138: Grand-Parental Chicago Love

My parents are loving, wise, and so perfectly in love with their grandchildren.

M’s Nene and Papa have been friends forever. (Their journey began when they made their First Communion together in 2nd grade.) They’ve been partners, comrades, and companions through years of life’s twists and turns.

Growing up with the duo meant lots of great road-trips. Whether we were traveling back to the town in which their love memories took root, or driving to our favorite campground in Wisconsin, my sister K and I built some of our favorite and craziest memories. You see, we had the best road-trip mobile a kid could ever want…A Volkswagen Camp Mobile.

We called it the Green Machine. It had white hubcaps, green plaid curtains, and a roof that popped up 6 feet – when parked. Inside it had a table for playing rounds of UNO, a mini-kitchen, chairs that turned into a bed, and dozens of secret compartments.

Since the engine was in the back and mom and dad’s seats were so far away, we could never hear what they were talking about – which was perfectly fine with us. But when I think about the hours the twosome spent side-by-side, looking down the road, I wonder what they said to each other.


At the end of lunch yesterday, I gave the pair a call. They announced that they were about to hop in the car and go on a road-trip…to visit M and watch his basketball game.

For the remainder of the afternoon, I wondered and speculated about their road-trip conversations on their way to visit their 16 year old grandson…whom they love and miss so much.

When my husband and I make the trip, we takeĀ the book with us. (It’s the book that keeps me strong, gives us guidance, gives us words to say to him, and gives us hope.) I read a section or two, and then we talk. It’s sometimes similar to the talk a boxing coach would give his fighter before the bell rings. But sometimes it’s just like the sweet and hopeful conversations Dorothy had with her companions on the way to Oz.


My dad called on the drive home from the game…

“J, it was like walking into a Bulls game to watch Jordan play.”

Having grown up in Chicago – I knew exactly what he meant. And now, I also knew exactly what their conversations were like before and after the game.


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