Chuck is at Deerfoot for the work weekend – he asked me to tell another side of the story. I wanted to start out “meanwhile, back at the Ranch…”, but for our family there was no more ranch. Our life of nearly seven years had been turned upside down. No more weekend trips to work at the ranch, no more fellowship with the staff there, no more enjoying country life and seeing dear friends we had made – we were now living in Dallas full time and adjusting to a whole new life style.
In the fall I had talked to the various music teachers – piano, viola and cello – asking if they would teach our kids even though we did not know how much longer we would be in Dallas or how many months we would have the money to pay for lessons. Music lessons started, Dirk joined a soccer team, Jenna had baby sitting jobs, sleepovers become part of our life and Carla traveled daily to feed her horses located on the way to downtown Dallas and started teaching riding lessons every weekend. Chuck and I were co-chairman of the high school orchestra parent’s board. With the orchestra (Carla was first chair cellist) planning a trip to a competition in Vienna, Austria, we were into a busy year of meetings, fund raising, publicity and a banquet.
Then, on January 15, Chuck left for New York. Please factor into what follows that all this predates cell phones, e-mails and inexpensive long distance calls!
- The first week a neighbor backed into our car as the girls were driving to school. He did not want to call his insurance company so I got estimates for repairs and he paid. I got a letter from the gas company saying our gas would be cut off because we had not paid bill. They were wrong, gas stayed on.
- The second week, as Carla and I were driving home from the stable in rush hour traffic we were pulled over by the police. Our out of date, Illinois plates (we had brought back Chuck’s mom’s car after her death) had attracted his attention. But then the car came up as stolen and he would not believe we were mother and daughter. While we were trying to prove our innocence, Jenna and Dirk were at home wondering why we had not come home for supper. An hour later, ticket in hand but not in jail for thievery, we were on our way.
- The third week I was involved with a realtor, starting to get the house on the market. Carla was buying a horse to use for teaching which meant I was involved in horse trailers and transportation. Said horse was found to have a serious foot problem – a pre-existing condition. So began the process of getting her money back….
- The fourth week we were all counting the days until Chuck came back!
And so the weeks continued with orthodontist appointments, music competitions, concerts, track meets, a huge orchestra fund raising garage sale, flat tire, starting the packing process, Chuck leaving and coming back several more times. The house sold the end of February – the first day it was on the market. Jenna started looking for a buyer for her many pigeons and her chickens (yes, they lived in our backyard). As I read through my diary I wonder – how did I keep going? How did our children survive? Chuck and I were on an emotional see-saw – a good thing, when one of us was down the other was up.
There were many fun moments –once we met Chuck at the airport dressed as hillbillies – patches on our clothes, teeth blackened, mismatched boots. Poor man – in sport coat, carrying his attaché case, looking like he wanted to disown us and then breaking up with laughter!
And there was a special friend God had brought into my life. Since our future was so uncertain, I had stopped teaching a weekly Bible study I had led for several years. Judy Cole had joined the group a year before, a newcomer to Dallas who lived just north of us. Through all the months of turmoil, Judy and I met most Wednesdays for lunch. We talked, we prayed, she listened, we studied the Bible, I shared, she encouraged. She provided a much needed safe place for me. In God’s amazing timing, on the day our moving van left for New York, the Cole’s moving van left for California!
On May 29th our family left Dallas driving two cars, one pulling a horse trailer with four of Jenna’s pigeons and some of my favorite plants plus Chuck’s tools in it, the other pulling a small trailer containing our library. The older car had a habit of breaking down which provided some interesting stops along the way. Each car had a CB – all of us had “handles” as we set off on the journey to New York, looking forward to the “hope and future” God had planned for us.