Almost as soon as we arrived my Uncle Stan wisked Rick away on the four-wheeler to show him around. My 13-year-old cousin, Mason chatted with Bren about his drumming and played Amazing Grace for us on his guitar, and Bren introduced Mason to Daisy the Ferret.
It had been about six years since I had last seen Mason and was pleased to discover what a nice young man he is growing up to be. He's a smart one! My cousin Justin also popped in for a few minutes to say hello on his way to work at Cracker Barrel. It's hard to believe he is 30 now. We were kids just a few short years ago!
It had been several years since I had seen my two aunts, so it was wonderful to chat and catch up with everyone. My Aunt Sookie has been battling cancer the past several months and has had a rough go of it. It was a relief to me to see that she is doing better and is in good spirits. The Lord has been at work in all their lives.
The unwelcome excitment we had today had to do with three ATVs, me, Rick, Bren, and Mason. While I was chatting with my aunts, Rick and Bren were out riding around looking around the property, so later in the afternoon Rick offered to take me for a ride on the four-wheeler to show me around. Mason (who has been riding ATVs for five years) offered to give us a little tour, then Bren decided she would ride along as well. So our little caravan consisted of Mason out front, Bren second, and Rick and I bringing up the rear.
We took off and crossed the street then turned down a long road that declined sharply right from the start. As soon as I saw the road was made of gravel I panicked. I didn't think Bren was experienced enough to handle the ATV off-road. As soon as that thought passed through my mind I watched as Bren hit a deep hole along the left edge of the road. The ATV slid to the left, and off the road toward the trees. I saw what was going to happen and started screaming "No! No! No!" as if demanding the action stop would make it happen. All I could see was Bren going head first into a tree, but she had actually grabbed and hugged the tree as she went by it to keep from falling over the ledge with the ATV. Thankfully, the ground was very soft from the recent rain and the ATV stopped it's decent at a 45-degree angle just off the shoulder.
In a fraction of a second Rick was off his machine and making his way toward her. After she was pulled to safety Daddy hugged her for a good while. Mason, who was quite aways ahead of us, had run back to help. About this time some neighbors on ATVs came by and helped pull the stuck one out of the mud. Thanks be to God, Bren came away with just a bruised knee.
It is always difficult to say goodbye to family because I never know when or if I will ever see them again this side of heaven. It makes me hug tightly and try to remember the feeling of being close to the people I love.
Now, if I could just write more often!
P.S. I have been unable to post photos this evening for some reason. Will make another attempt tomorrow, hopefully.