My favorite season has always been Autumn. Since I grew up in the Northeast, a visit to the local apple orchard in late September and October was mandatory. The smell of the apples, the pumpkins, the crisp air and startling blue sky are memories that will be with me forever. So far, every year, my husband and I have managed a trip to the Smoky Mountains for the mountain autumn experience reminiscent of my upstate New York childhood. This year, finally, we may fly up for a long weekend to New York itself. I'm not a fan of flying, and I've always loved the drive to North Carolina. We've traditionally driven up the center of Florida and Georgia on I-75 and we've seen cotton fields and pecan trees for the first time. Last year, I stopped and picked cotton to bring home as a memento. The Mister was amazed at how obvious cotton is as a textile. It's not like flax, which took a lot of imagination to turn into cloth. Cotton just bursts right out there and looks like it needs to be spun and woven.
Since we've been married, I've wanted very much to show the Mister my home town. Where I went to school, the house I grew up in (even though it is owned by others now.....a strange thought since my father built it himself - it seems wrong somehow). I want to show him New Paltz - a quaint college town that started out as a Huguenot haven in the 1600's. I want him to drive to the top of Cragsmoor with me - a drive I've taken since I was 16 years old. There is an old Methodist church at the top on the edge of a cliff that overlooks mountains, and it is a beautiful place. We're making plans now to see if we can do this in the midst of what is happening to my father.
He is in a nursing home at this point. He can't walk, but he was much more lucid when I went to visit last weekend. He had an infection, which may have made him foggy, but we just don't know. There are many problems with the whole situation. He doesn't want to eat - and I don't blame him. The food is less than desirable. He isn't clear all the time on where he is. He dearly wants to be at home - always has, as we all would - but my mother can't take care of a helpless 187 pound 6' tall man, and we don't have the money for private care in-home. I know money can't buy happiness, but it sure could make my father's last days a lot better for him and my mother.....but it's no use going down that road. If there is one thing this family doesn't have - and according to family records - never had....it's money. So it's one day at a time with his situation. After 20 days in the nursing home, medicare no longer covers full payment, and we still have to find out if my parents' insurance covers it at all. My sister, who worked in insurance for a few years, says it is rare for health insurance to cover nursing home care. Like so much of life - it figures. You spend thousands of dollars making sure you have insurance - and it doesn't cover what you need. After all, insurance companies are out to make money - that is their first concern...not their customers.
Knowing how this world is makes me long for heaven - and short of that, a quick weekend trip to the past and to the most beautiful season of the year - autumn.