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Arthur is so very loved

Kelly & I drove straight through and arrived in Palestine (about 110 miles SE of Dallas) at about 9am on Thursday morning. We took a short rest before we met the family at 1 for Arthur's viewing. Arthur looked great and will always be with us.

Afterwards the family gathered at Jane's. Seems everyone brought something to eat. There were several different kinds of brisket, rice, chicken and deserts galore. It was so wonderful to spend time with Kelly's Aunts & Uncles, Cousins & their families & friends. Even though we may be miles away, the closeness stays with us.

Arthur's Rosary was at 6:30pm. It was beautiful. The church was near full.

Afterwards, we gathered again at Jane's. We told stories and played with the kids. We ate more. We hugged. We laughed. We cried. Most of all, we remembered and we loved.

Arthur's funeral began at 10am on Friday, July 5th. Arthur was so loved and admired. The church was so full, many had to stand. The service was warm and proud, just as Arthur would have wanted. Jane was strong as she gave tribute to Arthur and thanked her family for their support and love which includes her Palestine family. There wasn't a dry eye as she spoke. The power of community and togetherness could be felt throughout. It warmed my heart. I can only hope that Jane, Carlos and Marcus can still feel our embraces as they are always in our hearts, prayers and thoughts.

At the Knights of Columbus Hall, more food was shared and memories exchanged.

Arthur smiled upon us as we gathered again at Jane's, shared a drink and played the You Bag It game until dark. There were smiles and laughter and lots of full tummies.

Kelly & I went with Chris & Debbie to Debbie's sister's place at Lake Palestine. We did a little catfishing before turning in for the night. On Saturday, the kids played in the lake while we visited with Debbie's family and enjoyed smoked brisket and ribs. Marcus, Jonna & Andy came to pick up Tony in the afternoon. We visited with them for awhile before heading back to Jane's. Carlos' family was there along with Kelly's parents, Aunt Bell & Leonard. We shared Whataburger and shared funny stories about growing up. You could tell no-one wanted to leave. Just before 10, we started to say our good-byes. There were hugs, smiles and tears as we all started home.

Kelly's parents, Bell & Leonard arrived in Milwaukee on Sunday evening. Kelly's parents went on to Indianapolis on Monday and arrived safely last night.

Kelly & I stayed in Arlington and enjoyed Six Flags over Texas on Sunday. The weather was fantastic and the lines were non-existant. I'd been once 2 1/2 years ago and remembered Mr. Freeze as the best coaster. It goes from 0-70 mph in under 4 seconds. The track twists, turns, flips and then literally ends before it propells you backwards to your starting point. We were going to start there, but were disappointed (understatement) to find it was closed for maintenance. By noon, we'd completed nearly all of the major coasters. We ventured on some water rides to cool down and then were ecstatic to find that Mr. Freeze was running and were quickly on a mission to make it there before it broke again (nevermind the irrationality of that thought). On the way I pondered whether I'd set too high of expectations in Kelly's mind and was afraid I'd set him up for disappointment... my worries were put to rest when he stepped into his kid shoes and exclaimed, "let's go again" before the ride had even come to a complete rest. We ended up riding it 4 times. Our 2nd runner up was the Titan, which was built in 2001. It features a 255 foot drop and speeds in excess of 85 mph. Woohee!

We left the park at about 9:30pm and were on our way home by 10pm. Kelly drove like a champion and didn't stop for rest until 2 (Oklahoma). I took over at 4 and drove to Des Moines and we finally made it home at 3pm. Why is it that the last 150 miles feel like 500???

It is nice to be home, but we sure miss everyone. Man, it'd be great if we were all closer. We love you all and miss you!

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