I'm coming up on the end of a week I've spent in Little Rock, which is about a 5.5 hour drive from where I live in Middle Tennessee.
I moved here (to Little Rock) after college to go to law school and stayed until 1997, when we made the move to just south of Nashville. I lived here about 17 years. It's where I met Wife and where all three of our children were born. It's about 120 miles north of where I grew up in south Arkansas.
Wife's parents, who are 92 (him) and 91 (her), still live here. About five years ago they moved from their longtime home into a retirement community. They are in "independent living," which means they have their own place, and they only get any kind of assistance in the event of an emergency.
Until the pandemic, they went to a community dining room five days a week for lunch. Since the pandemic, one meal is delivered to them each day around noon.
A couple of years ago, Wife's sister and her husband moved here from northern Virginia, just outside Washington, D.C. Both having recently retired and wanting to move away from that area, they decided to move to Little Rock, primarily to be here for the folks.
We are grateful to them for being here, and we have expressed that to them. Now, if there's any type of emergency, they are only a few minutes away.
A couple of weeks ago, my father-in-law fell, one of three falls he's had in the past few months. The fact is he's not doing very well. His body is worn out, on top of having dementia and being extremely hard of hearing. The only way he stays in independent living is because his wife is taking care of him.
That's right, a 91-year-old caring for a 92-year-old. Not optimal.
But again, their daughter and son-in-law are nearby and they have been a tremendous help.
My sister-in-law and brother-in-law had a vacation planned for this week, but given the recent tumbles my father-in-law has had, they were reconsidering.
With Wife's recent health problems, she was not up to the drive by herself. She's better, but she's pacing herself and being careful. Right now she's also keeping our granddaughter in Huntsville, AL a day a week.
So when I heard about this situation, I said the solution was easy. I can come to Little Rock for the week they're on vacation. I work remotely 100 percent of the time now, and I can work from anywhere.
Everybody (Wife, her sister and brother-in-law) seemed amazed I would volunteer, but I don't see it as a big deal. I'm staying in my SIL's and BIL's lovely home and working during the day, and checking on the folks at night. I love them like they are my own parents, so it is absolutely no problem at all for me.
As it so happened, today is their 72nd wedding anniversary. I took them dinner tonight and asked them questions about their wedding day. They married in Oklahoma City in 1948. They didn't own a car at the time, but my father-in-law's brother loaned them his so they could go on a honeymoon. Their destination was Hot Springs, Arkansas.
His father gave them $200 for their honeymoon. He gave them the first 100 before they left, but sent the remaining amount to a post office in Little Rock, where they picked it up en route to Hot Springs. My mother-in-law said this was a common arrangement, but I had never heard of such.
She said they were hoping to get back to Oklahoma City with part of that money, but an axle on the car broke on their way home, and the repair cost 50 dollars. She said they arrived home pretty much broke.
"But we'd never had money before," she said, so it didn't matter.
Some years later they made their way to Little Rock, and it's here they raised their two daughters, including the one I met and married.
And it's here they stay.
It's been a good week.