of Jonathan’s large collection of MST3K shows and RiffTrax.

That evening, Mom, Dad, and Jonathan got to participate in another long-standing tradition — retrieving bread from Panera. We had to squeeze the five of us and the donation bread into Jonathan’s Chrysler, but we all just about fit. We shared another Omaha tradition with them afterward by dropping by Abelardo’s on 90th and Maple for some tacos.

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On Monday, I took a road trip with mom and dad through Plattsmouth and then Louisville, browsing around the two small towns where dad had been poking around for a place to settle down and retire one day. We headed back to Omaha, where I took them both by Trader Joe’s for the first time. We browsed through the aisles of store-brand organic goodies and got some milk for Vivian to make cheese among other things. Vivian made up a batch of pre-dinner cheese for us to snack on later the next day.

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On Tuesday night, we wrapped up our visit with a big steak dinner down at Piccolo’s, best known as one of Warren Buffets favorite restaurants (we actually stumbled upon it on the way to Malara’s). It fit the mold of an “Italian Steakhouse,” of which there are plenty in Omaha — Caniglia’s Venice Inn, Johnny’s Steakhouse, and Cascio’s. This one fared very much the same, and we were lucky enough to drop by when the special of the day was Ribeye.

Afterward, we headed back to the Old Market for a quick sugar rush at Hollywood Candy and then Ted & Wally’s, the ice cream parlor Vivian and I had visited countless times with our friends but not once with our family. I discovered that “phosphates” were actually on the menu, so both mom and dad had one.

It was a great week or two with the family, and all too short as usual, but it looks like the folks might be moving back to Nebraska once they it comes time to retire. In the meantime, we’ll be seeing them next time over Spring Break, just in time to say “hello” to a new grandbaby!

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