We received sad news that one of Duane's relatives in Louisiana, Nolan, passed away. Duane couldn't go to the funeral, but Dax and I loaded up and headed East (well, after a haircut and a run-in with a slide that left a goose-egg on Dax's forehead). We spent the first night at Annette's. The next morning we drove to Missouri City to pick up Aunt Fay and got on I-10 for 215 miles. We stopped for lunch in Beaumont, but that was it. Dax was great in the car. After recovering from bad Internet directions to the hotel, we headed over to the funeral home. Dax made it about 5 minutes into the Rosary, but luckily they had a kids room where I could let him play. After the Rosary, Dax got to meet a lot of relatives whom he had never seen. Georgia was so sweet and introduced Dax and me to everyone. Dax really liked her, too - he was giving her some good hugs (which I'm sure were nice to get after just losing her husband). Dax also enjoyed meeting a couple cousins about his age: Reece is 26 months and Gage is 19 months. They had a good time pal-ing around together. I really enjoyed meeting all Duane's cousins, too. They are all so warm and welcoming. Nolan had been the local sheriff for many years, so at the funeral home deputies stood by the casket. They looked like they were "at attention", but their heads were bowed, as if in prayer. It was very nice.
The next morning there was a full police/sheriff escort from the funeral home to the church, complete with lots of lights and sirens. Talk about arriving in style! The funeral was lovely. From our vantage point in the cry room we could see everything, including Aunt Kay and Aunt Fay. The eulogies were very heart-felt and touching. Even though I'd never met Nolan, I was moved to tears and really wish that I'd had the opportunity to know him. I know his family dearly misses him. He was interred in a mausoleum, which I had never seen before. The ceremony concluded with a gun salute by the sheriff's department.
Spending time with Duane's family was wonderful. And they definitely made sure we didn't leave hungry! Those Louisiana folk can COOK! Even if they did make fun of the way I say "DeRouen". Apparently, in Louisiana there are a lot of "DeRouens", but they pronounce it "der-wahh". Oh, well. They "corrected" us in France on our honeymoon, too.
When we got back to Texas, we stopped to see Duane's cousin Tracie who'd had a baby right before Christmas. Baby Lillie was sleeping, so we didn't get to hold her. But, she was so beautiful laying there, that I started crying immediately. No telling what I would have done if I'd gotten to hold her! What a blessing babies are! And parenthood definitely becomes Mark and Tracie. They're doing great. We hope to see them again soon.
We spent the last night at Annette's again, before we headed back to Austin the next morning. Dax slept the whole way home. After staying up till practically 9pm every night the past few nights, he was more than due for some good sleep (me, too, actually). Now that we're back, we're all sick with a head cold and trying to get back in to our routine. But, we're SO glad we made the trip. We're looking forward to planning another trip when we can spend more time, and under happier circumstances, with such wonderful people that we are blessed to call "family".
Checking in to the hotel
Georgia introducing Dax and Gage - even the toddlers are welcoming!
Dax hit it off with Reece, too
Showing Aunt Fay and Georgia the "love"
Aunt Fay and Charlotte
3-week old, Lillie
Mark and Tracie