An open letter to my Mom recalling taking my Dad to Columbia, Missouri as well as Kansas and making some memories. For the first time in my life I saw a town my family once called home.
“A truly rich man is one whose children run into his arms when his hands are empty.”
“Noble fathers have noble children.”
University of Missouri
I wanted to let you know that we took Dad to Columbia, Missouri and also visited Kansas as well. We did this from October 5, to October 13. Cheryl and I discussed this in the past and we decided to take Dad to Columbia. After all you know how much he spoke of wanting to visit Columbia. And with Dad’s brain tumor we decided to do it right away. I want Dad to have a high quality of life and to do things he has always wanted to do. As he wants to travel I want to help him travel and see the places and sights he always wanted to see. For me Mom, this trip was all about Dad. In the end he was happy, so I therefore am happy. At your wake I promised you that I will take care of Dad and this is that coming to fruition.
Here’s how the trip went. We arrived in Kansas City, Missouri on October 5, 2018. We stayed in a Residence Inn near the airport. Cheryl and I helped Dad get settled and I took care of all the luggage, which was not much. We used the first day to settle in and allow Dad to relax. We took him to mass and then we went to Strouds. Strouds is an amazing place in Kansas City and also an institution. Strouds is known for its fried chicken which is what I had. Dad ordered a fried pork chop and then saw Cheryl’s fried chicken and ate most of it. Cheryl sat there looking at him. It was funny. On Sunday we drove to Columbia, Missouri and visited. We found the house you and Dad lived on Meadow Lark lane. The place has changed a lot since 1969 and 1972. The horse farm across the way is gone. Other houses have been built. We then spent two days at the University of Missouri. We went through the medical school and found Dad’s pictures in the deans office from when he worked there. Then we went to Shakesphere’s Pizza which is an institution in Columbia. It opened up shortly after you left Columbia in 1972. Dad had a good time and enjoyed it. We got to the motel and spent the night. The following day we explored the University of Missouri campus. The picture I took above is one of the many that I took on the campus. Its of the Missouri columns which is a part of Missouri lore as you know. Cheryl, Dad and I had lunch at the student union. The soup was good but Dad had a good time. I picked up a Missouri sweatshirt and a couple of t-shirts. Walking around Missouri Mom I felt like it was an amazing campus to attend school. Cheryl recognized someone she knew from Northwestern who published a book through Missouri’s history department. We took Dad to a steakhouse called CC’s City Broiler.
Afterward we drove back to Kansas City. A couple of days later we drove to Abilene, Kansas and saw the Eisenhower Museum. Dad had a good time and for dinner we went to the Brookville Hotel which had some good fried chicken. Dad was disappointed that he couldn’t get wine there. Afterward we stayed in a Holiday Inn Express. The following morning I grabbed breakfast with James. You remember James you used to ask about him regularly? He worked for Kansas Senator Jerry Moran and arranged a tour for you of the Capitol. Dad went through the Eisenhower Museum and then we went to Cozi Inn and had hamburgers. Cozi Inn is the top place in Kansas to grab a burger. You know what Mom, I can’t believe how many times I have been to Kansas and Missouri these past few years. Its almost become kind of a second home in a way. California, Montana and Wisconsin will always be first, but Missouri and Kansas has grown on me. James came by at Cozi and said hi to us and wished me well. It was hard to see him go Mom. Afterward we drove back to Kansas City and called it a day. The following day we went to the national World War I museum and had a good time. Dad loved all the military equipment and hardware. He had a goof time. We ate at Kansas City Union Station. That is a neat railroad station Mom. The following morning we went to the Truman Library and Dad enjoyed it as well. On the last evening there we went to V’s which is an Italian restaurant. You would have loved it. You would have liked the food. You crossed my mind at each place we were at.
Dad was happy. And I am happy that he is happy. He wanted to travel and I wanted to be a good son and honor and take care of him. Some days were good. He came out one night and told me I needed to get to bed. I felt bad and immediately went to bed. But he had a couple of hard days where I had to help dress him. But I love Dad and for my father I will do anything. What made the trip hard Mom is the fact that you were not there. I wish we could have done some of these trips and seen some of these places and traveled with you. As said I told you I would take care of Dad and I will carry that promise Mom. Dad is first in my thoughts frequently and he is the reason why all this is being done.
Well I love you Mom, and just wanted to get this off my chest.