Thursday, August 27, 2009

Road Trip with my Mom

I had the privilege to take my mom back home where she grew up on the farm in Underwood, North Dakota. I've been back to see the farm a few times in my life and it's always exciting to me to see where I came from. This time it was a little different because it may be the last time for both my mom and I. You never know. My mom is 72 and has been battling Parkinson's for 12 years. I call it a battle because I watched her for a week...trying to make her body function as it should, trying to walk when the muscles wouldn't and all she could do were little shuffle steps, getting out of bed first thing in the morning with a body that is rigid and doesn't move even though her brain was telling it to. She wakes up to taking a pill to get her moving and continues all day long taking one drug after another to battle this disease just to be able to walk, eat and talk. My mother made it look easy when I know it's not! She always has a smile even when she's dead tired. We slept well because we went on a week long road trip to North Dakota and Minnesota to see 4 of her 8 brothers and sisters. What a treat for me to be able to come along. My aunts and uncles and cousins were so glad that my mom could make the trip and had me to bring her along. I enjoyed every minute even though at times it was hard to see them in all the different stages of aunt in the hospital with pneumonia, another aunt in the hospital with a broken hip and fractured vertebrae, another aunt house bound due to a stroke and a cousin finishing up with some kidney stones. All were so glad to see us and we were so glad to see them. So enjoy the scenery today as I show you the beauty of North Dakota!
I fell in love with the sunflower fields and had to stop and take a few photos. Loved this scene.
I didn't see much cattle...just mostly fields of something growing but when I stopped to take a few photos this guy got up to see what I was up to!
More sunflowers and the grass all rolled up neatly along side the freeway.

Isn't that pretty?

My mom's hometown...about 600 people call Underwood, North Dakota home now. It's kind of sad because mom remembers a busier thriving town and it's not that way today.
The grainery where her father brought his crops to market.

The grainery from downtown.

Downtown said the hardware store has always been there. The soda shop is on the right (you'll see that in a moment) and the brick building on the left used to be the bank.

The soda shop is still there but a bit rundown and is now a little bit of everything store, gifts, snacks, small everyday items and a soda shop(lunch counter). Mom used to get nickel ice cream cones here and buy her sheet music when she came to town with her father.

The Hardware store with it's old painted signage on the side of the building.

This was her Uncle Bill and Aunt Vira's house. Uncle Bill loved his chokecherry wine he made in the basement.
This was a house in town that my mom worked at one summer as a house girl. She helped clean and iron and cook.
Her grandfather's house and my great grandfather's house. It needs some badly needed TLC but was still being lived in today.

My mom standing in front of the high school she attended. They had a one room school house near the farm that she attended prior to high school.

One the road to the farm from town. It's now paved!
I love these old buildings and would love to know their history.

Beautiful farm land. I love it. There is usually a farm house where the trees are.

Lots and lots of sunflowers!!!

More fields all rolled up!
And more sunflowers!

There's the farm in the distance where the trees are...the road is no longer paved.

My mom standing on the driveway to the house on the land that her father farmed and she grew up on. Amazing!
Looking down the road to the said it would have been past the trees and to the right. What a view they had! The property is now owned by a cousin and all along the road we read the names of the cousins who still farm the land. Thanks Mom for taking me along and for the memories!


Just a little something from Judy said...

What an interesting, nostalgic post this is! How special that you and your mother had this time together, and the opportunity to visit your relatives. Your pictures are beautiful! I admire your mother in that all that she has to go through phyiscally, she still has a smile and a pleasant disposition. That inspires me. Thank you for sharing today.

Debbie said...

What beautiful country! Isn't it such a blessing to have the opportunity to look at life with the person who gave you life?

Nina Diane said...

such an awesome trip Connie. I loved those sunflowers. I will be making this same sort of trip next spring. Johnny and I are going to take mom and dad up on the mountain where my dad grew up. We'll spend a few days wondering around where he spent his childhood. I can't wait..

Karen said...

How cool! What a special time for you to see all of this. I remember when my Mom and I went up to Sumas , Washington and she showed me all of her history. Nothing - NOTHING can take those memories away. Too bad Danielle couldn't've gone with you. Treasure every day.
I love your Mom. I still have the jars from the jam she made me.
And I will never forget her telling me what to do with a turnip, that first Christmas after I lost my Mom. LOL.
Wonderful, wonderful post!
Big hugs!

Kelley said...

Thanks for sharing this. I have never been there before. The landscape is gorgeous. I love the rows of sunflowers. What a special thing to do with your mom.


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