Friday, April 28, 2017

Seeing Family in All Forms

Cracker Barrel, Gas City, Indiana

In my last post I mentioned how we had stayed at Four Cracker Barrels four days in a row.  We ate at all four, and we checked with staff at all four.  The answer was always, “You are more than welcome…”   The picture above was taken on Tuesday the 25th, which just happens to have been mom’s birthday.  It was near Gas City Indiana, and was very quiet…as have been all of the Cracker Barrels we have stayed at.  WAY better than at rest areas or truck stops.  And only at the last one in Southwestern Michigan did we have company…two ladies in a Canadian RV Van from Canada.

Marcia, Byron, Dave

Here is a picture of Marcia (left) Byron (middle) and I (right) taken by Byron’s wife Jennifer inside Cracker Barrel just before Byron had to leave after a two hour lunch.  Should have had my camera, but just never thought about it.  Jennifer and us stayed another hour or more talking…what a joy that was to meet these relatives of Marcia’s…just as it was to meet Connie and Jim the next day in Michigan.

Lavidas Graves

Yesterday we drove over to Gary where we visited the graves of Marcia’s “Yiayia” (Grandmother) and her Mother and “Pa” (her step father, her brother Dean’s father).  It was cold…at 49 degrees, with a slight wind. 

Uncle Tony, Uncle Anthoulis, Constintine, Mary (Marika) Lavedas (Yiayia)    Helen and Hercules Iracleanos

Marcia lived in the same room with her Yiayia for 22 years.  Her step-dad was very close to her, and then there was her mother…it was all a bit emotional in a nice way.  The Iracleanos graves are closer to the road, to the left of the Lavedas graves (her Uncle Tony, Grandfather Constintine and Uncle Anthoulis and Yiayia).  Marcia walked out to her Yiayia’s grave…but it was very cold and it took us longer to find her ma and pa’s graves.  Since they were closer to the road, we stopped and she paid her respects from the warmth of the car.

John Karagas and Marigo Karagas

There were LOTS of family in the graveyard…including her Yiayia’s sister, Marigo Karagas, grandmother of and John, father of, Kerry Karagas who passed away this past November and who’s wife Ginger we have had dinner with a number of times this winter.  (Ginger, you might want to print a copy of this picture for you family album.)

We are at the Cedar Lakes Ministries RV Park in Cedar Lake, Indiana.  We stayed here back in 2012 when we came through the area, and found it as it is now, a nice, safe place to stay while being fairly close to Chicago.  Unfortunately, the people we wanted to see in Chicago who oversee our retirement IRAs could not move us up on their calendar…but after we see Marcia’s cousin Lee and wife Ginger tonight, we are off to Arkansas tomorrow where we will first go to Fort Smith, and then to Little Rock. 

Joyce Parker Marcia

We then head out to Phoenix for the Celebration of Life for Marcia’s friend Joyce, who passed on Wednesday.  Laurie, who is the youngest daughter of Joyce, posted this picture on Facebook from back in or around 2005/06. of Joyce (left) Parker (middle) and Marcia (right).  Parker died in 2011, and Joyce had a very hard time without him.  Marcia has known Joyce for nearly 50 years. 

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