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Westward Ho: Day Four

Lloyd, Melvin, Metta, Philip, Eunice, Iola, Ralph. I think I’ve gotten that right. Pictured on the right is Aunt Iola. IOLA. As in eye-o-luh. Unfortunate, don’t you think? She was a towering imposition of a woman, scared Uncle John when he was little, she never married, and was always pestering my grandpa about being as likable and handsome as he was — she just called

him a show-off. I think she was a little bitter. But this picture of her…I could stare at it for hours. Her eyes are just full of indignation. Could be because she was in a play about gypsies and she was still in character…but still, I think there’s something to it.

So a night on the floor on couch cushions made me feel like a brand new woman, especially after a cup of coffee brought to me at my low level and a good massage from mom upon waking. Sleeping on the floor without complaining brings all sorts of happy rewards. But really, I do like the floor. There’s something primitive about it, even though it is carpeted and it’s on the fifth floor of a concrete building.

We all had breakfast together in the lobby and I sustained the usual teasing and beating from Big Cousin Wade. As I returned to the table and discovered that my full plate had been replaced with Wade’s empty plate, and then later when he threatened the borders of my half-waffle, I remarked that I felt like I was eight years old again. The difference is that now I get more tickled at him than plain mad. Later at dinner this evening, he would continue to plague me with little smart (funny) remarks and lemon rinds in my tortillas and hard pinches on the collarbone, but we all know that it’s all in love….rIght?

Aunt Marion (my mom’s cousin) has taken what must have been insane amounts of time — truly, I can’t imagine how long she’s been at this — and has compiled binders of writings, letters, photos and miscellany on each and every Norberg sibling! And on Oskar and Emily Norberg as well (the patriarch and matriarch)! We are all dropping our jaws at how she could have accomplished this. The reading is fascinating. Journeys from the coast of Norway, very sad accidental deaths, experiencing the dust bowl, the Great Depression and grasshopper plagues, the disassembling and reassembling of old Indian motorcycles, the list goes onandonadnonandon. I have a stack next to my bed for homework, especially since we are headed to see Aunt Eunice tomorrow (she’s on the top of the stack). Uncle Lloyd was stationed at Camp Meigs in 1918. This is him.

Handsome devil.

We ended our evening with dinner at a moderately enjoyable Mexican restaurant. All I’ll say is that they’re on the map enough that they sell their salsa in grocery stores. And it is, hands way down, the saltiest salsa I’ve ever put in my mouth. Dad took a bite before I did and said “I guarantee that’s the saltiest salsa you’ve ever eaten.” And indeed, dad was right. I told him they should rename it ‘saltsa.’

AAAAHHHHHHHhahaha!! I had a good laugh, even if no one else did. But it was manageable, given the icy cold Fat Tire microbrew I was nursing. This is one of my favorite beers, only available out in the West. I think they brew in Colorado somewhere. Mom accidentally called it Flat Tire once and we still laugh.

As is obvious from my rambling, the night has gotten late without me noticing. It’s sleepytime. ‘Night.


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