Happy Birthday to me…and somber news

I woke up to a beautiful birthday morning on the desert.

We said goodbye to the Alvord Desert and headed to Fields, Denio, Highway 140 and Medford.

My mother-in-law and I share a birthday. Bill and I balanced our wish for an unhurried day with some time to explore with our wish to share a birthday dinner in Medford.

We enjoyed driving by a flying saucer on 140, the Sheldon National Antelope Refuge, and the opal mines beyond the refuge headquarters. Nothing was open, which was helpful for our itinerary.

There are some spectacular grades on this route (complete with curves and abrupt, immense drop-offs). We saw a sign warning of wild donkeys and got excited. We didn’t spot any.

Other signs left us baffled.

Hula-hooping pronghorns?

We made Medford in time for a leisurely, lovely dinner with Bruce and Jo. (Did I tell you that I have the best in-laws?)

When mom called later that evening, I thought it was just for birthday wishes, but it was much more somber. She let me know that dad had only 24-48 hours to live.

My dad underwent chemo and radiation for esophageal cancer more than a year ago. It was a tough couple months, but the outcome was more than a year of pretty vigorous life. He’d not been feeling well for a month or so, but still. It was a shock.

Dad lived for another month, cared for with great love by mom, my siblings, and his grandkids. He enjoyed sharing stories right to the end.

Dad passed away November 16, 2020.

I was honored to be asked to give his eulogy.

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