Monday, December 29, 2008

Dennis K. Miller

December 25 was not Christmas for us. It was the day after we buried Terry's brother. We got the phone call on Sunday morning, December 21, that Terry's brother Dennis was taken by ambulance to a hospital in Aurora, IL with a heart attack. Since he wasn't expected to live, we tried to find the best way to get to IL. The planes were grounded at O Hara airport so we put the RV in storage and drove the four- wheel- drive car.

Dennis K. Miller died on Sunday evening, December 21, 2008. He was born October 23, 1946 to William Charles and Flossie R. Miller and lived near Sugar Grove, IL with his parents and brothers, Terry and Bill until he joined the Navy. Darla Jo Miller and Dennis Keith Miller, Jr. were born while their father was in Vietnam.

Dennis worked as a deputy sheriff in Fallon, NV before returning to IL. His daughter, Stacy Miller was born in IL.

Twenty-two years ago, Dennis met Dorothy Benson and became a part of her family, which included her grown children, Greg (Tammy) Benson, Larry (Cathy) Benson and Tanda (Eric) Gevleve. Survivors also include his daughter, Stacy (Benjamin) Maffit and grandchildren, Dezirae and Reese Mafitt.

In October of 1996, Dennis had a cerebral hemorrhage, which resulted in paralysis to his right side. In spite of his handicaps, Dennis loved to travel in his scooter as he went out to dinner or shopping. He went to the County Fair, “walks” around the park, and several lakes, the zoo, and to the Covered Bridge festival with us. He delighted in moving faster in his scooter than his brothers Bill and Terry could while walking. Bill, (William Charles), who lives in the Dominican Republic, joined us for two summers and for several holiday celebrations when we visited Dennis and Dorothy. Dennis loved to hear his granddaughter, Dezirae, age 15, sing and watch her play volleyball. When we visited Dennis, Reese, age 6, came to show grandpa his Halloween costume.

Dennis held the Vietnam Service Medal (with three bronze stars) and the Vietnam Campaign medal. He was buried on December 24, 2008 in the Abraham Lincoln National cemetery with military honors.

Pictured are my husband, Terry, myself, Dennis and Dorothy. I will miss Dennis. He had a special name for me. He called me “sis”.

We arrived safely home to our RV on December 28th safely in spite of ice, snow, fog, hail, sleet, wind, and a tornado.

We plan to stay in this campground for two weeks and then go to Quartzsite, AZ.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Visit with Jerry and Suzy

Jerry and Suzy write a blog that I always read. One blog intrigued me so much that I asked for permission to include it in my 2008 book called More RV Chuckles and Chuckholes – More Confessions of Happy Campers. They graciously gave their permission. We met again at the Gypsy Journal Rally last February.

Since we were in Benson, AZ last week, we notified Jerry and Suzy that we were coming to the area and were invited to visit them. They have made a charming “casita” or family room out of their storage area at the Escapees Campground. It has space that we envy for their two tower computers, desk, three file cabinets, a new TV and four comfortable chairs. The casita is decorated with a four-foot Christmas tree and banner of the Three Wiseman. I asked Jerry and Suzy for a picture of them but they sent a picture of us.

Later we went out to dinner with them at the Apple Farm. RV friends have so much in common that four hours passed before we knew it. Hope to see Jerry and Suzy as our paths cross again on the road and at Escapee functions. Meantime, we will read each other’s blogs. Thanks for a great visit!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Western Christmas

On our way to Arizona and the border of California, we traveled 230 to 519 miles a day, camped before dark, disconnected our towed car and drove into towns to see the lights. These pictures of lights are from Fredericksburg and Fort Stockton in Texas.

In Arizona, we drove our car into Tombstone for a Cowboy Christmas. Stagecoaches offered rides through town past the O.K. Corral, the Birdcage Theatre and the 1882 Courthouse. Terry and I ate onion rings in Big nose Kate’s Saloon while listening to live cowboy music. The Boot Hill graves, covered with stones, are behind a fence made of cacti.

Christmas in Houston

Our children, Robert and Raymond, flew with their families to Houston to meet with us for an early Christmas celebration. Shirlee, Christine and Sharon graciously allowed us to spend two nights at their home so we could avoid the three hours of travel time per day to and from our campground.

Seven-month-old Sara has changed since we saw her at one month of age. Laura, who turned four this week, became reacquainted with all of us. When she forgot our names she described us. She called Teresita “the aunt with the black hair.”

We also visited with Jamie and Juan and their baby Jay Jay. He had his first birthday last week and is doing especially well since he was only three pounds and eleven ounces at birth.

In Houston, we enjoyed the decorations, food, and gifts, but most of all spending time with family.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Our Christmas Tree

Although we will be saying hello to our parents in Mesa, AZ and our friends in Emerald Cove Campground on the CA side of the Colorado River, and will stay with our Boomer friends in Quartzsite, AZ.; it is hard to say good-bye to friends we have known for nine years here in Texas. My plans include singing in the choir at the Emerald Cove Campground at Christmas and selling my book at the Readers Oasis Book Store in Quartzsite during the last two weeks of January.

We found our little two-foot Christmas tree in the basement storage of our RV but couldn’t find the little ornaments. I got these pewter Longaberger baskets this summer from my friend, Michele who lives near Eagle River, Alaska and felt that the little Longaberger basket that holds my books on my bed-stand, belonged under the tree. My granddaughter, Amanda, gave the Precious Moments snowman and girl to me after our trip to their headquarters in Carthage, Missouri. I bought a string of lights, a package of teardrop ornaments, and a star. The star reminds us of the star of Bethlehem and the reason for the Christmas season-the birth of the Christ child. May you have a blessed holiday season with friends and family.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Crescent Moon, Jupiter and Venus

I saw an amazing sight when I walked to the clubhouse on Monday evening, December 1. Just below the crescent moon were two bright stars. I later learned that they were the planets Jupiter and Venus. I called to Terry to look at the sky and take pictures. Then I called friends and relatives to suggest they look in the western sky. Some things in nature can’t be captured well in photos. As my friend Joan wrote, “The moon and stars were awesome! “ Hope you saw it too.

We have been very busy with friends at Castaways RV Park. Lil, our activity director, keeps us very busy. Not only do I go to the American Legion to play Bingo but play Sticks, Garbage Bingo, or Crazy Rook in the evening at the clubhouse. Irene and Dick drove us to “Yo Mama’s” for barbeque and then to the Texas Opry Jamboree. I joined a group of ladies who wore red hats and went to lunch at Sam’s Boat. We went to Vernon’s Catfish for dinner and we had a wonderful Thanksgiving meal in the clubhouse. Teta prepared the two turkeys and ham that were furnished by the owners of our campground. We had “all the fixins” since everyone prepared a dish to bring.

Our Thanksgiving service was also held in the clubhouse with our resident pastor, Oliver. I led the singing and sang a solo on a song written thousands of years ago by David in the 103rd Psalm.

Hope your Thanksgiving was just as happy as ours was.