“Oh, you were in Bellingham? Did you do anything fun?” Her voice reflected a smile. She looked ahead out the front window as she sat in the shot-gun seat.
“Yeah. Sunday we took Grandma on a three or four hour car ride…”
“Three or four hours?” She demanded, whipping to look directly at me over her left shoulder.
I hadn’t finished my thought. “Yeah – about three or four.”
“That’s a long car ride for – how old is she?”
“Um… late 80-something.”
I started to feel a little guilty about my part in the torture of Grandma when everyone in the carpool began chiming in about older people and how even for young people three or four hours in a car is a long time. In my defense though, she wanted to go on a car ride and her son was driving; she’s the one who taught him how to drive! Despite the lengthy drive, or probably due to the length, we covered a lot of ground in Whatcom County.
We began by driving to Greenwood Cemetery on Wiser Lake Road, off the Guide Meridian, next to the fire station. Apparently my great-great-grandmother (my grandma’s father’s mother) resides at Greenwood. She died in the early 1920s before Grandma and I were born. I’d never heard of her, nor had my grandma any recollection of her (remember, she died before we were born), but my dad had heard from his sister about her and decided it would be interesting for us to visit. The cemetery was easy to find and turned out to be a very tranquil and peaceful place. The place had a friendly neighborhood feel to it, and a number of dogs with their walkers passed through. Along with my ancestor, men from early wars and more currently deceased people are buried at Greenwood. Apparently the notables number a large enough collection to warrant a monthly tour of the plots. Every last Saturday of the month at 3:00 you can take “A Walk Back in Time.” Not being able to find great-great-grandmother Anna during our short visit means my dad wants to return.
As we drove back to the Guide, we almost passed a gravel drive with public access to Wiser Lake. I stopped Dad in time, and we pulled in.
“Why are we stopping here?” He asked as the car gently bumped along.
“Grandma and Uncle Fred used to go row boating out here on Wiser Lake.” That’s why.
“Mom, did you and Uncle Fred boat on Wiser Lake?” Grandma heard him, his voice deeper than mine.
“Oh yes!” Her eyes brightened as she began to recount happy summer days with her big brother.
After surveying the lake, we continued on. Back on the road, we contemplated where to go next. After stopping for a brief visit with my dad’s cousin, we decided to head out to Lummi Nation and maybe get dinner out there. On the island there is a diner my dad and grandma have enjoyed before. I had only seen the photos text to me while they enjoyed the hearty fare. It took us a little while to drive out to the Lummi Nation, but we enjoyed the rural scenery.
When we arrived at the ferry dock, we were the third car in line. As time passed more cars pulled up. We began getting nervous. Grandma needed to be home around 7:00 p.m. It got later and later, and finally we looked the ferry schedule up online. When we discovered the ferry wouldn’t load until 6:10 p.m., we decided to skip the ferry ride and just sail home.
It was a good decision. By time we drove back to Bellingham, stopped for dinner at a Wendy’s and arrived at Grandma’s assisted living home, it was nearly 7:30 p.m., and Grandma was quite tired.
While it all may have exhausted Grandma, when we saw her the next day, she was back to her chipper lively self. I bet she slept well that night!