Today, I finally found my way out of the hugeness of Texas and into Oklahoma. If the app I've been using is correct, I only have two measly Facebook friends in the Sooner State. One of them was unavailable, though, so my hope for a decent time while in the state became the sole responsibility of C, a guy that was nice enough, but that I hadn't had any contact with in 19 years. He was also the last stop on my second extended road trip of this journey. Four weeks of travel had left me feeling weary, dirty, bloated, and very, very ready to be home. My body might have caused my car to take the Tulsa exit off of the freeway, but my mind was still heading north, back toward the friendly confines of Bloomington, Minnesota.
C didn't care, though. I like to think that he was prepared for my lack of initial enthusiasm and ready to take immediate corrective action to force me into having the best time ever whether I wanted to or not. That's probably inaccurate though. More likely, it was a combination of him being unaware that I so badly wanted to be home mixed with a little bet of "meh." Whatever it was, my mood changed quickly once I arrived. C was partly to blame, but I also think the entire family had a lot to do with that. This journey has given me exposure to quite a few families, some of them "better" than others, and C's is right there at the top.
I liked them all individually (very much so, actually), but I liked them even more as members of their family. C's wife / my new Facebook friend was terrific, their son was adorable, and their daughter . . . well, she didn't really seem to care that I was around. The dog growled at me a bit, but I think her heart was in the right place. The cat, of course, hated me, but that's just the norm for me nowadays. No hard feelings. Besides, I felt love, concern, and a sense of teamwork within their home. And while it kind of made me more excited to get back to my family, it also made me slow down and enjoy the experience of being with them, rather than trying to just get through it, as I might have anticipated doing when I first rolled into Tulsa.
Looking back on the Facebook friends that I have visited, I sometimes feel a little guilty. They are so generous with what they knowingly provide me (e.g. dinner and a couch), but I also take away so much from them perhaps without their knowledge or permission. They make me think, they make me feel, and they make me live. I try to learn something, to grow, and/or become better daily through the interactions that I'm having with my Facebook friends. Some days are a struggle, especially when, for various reasons, I'm just not feeling it. Other days, though, are wonderful, even when I'm not up to the task. That was the case for me with C and the family. I might not have been up for it, but they were, and I'm so glad for it. Whether they knew / intended it or not, on Day 88, they saved me.