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talking to myself

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Trip to Texas

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markdohle

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Time with Fr. Robert Dohle, Georgia, Trisha and Vicki

Went to visit family late last month and got back yesterday on the 9th of Dec.  In the past, there were more of my brothers and sisters living in the Lake Jackson/Freeport area in Texas.  Now there is Robert and Georgia.  Robert, being the oldest boy (now that my brother Skip died about two years ago) and Georgia being the youngest girl.  Judy and Jane are at this time in Utah taking care of a medical issue.  They are usually in the area when I come for a visit and I missed not seeing them. 

I spent a week with my brother at Camp Allen(http://www.campallen.org/).  It is owned by the Episcopal Diocese of Texas. My brother, Fr. Robert, is an Episcopal priest and was ordained in 2008.  He is pastor of the Episcopal-Church in Freeport Texas.  It is a nice church, small, and I like the people who worship there. 

My brother goes to Camp Allen, I believe once a year, to be the chaplain on duty.  One of his duties is to do morning and evening prayer.  I joined him and enjoyed it very much.  He used a modern version of the ‘Book of Common Prayer’ and I loved the translation.  It is a little different from the Divine Office I am used to and that made it all the more interesting.  My brother takes his priestly duties seriously and from the way people related to him at Camp Allen, he is also respected and loved. 

They have a cabin there for the Chaplain and it has two bedrooms, a combined kitchen and living room and a bath.  So it was perfect for us.  November is my favorite month of the year and the weather while at the camp was beautiful.  There are hiking trails that I walked and spent some time by one of the lakes.  One night we went out to one of the lakes so Robert could take some photos of the full moon, he also took some of one of their large crosses that they have at different places on the grounds. 

At night we had a fire in the fireplace and I really loved it.  I guess I could look at a burning fire for hours.  Fire, so beautiful and restful, yet, dangerous as well.  A symbol of God’s love and purifying effect on the soul, as well as healing all that keeps us from union.  It is also a symbol of a God’s love, experienced as wrath, by a soul who freely turns his or her back on the love of the creator.  In California, this year, we see the horrendous fires that rampage out of the control.  It is no wonder why it is a force of nature that enthralls us, as well as fill us with fear. 

After a week we went to the Lake Jackson/Freeport area.  I had a good visit with Georgia, my youngest sister, and with Trisha, Robert’s wife of 46 years, I believe.  She is a very generous person and has always been a support to my brother.  There is always a number of pets that she has around the house.  She loves cats, I tolerate them, though in my weaker moments will pet one, and do believe that in spite of my not loving them; they are beautiful creatures. She also loves dogs, and probably everything else that crawls, leaps, flies, and swims.  She understands people and is open and honest with them……she is great.

I was also able to visit with her sister Vicki.  Probably the most time I spent with her in over 40 years.  I found her to be gentle and soft-spoken.  She has had her struggles like the rest of us, but she makes it one day at a time.

Georgia is the youngest of 11 and I guess no matter how old she is (I won’t tell) she will always be the littlest to me.   She laughs easily and cries as well when it is needed. When I was a teenager, I guess she was my favorite and we played a lot together.  People ask me who among my siblings is my favorite is now.  I can’t say.  Usually, the one I am with is my favorite.  Each is so different from each other.

Over the years, Judy and Jane (twins) were the ones I talked most with.  So I feel very close to them.  Craig the youngest boy, lives in Santé Fe, so I don’t have as much contact as I would like.  John, I have little contact with, but he talks a lot with Judy and Jane.  David, the brother just below me on the list, he is number 4, is visiting me at this time and I love having him here.  As time flies by, I don’t take, or try not to take, my loved ones for granted.  In the last three years, there have been two deaths in our family….a wakeup call for sure.  It is at times surreal to be ‘older’. 

Being older and what that means, can be ignored, until traveling, at least for me.  I have never really liked to travel, but now it is getting harder and harder.  It is more of an interior thing, with some simply aging body problems.  Yet the trip was worth it.  I thank God every day for my family, warts and all.

 

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