Let’s see if I can recap my trip to MO. Arrived last Wed. 10/26 about 4 p.m. After a discussion of possible restaurants and a drive around Springfield we got on a back road to Monett and ate at Grants. I left my Am. Eagle jacket there and we couldn’t call them cuz the number on the receipt wouldn’t connect. Information had the same # and so did BF’s Monett phone book so we gave up and went to bed. The next morning we drove over there and they had my jacket and Mom went to Brownsberger’s to look around but we bought nothing. So I think we came home and slept. Friday we went to Mom’s Dr. appt. where she waited (we all waited) for 2 hours but she never saw the dr. So we left to go to the Sirloin Stockade in Carthage to celebrate Dad’s b.d. (belatedly). M and V (her “friend”) and M and L and AL were already there. S was supposed to arrive on Thursday but he didn’t make it until Saturday. So after the S.S. we went to M’s house and they all gave Dad cards with dead presidents inside and we sat around and everybody read his cards and talked about nothing in particular. L gave Dad a “Hillbilly briefcase” which was a pair of men’s briefs attached to 2 wooden carrying handles. I think we came home because Mom was tired. So we all took naps. I definitely got a lot of sleep. I read a lot, too. Then on Saturday there wasn’t much to do. I went to Nickorbob’s which used to be a cool craft mall with a little restaurant and is now like a pathetic flea market. Not even worth the trip. I also walked two mornings—down to and around the square and back taking different streets. There are a lot of cats in this town and I woke up every dog that I walked by so it could yap at me. The square is depressing as there’s not much there and many of the buildings are deteriorating. However, the park has a nice new swimming pool and playground equipment so we got that going for us. S arrived Sat. afternoon and we went to Outback in Joplin for dinner. I have pretty much been driving everywhere we go. But since there’s hardly any traffic here it’s not that bad. Reg. gas is about $1.98 a gal. But diesel is $2.99 or so. S’s truck is diesel. Sun. we got up and no one knew what time it was due to clocks getting set back so we ended up eating breakfast (French toast?) really early. Then we had to wait to go to church for 10:30 Mass. After explaining to S why I’d stopped going to Mass, the sermon was on that very subject (sinner priests and hypocrisy). Even Jesus had a disciple who was a bad egg. So maybe I’ll go back to church. CN (AL’s sister) stopped to say hello to me. EN was Dad’s good old friend but he died a few years ago. We went to Mazzio’s Pizza in Monett for lunch and then we went to Home Depot in Joplin so S could get a light fixture to put over the sink so Mom can see what she’s doing. When we got home from the pizza place there were golf balls in the driveway and a dead raccoon on the back bumper of S’s truck courtesy of Cousin T. The raccoon generated some excitement amongst the children in the neighborhood. Sunday night it rained which is desperately needed. Monday we did girls’ day out. Me, Mom and M. Even though it was rainy and nasty we went to a new Kohl’s store and the mall and ate lunch at Red Lobster. Then AL and L stopped by just as we were sitting down to a ham dinner. We thought they were trick or treaters and they were back in their car before we opened the door. But they came in. Mom didn’t want to open the door to trick or treaters. She’s afraid. But the kids across the street came and I think Dad gave them pennies. Today we went to the Hungry House for breakfast and then S and Dad and I went to Joplin to get a vacuum cleaner belt and bags. We stopped at the Starbucks there to check it out and get a drink. Then we went to Carthage and got gas and got milk at Braums and a few groceries at Aldi’s. Mom stayed home to bake a cake and do laundry. S and Dad went out to the golf course even though Dad said he was done for the day on the way back from Carthage. It’s like The Twilight Zone here, so very different from _______. There’s no rush, no pressure, no traffic. We only travel scenic back roads—no interstate. Trees are turning red and orange. It’s very beautiful and picturesque. M also came over on Sunday afternoon. All of Mom’s family has made an effort to see us. None of Dad’s. Mom wanted to stop by RM and B’s but I said they knew we were here and they could drive over if they wanted to see us—I’d made enough of an effort flying here. If they can’t drive a couple of miles to see us I assume they’re not that interested. She didn’t like it but she knows it’s true. Mom’s eyesight is rather poor and her hearing is lousy but she won’t go get it tested. It’s annoying. But she seems to enjoy it. Dad tires very easily and sleeps a lot. I’ve called B, D and S while I’ve been here.