Report from Michigan


I arrived safely and without event on Monday June 29. My uncle Buck drove my mom’s car down to Grand Rapids to meet me. Uncle Buck, Aunt Alice, mom and I had a late lunch at Bob Evan’s–it was Alice’s birthday. We stopped by Heartland Health Care nursing home in Ionia so we could visit Duane before driving on to Carson City.

I wasn’t sure what to expect, but in some ways Duane was doing slightly better than I expected. I’m certain he recognized me. He is definitely not in good shape due to the stroke and being paralyzed on one side, but he clearly responded to some questions and looked around when I pointed at something in his room. He cannot speak but the occupational, physical and speech threapy that he will be receiving may enable him to communicate in other ways.

He surprised a few people when he picked up the koosh ball I threw to him and threw it back–at least a few inches. He did the same thing with a large paper airplane I made out the June calendar.

The daylilies are in full bloom along the back roads we drive to get from Carson City to Ionia, about 25 miles.

birthday cake smores
Childhood friend Kathy invited us down for dinner. We had planned to make smores out on the camp fire, but since it was the coldest July 1 on record, we opted for marshmallows roasted over the kitchen stove. Kathy concocted a makeshift smores birthday cake in my honor!
We had some great laughs with my sister Debbie, Mary Jane, and Kathy along with Carol and Larry. Some great childhood stories emerged and might work for blackmail if ever needed in the future!

I helped mom clean her car this morning–two hours or more scraping pine tar off with a credit card and then scrubbing with full strength rubbing alcohol, followed by a wash and dry. I’ve ordered mom a fabric car cover for her birthday since the only place she has to park is under a pine tree.

OK, I guess that is enough update for now. Our July 4th celebration will likely be low key, but at least the weather has warmed enough to go for a walk.


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