My family called me in Krasnoyarsk (about 1000 km from Irkutsk) and said I better get home right away.. luckily it was a town big enough to have a decent airport.
After many close calls over the last couple of years, this one looked like it was final. My brother and sister put the phone up to Dad's ear a few hours earlier and I got to speak to him. They said he heard me and did react to my conversation.. it is comforting to know that he most likely understood me.
After a very long flight to Indiana, I was reunited with my family.. Hard to believe my Dad is no longer there, but if there is anything I know, he was there in spirit.
I was lucky to have the best Dad anyone could ask for. He started with nothing and built a very successful business.. he and Mom worked so hard every day merely to give so much to our family. And I enjoy an amazing life now because of all they gave me.
It was Dad who sparked my interest in motorcycles.. I remember many Sunday's on the back of his Honda Goldwing.. the best!!
He loved that I was traveling so far on a motorcycle, and I like to think that now he can travel with me..
I spent 2 weeks in Indiana..really enjoying time with my family.
I arrived on the Labor Day weekend, so there was nothing we could do for funeral planning at that time. My brother and family invited me on their already planned day out to Sweetwater Lake, a local favorite.
Enjoyed watching my nieces and nephews play in the lake just as I did only a few years ago ;-) seems like yesterday!
Never go past an opportunity for a good cannonball..
And tubing! I used to be a champion tuber! Joey and Sammy battle it out.. I traveled back from Russia without my swimsuit or I would've taken them on.. wink! ;-)
We tried hard to dump Joey (the nephew still on the tube) by boat, and it was impossible. He came out of that lake with dry hair! Can't believe it, we'll get him next time.
Molley on the other hand got wet hair even without the tube..
Back to the other side of town, and after school activities. These are very important for learning don't you know!!
Another crazy Wilkins adventurer in the making...
My brother's vehicle of choice is a super size leaf blower.
Again to the other side of town to see other niece and nephew, Julia and Jack.. I think Julia missed her calling as a Hawaiin Hula dancer!
Julia is still dancing..!!
And to top it off, a final farewell dinner at my sister's house on an open fire - my favorite! Including wonderful toasted marshmallows and S'mores. Summer time in Indiana.. I have not experienced in many years, since each time I return to visit from Australia is at Christmas - and very cold.
So there you go, a little look at the Wilkins family and my father's legacy, his grandchildren! There is certainly a bit of John F. in each of them!