After a harried few days of social activity and packing, I am on the road.
It is always tough to say goodbye to Aunt Olla, as she is 102 years old. I stopped at the Hilton this morning, and it took a while for my departure to sink in.
Aunt Olla doesn't skirt the issue.
"So, do you think I'll die before you come home?"
I said I didn't think so.
"Time goes fast," she said, recovering her optimism.
I don't want to exaggerate my importance, but it is both reassuring and sad to be missed by somebody that old.
However, we've been having the same conversation every winter since she was 90.
Aunt Olla is in good hands as my sister is home and takes great care of her, to say nothing of the great staff at the Hilton.
Olla started listing them.
"Well, I still have Truman!" she said of one of her favorite nurses.
But, she confided, Truman, who is male, has apparently been overthrown by female staff.
"The women are in charge here now," she said, ruefully. Not even the owner of the Hilton, Barry, has escaped unscathed by the revolution.
"He's a nice guy, but once the women take over..." Olla's voice trailed off.
This is a change of tune from earlier in the week when Olla was reminiscing about how lucky she was to be raised in a household without a father.
"The neighbor kids always came to our house and stayed until four in the morning playing cards because Mama didn't care."
"If we had some old Norwegian dad in the house like everybody else, it would have been no fun at all."
She also added that her Dad, who died at age 40, leaving seven kids and a 35 year-old wife, wasn't much of a businessman and they wouldn't have hung onto the farm if Mama hadn't been forced to manage it by his death.
Yes, all things work out for the best!