12/24/06 It’s Christmas Eve as I’m writing this, and I’m in an I-HOP (God bless them for having wireless) Denison, Texas. I’ll be visiting with my parents (who live in Kemp, Oklahoma, where I set Red River Fever) until the day after Christmas. It is the first Christmas Eve and Christmas Day I’ve not shared with my children. I’m here because of the duties of progeny, me being the firstborn and all. Last week, my father was taken to the emergency room at the VA hospital in Bonham. They sent him by ambulance to Dallas. Had a nasty virus that nearly did him in. My mother was very sick too—too sick to drive to DalIas, so after he stabilized, I picked him up at the VA in Dallas yesterday and brought him back to his Red River Valley home in Kemp, Oklahoma. The night before I had worked a DJ job with my friend and fellow musician Tom McClandlish, and I didn’t get home until 3:30 A.M. I rose at 6:00 A.M. and hit Interstate 20. After I worked through the initial sense of exhaustion, the adrenalin kicked in, and I ran on that until I went to sleep last night around 11:00 P. M. I finally found my father’s room and arranged for his discharge. Thankfully, both parents are much better today. I just couldn’t leave them alone, sick, during Christmas. Some events and crises teach you things. This trip has tutored me, but I feel as I though I’ve been schooled by a heavy-handed Irish schoolmaster who pounds his students until they pay attention and get it right. Perhaps I’ll write my thoughts concerning those lessons in another entry.
I intend to use my time well—not only to fulfill my sonly duties, but to read, do some writing I’ve put off, and some much-needed thinking.