Sunday, July 22, 2007

What A Terrific Weekend!!

I don't even know where to start. I met my three brothers for the first time this weekend and we had a GREAT time! I drove down to Branson Friday afternoon. Eric and Tim were already there and David was due later that evening. Eric, Tim, Sue and I went to a matinee on Friday afternoon and out for dinner that evening. David didn't get in until around 1 A.M. on Saturday morning, but we were all still waiting up for him. We stayed up, talking, until sometime around 2 A.M. Saturday morning. Saturday, we all got up and went out for breakfast at the Branson Cafe' before heading out for our hike in the Ponca Wilderness in northern Arkansas. Sue had taken Curtis and I on the hike a couple of weeks ago, but we took a different way back up the mountain this time. While we were at the bottom of the mountain, at the waterfall, we met a couple who were obviously experienced hikers. They told us that they knew a shorter way back up the mountain, but that it would be a little more steep and might require ropes to scale some of the rocks. They had already put the ropes in place, earlier in the day, with the intention of going back up that way. Tim decided that he'd go back up the same way we came down because he wanted to run back up. If I remember correctly, there may have been some sort of bet about whether or not he'd beat the rest of us to the top if we took the shortcut. About a third of the way up the mountain (after scaling the rocks that required ropes) the couple we had met up with at Hemmed-In Hollow wanted to show us a series of waterfalls that had pools of water between each fall. We all stopped and took our shoes off to wade through the pools and to climb down as far as we could. I was the last one to start down and hadn't made it very far when Eric said "I think I just broke my finger". Fortunately, I didn't see it happen. As he was climbing down, he started to slip and tried to grab onto the walls of the rocks to catch himself. In doing so, his ring finger on his left hand got caught in a hole and bent it completely sideways across his little finger. He had his wits about him much more than I would have because he grabbed the finger and popped it back into place and then removed his wedding band before it started swelling. The water we were in was ice cold, so he held that hand in the water for quite a while before we started back up. We were devising a makeshift splint when he decided that he thought he'd be fine without it and so we started making our way back to the top of the mountain again. We were never really "lost", so to speak, but there were several times that we were unsure about which way to proceed up the mountain. We finally came to a clearing and could tell that we had reached the top, but we still weren't back to the Compton Trailhead where we started. We were fairly confident that we were headed in the right direction, so we kept going. We finally reached the car around 5:30 P.M. Tim was waiting for us and said that he had made it back up in 39 minutes. The rest of us made it back to the top in roughly 2 1/2 hours. I guess you won that bet, Tim!! On the way back to Branson, we decided that we'd all go back to Sue's to start taking showers since we were meeting Curtis for dinner at Cantina Laredo on the Branson Landing. Eric and Sue took their showers first and then headed for urgent care to have them take a look at his hand. Urgent care was closed, so he decided he'd wait until morning to go back. The rest of us finished getting ready and Curtis picked me, Tim, and David up at the house so we could meet Eric and Sue at the Landing. We had a really good dinner at Cantina Laredo and then walked around Branson Landing for a while. Curtis headed back to Springfield since he would be leaving early this morning for a trip to Iowa. Tim's flight left this morning around 6:55, so he and Sue and I left around 4:30 A.M. to take him to the Springfield airport. He made it safely back to Phoenix sometime around noon (CST) today. When we got back to Branson after taking Tim to the airport, I went back to bed and Sue took Eric to urgent care. His finger wasn't broken, but one of the bones in the top of his hand was broken. The doctor said that he, most likely, pulled the finger out of socket, which put enough stress on that bone to break it. They put a splint on it, wrapped it tightly, and instructed him to see an orthopedic surgeon upon returning to Phoenix. When Sue and Eric returned from the hospital, the three of us and David left for Berryville, AR to meet my great-aunt Alice. She prepared lunch for us and was a wonderful hostess. The food was delicious and I absolutely loved visiting with her. As we were leaving, she pointed to a vase of roses on the table and said that they were for me. I came home with a beautiful bouquet of 18 various colored roses. Thank you, Aunt Alice!! You're a sweetheart! David left around 3 P.M., from Berryville, for his drive back to Chicago. Sue talked to him a couple of times after he left to make sure he was doing okay since no one got much sleep this weekend. I haven't heard from anyone yet, so I'm assuming he made it home safely. Sue, Eric, and I left Aunt Alice's house around 5:30 P.M. and drove back to Branson. I got all my things packed and loaded into the car and was on my way back home by 6:30 P.M. Eric's flight leaves from Springfield tomorrow at noon, so he and Sue will be stopping by tomorrow morning to pick me up for breakfast so I can say goodbye to him before he leaves. Despite Eric breaking his hand, I think we all had a pretty good time this weekend. I'm so glad to have found them and to have met them and I hope to continue to have contact with all of them. Hopefully, I can meet their families sometime soon. Below is a link to some of the pictures I took this weekend. Most of them were taken on our hike. There is a group photo that Curtis took of all of us at the Branson Landing and a couple of photos of me and Aunt Alice. Isn't she beautiful? I'm going to close for now. It's getting late and it's been an exciting, but exhausting weekend.

http://www.kodakgallery.com/I.jsp?c=nos1qyw.38d9owww&x=0&h=1&y=lz0f7a

1 comment:

Joni said...

That's so awesome. I thought of you and wondered how things were going several times this weekend. The pictures are great, too.

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