In the mornings on last year’s Route 66 Trip sometimes some of us would go get coffees and deliver them to the other sixtahs in their hotel rooms. One morning Trudi had marked my styrofoam cup with only “Good M.” as the pen’s ink ran out before she could write “Good Morning” in its entirety. From then on we loved the simplicity…What is it about receiving a steaming cup of coffee in a styrofoam cup etched with “Good M?” You feel loved. That’s all.
And there we were again last night at The Shake Pit under another “Good M.” Again it was the simplicity of it that resonated. People took time from their lives to come see Patty. We filled up on a hometown brew of steaming love…and a milkshake or two.
It’s the little things. The Sixtahs are about to fill up again and again on that remarkable thing that we really cannot name, but we will call kindness…
A woman we’d never met introduced herself as Sharon and told us she’d brought us something from our friend in Illinois. Our friend in Illinois? Could it be? Our very own Ellie? We’d met Ellie Alexander at Pontiac, Illinois last July on our Route 66 Trip. I don’t remember who had contacted her, but prior to our Route 66 trip she’d heard of us and reached out somehow, and our first morning out of Chicago we drove up and greeted this delightful gal who is the Tourism Director for Pontiac, Illinois. She gave us a tour of the Route 66 Museum in Pontiac and then invited us to have lunch with her and the town’s Mayor….Mayor BOB!
Ellie sent a friend to our Send Off Party last night at The Shake Pit here in Bradenton, Florida with gifts and love from Pontiac Illinois! We couldn’t believe it. Kindness above and beyond the call of duty, Ellie. We were speechless…but that didn’t stop us from squealing and screeching our excitement. Well played dear friend. Well played.
Vin Mannix was our emcee and has shown us such support through our Route 66 trip and also this trip…
Vin’s fabulous…and check out our Patty! That girl had had chemo the day prior. YEP. She’s one in a million. Actually more accurately, she’s “in the 4% to 9%” as she calls it. She told us that the SEND OFF PARTY date was the actual FIVE YEAR anniversary of her diagnosis with (Inoperable) Pancreatic Cancer. Of course she ended up responding very well to her first chemo doses and WAS able to have surgery shortly thereafter…but this puts her in an elite group of only approximately 7% of folks who are diagnosed with Pancreatic Cancer and reach their Five Year Survival Date from diagnosis. That’s our girl.
…The Manatee High School Sugar ‘Cane dance team supported us YET AGAIN with a lovely performance…we do love those SUGARS! And our esteemed Mayor Poston took time to join us and tell us how proud he is of our girl.
Patty V made us cute luggage tags because, gosh darn it, why not?
They’ll be adorable on our Route 66 backpacks from last year! And our friend Lyn gave us “sporknifs” which basically are a spoon, fork and knife all in one! This will make snacking much MUCH easier in the backseat of Sparky II, thanks Lynster! My friend Maureen set us up with an insulated snack bag…you know how Jean likes to eat…and Patti’s friends Jamie and Julie gave us travel essentials like…wait for it…a palm-sized tequila bottle. Obviously this will fit perfectly in our first-aid pack, right Nurse Jean? Jean gifted us with a travel pack of BeautyCounter Essentials…we can’t let ourselves go TOO MUCH on this primarily-yoga-pants trip. I’m sure you’ll “hear” more about our FLARP gift as I write from the road, ahem…
Last night our friends and families and community gathered to give us the gift of their presence. We learned last year on Route 66 to step back and watch, and yet again we saw how truly lovely people can be.
Connie H joined us looking beautiful and gorgeously healthy. Last year she had just received her Stage 4 Lung Cancer Diagnosis when she contacted us to wish us well before we left. Her chemo began the day of our SEND OFF party last year.
Linda K stopped by to wish us well and to give Patty a hug. Linda has recently had a double mastectomy in her successful and powerful battle against breast cancer! Go Linda! You’re amazing!
So many came to surround us with full support…
And Father Tom from St. Joseph’s Parrish shared a blessing that truly touched us all and left a couple of sniffles and tears in its wake…
Tomorrow we fly to Chicago…we land and drive to an old hometown of the Callaghan girls’…Highland Park, Illinois just outside of Chicago. Steve Miller Band performed “Jet Airliner” in Highland Park back in 2007
Patty’s words at the SEND OFF: https://youtu.be/lhclxhGuskM
Sugar Canes dance: https://youtu.be/i6LQh6totuc
Father Tom’s Blessing:
Merciful and loving God,
Protect the beautiful Sixty Sixtahs who are getting ready to depart on their Mississippi River Adventure.
Walk by their side to help them; be their compassion and their strength as they travel on the road and their refuge in every adversity.
Lead them, O Lord, so that they will reach their destination in safety and happily return to their homes.
Bless Trudi, the travel agent on this trip.
Bless Julie, the PR and media coordinator.
Bless Patti, the crazy limo driver.
Bless Jane, the fashion stylist.
Bless Jean, the nurse.
Bless Patty, the boss and inspiration of this entire journey.
Bless also Sparky II, their wonderful van.
Be with them as they visit and inspire children at St. Jude’s Hospital in Memphis, when they visit the King in Graceland, watch the Cardinals beat the Milwaukee Brewers in St. Louis, and enjoy the sunset in Muscatine, Iowa.
Watch over them as they finish the journey with a few drinks in New Orleans.
Lord, you have kept Patty strong and safe for so long through your love and grace, through her loving family and amazing friends. Command your angels to keep them from any danger and bring them safely home. We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.