Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Johnny's travels

Now that Johnny has "retired" (which means he works for free instead of for pay, near as I can tell), he is doing more of what he loves... working with and for his kids. Like his father before him, Johnny's greatest joy is helping repair and build whatever his sons need repaired and built. This month he's managed to help out each kid.

One weekend he spent at Kevin and Jessica's in Washington, playing with grandson Ian and doing roof repairs on their horse barn. He came home Monday night, got organized for his next trek, and left Wednesday to put a roof on the new building in the Gates cemetery where both my parents are buried... and where Johnny and I have a stone ready for use... hopefully in the distant future. Thursday night he came home after finishing the roof and planned to leave the next day for the California kids. However, the hot water heater had sprung a leak, delaying his departure via Amtrak until Saturday.

At Steve and Munazza's, Johnny played with grandsons Kestrel and Cedrus and helped inspect a house the kids are thinking about buying. This was during California's rain storms, which were heaviest south of where S&M live for most of the time he was there. However, on Wednesday torrential rains with thunder and lightning hit the Bay area. Johnny spent Wed. helping unplug storm drains, dry out wet flooring, clean gutters and drain off the deck where pavers were floating on four inches of water. That night he left for home via Amtrak. He was due to arrive Thursday at 2 p.m.

Alas, the massive rain storms were snow storms in the Sierra Nevadas and the train was delayed for hours while trees that the heavy, wet snow had downed were removed from the train tracks, a new engineer and crew were brought in from afar as the others had been on duty too long, and all the freight trains that had been held up had gone by. Johnny spent his 67th birthday on Amtrak's Coast Starlight. However, that didn't seem to bother him one bit. He felt lucky to have "8 extra hours on the train without having to pay anything extra for the privilege. They even gave us a free meal!" I think Johnny got to know everyone on the train. Meanwhile, I stewed and fretted until his train pulled in at 10 p.m. I hope he stays put for awhile.

We have to do our visiting separately since someone needs to milk goats and feed animals here on the farm. I don't mind going it alone as long as it isn't for too long. This two week stretch was a bit much. I missed him. (Of course, the standard smart-ass answer around here for "Did you miss me?" is "Yeah, but I'll keep shootin'.")

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