In part one, I described the Disney and beach aspects of our trip, which were planned. But the most interesting reading could be a recount of the other two parts of our vacation.
3. In 1986, I lost an uncle, and my young cousins had lost a dad. Michel, the young widow who had 3 little kids to raise, plus one on the way, moved from Texas to Florida, where she was from. She eventually remarried, but we had lost touch. I had recently found my cousin Heather on Facebook, and we had agreed that we should all meet while we were there.
This was, by far, the best part of the trip. Heather has gone from a little 4-yr-old that I barely remembered into a great young woman with kids of her own. Michel, my aunt, brought her husband, who is battling a newly-discovered physical ailment which threatens to make Michel a widow for a second time. She and I had a great, in-depth discussion about the past, the effects the loss of their father had on the kids as they grew up, and a summary of what God is doing in the lives of these family members of mine who I do not know. It was powerful. It finally got interrupted by--this should come as no surprise--a jellyfish sting, this time on the leg of my little 6-yr-old cousin.
This day, where I reconnected with family I barely knew existed, made the entire trip to Florida worth it.
4. When we returned, we found that the weather back in Texas had not been kind to us. We took the shuttle from the airport terminal to the remote (cheap) parking, where we discovered our minivan, full of dimples from the rather large hail that had fallen on it.; the hail also cracked the windshield and broke the taillight.
But it gets better. When we got home, we looked in the back yard, where the wind had, during the same storm, flipped our 14-foot trampoline and set it, upside-down, on the wood fence, hanging as much over our neighbor's yard as our own. It ended up taking 5 men the next day to get it down and put it back into place.
I should emphasize that we have a lot to be thankful for regarding this storm. While we had a cracked windshield, several cars had lost their entire windshields. While we had a bent trampoline, some neighbors had lost large, old trees or entire fences. We got off somewhat easy.