Gulf Sunrise

An Extended Visit with My Mother

I spent the week of December 8th visiting with my mother in Pensacola and was there almost the entire week. We had a really good time together. We rented a smaller SUV thinking she would be able to better get in and out of it. The SUV worked perfectly. She didn’t have to lift up or squat down to get in and out–just turn and sit back onto the seat. Walking and getting in and out of a car is a challenge for her now.

The weather was flawless: Sunny and slightly cool! We did a lot of just riding around: the old historic downtown Pensacola where we parked and watched the seagulls, out all along Scenic Hwy, out to the Beach, Fort Pickens, Navarre, the Navy Base, places in Gulf Breeze–just common places she hasn’t seen in a few years.

Gulf Sunrise
Sunrise from the hotel room

When I took her over to the Gulf, we went up to our hotel room on the 11th floor so she could see how beautiful the view of the Gulf and the beach was from up there. She sat next to the window in the room, enjoying the view while we all talked (maybe an hour or so), until she was ready to head back down. Even though I live on the gorgeous Pacific Ocean, I never get tired of the Gulf! It’s got an immeasurable charm all of its own.

Barrancas National CemeteryWe went out to the Navy Base cemetery to see Aunt Hester (her mother’s sister) and Uncle Shelly’s graves. I have been taking pictures of everyone’s tombstone for the family tree. I had never seen where they were buried. She hadn’t either. I called the Barrancas National Cemetery to find out the hours, and they were extremely helpful: looked up the section and plot numbers and gave me the dates they were interred. This is a HUGE military cemetery, and we never would have found the graves on our own!!

Uncle Shelley Steger's Tombstone
Uncle Shelley Steger’s Tombstone

I came upon a grounds keeper and asked where the section I was looking for was (Section 38 – plot 522). (Even with the map, I was not exactly sure I was at the correct location. I was close but not spot on.) He was also very helpful. I drove to the correct section and got out of the car to find the plot. He had driven his little buggy over and was standing by their graves, waving me to come there. As we left I stopped to take a picture of the cemetery sign. Before I could get out of the car, another ground’s keeper came up beside the car in his little buggy thing and asked if he could help us find anything. The care afforded that cemetery is astounding! Kudos to the Barrancas National Cemetery!

If anyone knows any information about what is on Uncle Shelley’s tombstone, I would appreciate your sharing it. I’m unsure what EMI means. He lived to be 91, amazingly old for the men in the family.

Aunt Hester Broadus Steger's Tombstone
Aunt Hester Broadus Steger’s Tombstone

Of course, mother was unable to walk to the graves, especially on the well manicured (spongy) grass. So, I just pointed and took the pictures. Aunt Hester lived to be 98! I was shocked. Without doubt, she lived to be the oldest of all of our relatives from that generation.

We also ate out all but one meal. I took her to all of her favorite restaurants except one, an old Pensacola seafood standard, Halls, which had closed! I think she enjoyed eating out as much as anything. We made every meal sort of an event that we all looked forward to each time. And, again, we had nothing to do, nowhere to be, no schedule to keep.

Mother said getting out of the house was better for her than medicine, that I had no idea how much that lifted her spirits. I was delighted. We talked a lot, about everything and about nothing.

A good visit, indeed.

3 thoughts on “An Extended Visit with My Mother”

  1. How wise! Happy for you to have made such wonderful memories. I lost my mom five years ago Dec. 2nd and still miss her so. But I’m incredibly thankful for time invested making memories – they’re sustaining comfort. And it’s nice to revisit childhood haunts with grownup eyes, right?! Thanks for sharing.

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