Friday, July 14, 2006

Back to life as usual

Well it has been a crazy week. I left town with Papa and Andrew on Thursday to go up to Lone Pine. We stayed till Sunday. During this time, Mum tried to work out funeral arrangements, with the help of Uncle Stan, who arrived last Friday, and these were finalized once my mom finally heard from Uncle Vernon and found out he was coming. The funeral was set for Wednesday the 12th.

We got home on Sunday night around 7 (minus Mom, who stayed behind to continue taking care of the last things that needed to be dealt with, like going through stuff, clearing things up with the bank, and so on) and then left for Lone Pine again around noon on Tuesday. Thus I worked Monday night, the first day I'd worked since Grandpa died. Fortunately, nobody treated me differently in a major way (they expressed their condolences and that was it) which was nice. Sometimes people go out of their way to be nice to you right after a death, I think, and I'd rather not have that. I just want life to go on.

Wednesday was the funeral, held in the burning mid-morning sun at the Mt. Whitney Cemetery just outside of Lone Pine, where Grandma is also buried. Fortunately, we family members got to sit under a canopy, so we had shade. The funeral was military-style, as Grandpa had asked for in his last wishes, and thus the pomp and ceremony was primarily handled by the VFW (Veterans of Foreign Wars) post. Barbara (Grandpa's 2nd wife) was the only one really crying. Anissa (her daughter-in-law) looked like she was a little bit, but not much.

After the funeral, there was a luncheon at the VFW. All of us family, except Barbara, sat together: Mum, Dad, Andrew, me, Uncle Stan, Uncle Vernon, and Barbara's son Frank, his wife Anissa, and their kids Jereth and J Lin. (Barbara was sitting with friends in the bar area). The Auxiliary ladies and the local restaurant The Totem Cafe provided the food. It was very good. I had a piece of chicken, some cold pasta, a roll, and a piece of cake for dessert. I also had Diet Pepsi (since they had soda for those who didn't drink alcohol) which I had to order from the bar.

Our plans for after that were that Mum and Papa were going to go to Independence (the county seat, about 15 miles away) to get a copy of Grandpa's death certificate to give to his bank so they could deal with his CD (which I think is a retirement account). But they found out they couldn't get the certificate until the next day after 2 pm. So we tried to figure out what to do. We all went back to my Grandpa's house after a bit.

I left not long after though. This was because my Uncle Vernon, being equally without something to do, wanted to go see Manzanar, which is only a few miles away from Lone Pine. Manzanar is one of the 10 internment camps where Japanese and Japanese-Americans were taken during World War II. Uncle Stan was going to go with him (even though he'd already been there) and I decided I wanted to go too. After all, it beat sitting around with Barbara watching Hallmark Channel or "M*A*S*H."

So we went, and it was very interesting (and hot weather-wise). We looked around the visitors' center, and then watched a 20-minute film they show there called Remembering Manzanar (which you can buy on DVD at the gift shop, by the way). Then we looked around the gift shop, where I bought a $1 copy of the first edition of the Manzanar Free Press, the paper put out by people interned in Manzanar. Afterwards, we hopped back in the car and drove the auto route past the signs showing where certain places in Manzanar used to be. We stopped to look at what had been a Japanese-style garden at one point. Only some concrete, where the water would've flowed into the big pond, remains. Then we got back in the car and drove some more until we got to the marble monument in the cemetery, and there we got out and walked around some more. Then we left, and Uncle Stan dropped me off at the hotel (and then Uncle Vernon, who was staying at the same hotel), assuming my parents (who had gone off on some errand or something shortly before we left for Manzanar) would be there. Unfortunately, they were not there, so I called my mom on my cell and she told me to wait there and that my dad would come and let me in the hotel room, which he did shortly after. It felt good to feel A/C after walking around in the burning heat at Manzanar.

That night I spent partly by myself at the hotel, until my dad picked me up to go to my grandpa's house, since we were ordering pizza. Frank and his family came over too and we all sat around the living room having pizza (though my parents eventually sat out on the front step). J Lin, who had had a bit too much sugar at the funeral luncheon (soda plus 2 slices of cake) was very hyper, to the point of annoying nearly everyone she encountered. Jereth and I got a chance to talk, and I found out we like a lot of the same things, such as reading, Harry Potter, Teen Titans, etc. It was fun.

Thursday morning around 9:30 Andrew and I left, since Andrew wanted to be home for his passing league game. We only made one stop, at a truck stop near Adelanto, a town with very few houses but a rather large police station (it looks like they took a Motel 6 and converted it into a police station). The truck stop is one large black-painted stucco building with the words "Open 24 hours TACOCHAN" painted on it in white letters and some gas pumps out front. It houses a sit-down Mexican restaurant with vinyl-upholstered booths, a room with arcade games in it, a mini-mart, 2 somewhat out-of-place massage chairs (where you must pay $5 to get massaged for like 15 minutes), and 2 really nice bathrooms.

It was a nice place to stop. It beats Pearsonville. Pearsonville isn't even really a town. It's a few buildings, a water tank that says "Pearsonville: Hub Cap Capital of the World," and a truck stop/gas station with a Burger King. That's all.

We made good time, despite having to detour off Mapquest's directions due to construction on the offramp onto this one freeway we were supposed to get on. We got home right around 2 p.m.

I was gonna write more but I am too tired. More later.

No comments: