Sunday, September 01, 2013

Travels With Frank #1 - Tombstone

Okay, this is where I try to start blogging on a regular basis again. For several years I've mostly just used Facebook and someimes Tumbler, and generally only blogged here for the Round Robin Photo Challenges. But I'm going through a time in my life that is both stressful and interesting. I need an outlet, and the discipline of writing on a regular basis again, and a place to keep a log of what's going on in my life that I can crib from if I ever write that threatened autobiography. In short, I need a blog. How fortunate that I already have one! (Actually, I have a number of them. But this is the one that still gets some use!)


My dad in February, before the beard came off.

If you follow me on Facebook, or even if you just read my Round Robin entries, you probably know that my Dad, Dr. Frank E. Funk, moved to Tucson in February 2013. It was not his idea, and he didn't quite realize he was coming to Tucson to stay. My stepmother, Dr. Ruth Christy Funk, had died on June 1st, 2012, and in the months that followed it became clear that his ability to live safely in his own Wilmington, NC condo was greatly diminished. Dad has dementia, and unskilled, round the clock care at home was getting to be both expensive and insufficient to his needs. So, after a stint in the hospital during which we thought we were going to lose him, we closed up his house and he came here.

By here, of course, I mean Tucson, not my house. He lives just a few miles away, in a memory care unit at Cascades of Tucson. The people there are friendly, caring and competent, and the location is extremely convenient for me, being close to both St. Michael's and my home. It means I can make up for all the years that I hardly ever saw him because we lived 1500 miles from each other. Now I see him daily, even if it's just for 15 minutes on my way home from work. And on Saturdays, we go out together for "lunch and adventures."

 Today, for example, I decided to drive him to Bisbee, Arizona, there to see the historic town and a giant open pit mine. But Tombstone was on the way, and we got there just as shots were ringing out from the gunfight reenactment, and the town was having a big Labor Day Weekend Rendezvous of Gunfighters. Needless to say, we never made it to Bisbee.

Now, the fact is, Dad didn't actually enjoy visiting Tombstone today. I asked him whether that was fun, and he simply said "No." It was too long a walk for him, and I don't think he really grasped the history of the place, much less cared about it. But he had ice cream at the oldest continuously-operated restaurant in Tombstone, and rode on a stagecoach for a narrated tour of the town, and got to do some people-watching.

The part he really likes is the long drives. He enjoys seeing the mountains, watching the clouds build up, keeping an eye on my driving and, mostly, reading the road signs, business sign and licence plates. The drive from Tucson down to Tombstone is a fairly spectacular one, with mountains and desert and several historic towns along the way. There was also a big, dramatic storm on the return drive that we watched but didn't need to drive through. So that part of the day was a success.



Bea said...

Karen, how I came to read your blog today is long and convoluted, but I did read this post about your dad. The posting sort of has caught me up just a little bit to the changes going on in your life, and I recall happier days when we both blogged every day at aoljournals.

I know the changes are great for you, because your dad has moved from NC to Tucson... my mom made a big move in July, from Ga to CT... I still live in NC, so she is further away from me, but much closer to her sister, brother, and grandchildren and great-grandchildren. I'm glad you are getting this time to be with your dad, even for a 15 minute visit some days, which was way more than you could have had before.

I am sorry about the loss of your mother last year. I missed that event. Were you with her when she passed? I am sorry for your dad's loss as well.

I recall that you were writing/publishing the Mavarin stories. Do you continue to work on those or are they published? You are a faithful writer, I admire that.

Wil said...

While I'm not as old as Dr. Frank, I appreciate on his behalf all you have done to accommodate that miserable soul-thief, dementia. You're a good daughter, Karen, and I am sure you dad recognizes that in some convoluted memory synapse hiding from concious retrieval.

i, too, am curious as to the disposition of the Mavarin tales. These days, self-publishing, self-promoting and serials are all the rage -- surely there's room for Mavarin in the mix?

I'm wishing happy days to you and John.