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August 06, 2005 - Saturday, 1:20 a.m.
I ended up only sleeping about 5 hours. I was up early in the morning and packed the car to go. The work day went by pretty quick. I got my oil changed and met L for lunch at noon. It was still raining. Wonderful!! After so much heat it was like heaven. I left work at about 3:45 pm and was on the road before 6 pm. It was still raining when I headed out of town. It didn’t stop raining until I was almost at the Wyoming border. The drive actually went pretty well. It seemed that my mind did a lot of wandering as I drove. I listened to CD’s and let my mind just go.
I thought a lot about Phil. It seemed to run back and forth from some hopeful thoughts, to just trying to keep myself in check. A couple reminders that I am “RED” and a long visit on the phone with L helped to get me more focused. I got to Newcastle about 12:30 am. I stopped for gas. Then as I pulled out of the gas station to head toward Sundance, I noticed some deer along the side of the road and slowed down as I approached the intersection. I glanced in the rear view mirror as I pulled to a stop at the corner and there was a cop behind me with his lights going. I thought, “What the…?”, and pulled over. He got out of the car and came up as I wound down the window. He asked where I was headed and I told him North Dakota. He asked where in North Dakota and I told him. He asked if I knew why he’d pulled me over and I said that I didn’t. He asked me if I knew what the speed limit was, and I told him that I thought it was 30. He said that was right, but that I’d been going 40. I was surprised and apologized. I had told him that I had been watching for deer and that I’d had no idea what speed I was going. He took my information and went back to his car. I was thinking, “Great! Just what I need...” But when he returned to my car with the ticket he told me that he was going to save me $100 and that he’d just issued me a warning and asked me to sign it. I was thinking… “AWESOME!” and thanked him. Talk about lucky. I am sure that it helped that I was terribly polite and apologetic, and I suppose the fact that I really had no idea that I was speeding and honestly wasn’t even in a hurry didn’t hurt. He actually talked to me quite a bit for it being a traffic stop. He told me that he’d gone to school in Bismarck and that he’d worked for the sheriff’s department in Buffalo, South Dakota.
Anyway… I was back on the road and headed for Sundance and Spearfish very shortly. I let my mind wander and talked to myself out loud to stay awake. I carried on an imaginary conversation with Phil. It was just me talking out loud, like I was talking to him, and like I heard him talking to me. It was as though I was talking to him in his mind, with him home in bed and me on the road in Wyoming. The imagination is an amazing thing. I know it sounds strange, but it was strangely comforting and kept me awake. As I got to the rest area just before Spearfish, it seemed in my mind that Phil had fallen asleep and I pulled into the rest area, parked, leaned back the seat and was immediately asleep. I slept there for nearly 3 hours and then woke up and was back on the highway by 5 am.
Surprisingly enough I never got tired again. I hit Dickinson, North Dakota by about 9 am, and got into Velva by about 11 am. For some reason I got it in my mind that I wanted to go the cemeteries. It had been probably 15 years, AT LEAST, since the last time I was at the Velva cemetery. I only knew the general location of it, but found it pretty easily. My gut took me almost directly to where the Kaylor tombstones were, though as the upright tombstone faced the wrong way and I couldn’t see it. So, I drove around a while and eventually parked the car. Once out I walked almost directly to the stones. So very strange, as really I had no conscious idea where they were, but subconsciously I obviously recalled it. I took pictures of the tombstones (a genealogy habit that I can’t break) and then sat down and said some prayers for the departed. My great grandparents (my mothers, mother’s parents) are buried there. With them are buried two of my grandmother’s sisters. The younger one died at 28 in 1937, under very mysterious circumstances that are mostly whispered stories. My grandmother was terribly attached to her younger sister Bernice. And as I sat by the stone on the ground, I found I was crying. I gently dusted off the tombstone and reminded Bernice how much my grandma loved her and missed her. I slowly got up and got back into the car. Guess it was a day to talk out loud a lot by myself.
I drove on through Velva and headed out to the farm. Bill, the man that bought the farm, had told us numerous times to just stop by any time we were in the area, so I pulled into the yard and parked. His chocolate lab seemed happy to see me. Not a great guard dog, but certainly a sweet companion for Bill. A hired hand was in a semi in the yard, and circled in front of the barn and pulled up next to me and said, “Looking for someone?” I responded, “Not really…. I suppose Bill is around somewhere?” He told me that Bill was out combining and started to tell me where he was working. I told him that I would probably not go by and find him, but that I was a Shipman grandkid and to tell Bill that I’d come by and that I was one of Jeanette’s and that he’d know what that meant.” I took a couple pictures, sighed softly and headed out for Granville.
Only about 5 miles from the farm, I pulled into that cemetery and headed to Grandma’s plot. I took a couple pictures. Her tombstone was in place and it was the first time I’d seen it. I was surprised to see that the grass was already growing on her grave. In Colorado it would take forever for that to happen. Amazing. I sat down on the ground next to Grandma’s tombstone and said a couple prayers. I gently dusted off her tombstone and talked to her about the summer. I told here that the sunflowers were looking good in the fields and that they were starting to combine the grains already. Tears quietly rolled down my cheeks. I told her that I missed her and told Grandpa that my mom misses him. He died in 1959 just over a year before I was born, so I never knew him. But my mother was Daddy’s Little Girl and has missed him all of my life. I would really have liked to have met him. I guess it was just a weepy day… I am sure I just needed that cry.
I felt better after those visits and then headed for my cousins lake cabin near Bottineau. I arrived about 3 pm. It was a leisurely afternoon. We sat at the table and visited for a few hours. Then about 7 pm we went out on the lake in the pontoon boat. The lake was calm and beautiful, the weather perfect. We made it a short trip and then came back ate dinner and then went back out on the pontoon boat until well after dark. Talk about relaxing… it was wonderful. We headed back to the house, sat outside by a fire that Steve made and then headed in about 11 pm. Everyone headed to bed and I did a couple of quick IM’s and took a shower. It’s now after 1 am local time. I’ve had 8 hours of sleep in the last 70 hours, and I’m still here and awake.