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Wednesday, Sep. 17, 2014

Senior Trip

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

When I was a senior in high school in Washington, D.C., I did not have anything like a Senior Trip. The best we got was the permission to eat our lunch outside the building. But my friends here in Vernon County sometimes actually went somewhere together. They had a Senior Trip, maybe even for an overnight stay somewhere. Last week I finally was able to take my Senior Trip.

My middle age plus husband, Lester, and I left home on Sunday morning and drove 120 miles to have lunch with my middle age plus sister and her middle aged daughter in Lebanon, Mo. We had a great time celebrating my sister's birthday with four varieties of cheese cake. We also were rejoicing that after years of trying our Gray family siblings' round robin letters were finally published and we had the books in our hands.

Lester and I then left to go 120 more miles to the YMCA of the Ozarks for a five day stay where I was leading a daily session on humor and games to about 25 middle age and middle age plus participants in a Roads Scholar program.

It is a relaxing experience because I have done it so many years that I can face this audience of college professors, doctors, home makers, teachers, engineers and occasionally even some farmers. They are ready to laugh and play games no matter how important or serious their professions are/were.

Between sessions or while one of the other two presenters are leading their sessions, I can nap, read or play Scrabble with my good friend and whoever else is available. (I even won twice during the week!)

Lester does not usually attend the sessions but uses this time on his laptop computer to continue updating his genealogical research and printing off copies for his family. However he became frustrated last week because he had not brought the notebook of the passwords needed to get into the various programs he uses. In fact he was so frustrated one day that he just gave up and took a nap. However he didn't rest but had a nightmare. He was dreaming that he needed to use the bathroom but had forgotten the password to his bodily functions in order to get the job done.

At the end of the Road Scholar program Lester and I drove over 300 miles south to Gainesville, Mo. to see our sister-in-law who was recovering from a stroke in a nursing home there. After a quick visit with her we drove another 25 or so miles to her home where Lester's 94-year-old brother is now living alone in their small retirement home near Lester's birthplace in eastern Taney County.

A nice visit on a sunny porch and a quick pick up of some chestnuts in the yard and we started toward Springfield to visit Lester's 90-year-old sister at Fair Grove. We stopped at Ozark, where Lester took his training as a county agent 61 years ago, to get some gas. It had turned dark and we got confused in that formerly small town with all the traffic lanes, lights and cars, but eventually reached his sister's home.

After a restful night and a nice breakfast we left to come the rest of the way home. We were almost to Collins when I was thinking how happy I was to be nearly back home from our senior trip. I thought that as soon as I reached our drive I would turn the car around so that the trunk would face the front door, grab my purse, go inside and collapse for a while. But where is my purse!?!

I realized that as Lester brought the suitcases from the bedroom he hadn't seen my purse sitting on his sister's dresser! How would I get my purse so I could continue to be a legal driver, have my credit cards, and all those other things we all need? I called Opal and asked if she would like to meet us at Bolivar for luncheon. She seemed rather surprised since we had just left her breakfast table a couple of hours ago. I told her we would pay for it if she would bring my purse from her dresser. Bless her heart, she did. But she didn't want us to take any more time to even eat the lunch we had invited her for.

We did arrive home safely, with all of our possessions but very low on energy, and were quite sure we might be too senior for anymore Senior Trips.

Carolyn Gray Thornton
Middle Age Plus