We left Tampa on Thursday evening and drove to Cartersville, Georgia (north of Tampa) where we spent the night. After showering and eating breakfast we loaded up and were on our way to Kentucky, but not before taking a few moments to breath in the fall air and briefly discuss the perfection of the weather. We arrived in Prestonsburg around 4:00 p.m. and immediately went to Dairy Cheer, of course, for a Cherry Pepsi and an order of cheese bits (for those of you who don't know Dairy Cheer has the best fountain drinks you will find anywhere and who doesn't love fried cheddar cheese). We then went to pick my granny Betty up and were off to the hospital to visit my grandfather. We were able to meet up with my sister, Chris, and Braxton at the hospital which was a real blessing. Children can and do brighten any situation, which was the case for my grandfather when Braxton arrived. He smiled and laughed and smiled and laughed. Although brief, he was able to forget the pain and suffering for a few moments.
Saturday we prepared for our Leslie family cookout at my granny Hester's. It was a beautiful fall day with lots of sunshine and little humidity. Many of my cousins had to miss the cookout this year, but it was refreshing to see, hug, and converse with those who came. Braxton had started walking the week before, so it was fun to watch him roam about with my second cousin Avery.
Sunday morning the weather was overcast and rainy, but I was still excited to get out of the house and go to church. Each time were home I look forward
to walking through the doors of Community United Methodist Church, because I know I am going to get more hugs, smiles, and hellos from people I have known since I was a young child. Plus, I got to hear my sister and Chris sing "In Christ Alone" and we were able to participate in the Lord's Supper which is always a blessing. After church we enjoyed Bar-b-cue with my Aunt Sandy, Uncle Brian, cousin Colby, and my dad. I was able to see my best friend from high school Sarah and her children for about an hour. They live in Danville, Kentucky but were home for a family reunion, as well.
Sunday night we ate dinner at the Compton's. I grew up babysitting Trevor and Julie, but at this point in my life they are more like my surrogate family. We always laugh a lot, eat a lot, talk a lot, and play a lot.
Monday we spent the morning with my family and my granny Betty before going to the hospital. We were able to visit my grandfather each day, but today was the most difficult. He cried, I cried, Sam cried, and then we cried some more. It was hard to leave him as each time I wonder if I will see him again. My grandfather has been the patriarch of our family. He is the strongest individual I know. The amount of courage he has shown during his fight against cancer is indescribable. Our visit was a time to cherish, but extremely painful.
We finished our trip with one more visit to my granny Hester's. As usual, it was an entertaining, fun, and encouraging visit.
I love my family and look forward to seeing them again soon!!! I also look forward to our late October visit to Lexington. Fall should be in full swing, which will be a real treat!!