Last week, my parents and my brother Jonathan drove across the country to spend a week in Nebraska with me and Nathan. Since moving to North Carolina in 2003, my parents have come back to visit every summer (2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, and for my wedding in 2008), but this was the first time they’ve visited me as an old married man. Of course, they also had to put up with our other “roommates,” but Dad seemed to take to Flappy and Babo without much trouble.
My mother-in-law is attending a high school reunion in California, so we kept my father-in-law company by taking him down to one of our favorite restaurants: El Chalateco. It’s a small Salvadorean restaurant in Bellevue, and they served us plantain, yucca, and other foods Jack enjoyed growing up in the Canal Zone of Panama.
Much of my parents’ activties while in Nebraska revolved around visiting old friends such as the Lefebers or colleagues from the National Association of Scholars (which inevitably meant eating out and packing on a few extra pounds).
I also took them by the Lauritzen Gardens to enjoy the unseasonably pleasant weather. I’d been there only once before and hadn’t had as much time to explore the grounds. I saw a variety of interesting plant life, from Fiber Optic Grass to some globe amaranth that looked like little fireworks.
Saturday was a big day for the family. Part of Jonathan’s trip to Omaha involved getting a new job interview in Wayne, so he and my mom drove up to look at some apartments. Dad, Vivian and I spent our afternoon in Wisner at the old firing range my dad had helped get started when he lived here several years ago. It was a gorgeous day with temperatures in the 70s most of the afternoon, and the once dirt-covered grounds were now lush and green with foliage (which included some interesting weeds that the Lauritzen Gardens didn’t seem to have on display.) We enjoyed some quality “dad time” trying out some pretty fancy firearms together (specifically an AR-15). It turns out Vivian’s a pretty good shot, so don’t mess with her.
That evening, the whole family had dinner with Nathan and his girlfriend Ranae, and then returned home to play a couple rounds of Apples to Apples and What’s Yours Like.
It was great to have the family back home again, and it’s going to be interesting having Jonathan back in the Cornhusker state once again. My dad had hinted pretty strongly that he and mom will be moving back here when the day finally comes for them to retire. Then maybe we won’t have to wait a whole year to have them back over again.