Getting back to our Florida to Kansas City – house fire – back to Florida – back to Kansas city – and – everything – in – between journey (yeah, I know). In chronicling my family’s seemingly infinite trek, go back and read my entry RESTORATION which wrapped up the house fire saga from 2013…for the most part.
On the surface I’ll quickly note that we moved from Florida to Kansas City in 2009, moved back to Florida in July 2015 and as of June 2017 we landed back in Kansas City. But before I go into how the last few years transpired, I feel a retelling of how we came to Kansas City in the first place is in order.
In the summer of 2002, a typical hot and muggy Florida evening, I heeded the call from my wife across the house as she suddenly needed her purse. To this day I don’t recall the specific reason for the sense of urgency, only that there was one and I was called to the rescue.
We had just recently installed Pergo flooring throughout the house. It turned out rather well aesthetically and its functionality was ideal for our living room. Every bit of our furniture had felt on the bottom. We were able to rearrange it all simply by sliding the pieces around on the smooth faux wood laminate; no heavy lifting. But the slick surface had other purposes as well.
With purse in hand, I began the sprint to save the day from our bedroom to the other side of the house where Shanti was sitting at our computer. As I turned from the living room into the hallway, I experienced the Pergo’s icy surface in all its glory. Mobile furniture and a sprained ankle were the sustainable byproducts. I could hear dramatic music in my head as I limped the rest of the way to deliver the purse. I recall the event occurring in slow motion…but that might just be in my head.
Fast forward two weeks – I was running, umm…err, I mean limping down a flight of stairs on my way to work. Late and in a hurry, attempting to compensate for my bad ankle I succeeded in stumbling on the steps and sprained my remaining good ankle. Fortunately for me smart phones and Instagram didn’t exist then – at that point I was a member of the “Ministry of Silly Walks”.
Three weeks later I was eating chicken parmigiana while talking on the phone with my Mom. In a multi-tasking failure, I began a sentence while shoving a piece of chicken in my mouth…without chewing it. It became lodged in my throat and a choking incident immediately followed. You try talking on the phone, eating dinner, patting your head and rubbing your stomach simultaneously.
My mother-in-law happened to be present, she gave me the Heimlich while Shanti frantically attempted to call 911. She couldn’t get a dial tone because the phone wouldn’t disconnect from the conversation from my mother. She was finally able to make the call, but not until the piece of chicken catapulted from my mouth. And yes, it really happens that way. While I was fine I was of course terrified by the moment to say the least. I didn’t really want to go out that way.
Two weeks LATER, I received a greeting card from my Grandma Irene. Being the godly matriarch of our family she wanted to check in. She did so frequently to family members, and after hearing I had recently sprained both ankles and nearly choked on chicken parmigiana she wanted to let me know she was praying for me over my mishaps.
Six years LATER, on October 15, 2008 Grandma Irene passed away. Our family was crushed, but we knew it was God’s timing and she had lived a long and fruitful life following Jesus as much as humanly possible.
It had been years since I’d been to Ohio where we made a summer trip each year to visit Grandma, Grandpa and other family members. It was obviously bittersweet to make a return to the Dayton area for a funeral. The bitter greatly outweighed the sweet since the funeral was for Grandma.
The weather on the day before the services was rather apropos. It was cold and rainy; gray was the color of the day. We spent a portion of the day driving around the backroads of town with my mother, my uncle and other relatives. Needless to say it was a quiet drive as we each gazed out the window at the rolling hills – each lamenting and reminiscing about Grandma. Fond memories were conjured up from our Ohio summers. Some memories were so overwhelming that I envisioned moving my family to Ohio. We had wanted to move out of Florida for a while, and I loved the landscape and seasons of Ohio. But I convinced myself that the sentiments were driving those thoughts.
When I woke on the day of the funeral, the rain had cleared to beautiful blue skies teamed with crisp autumn temperatures. I arrived at the funeral home rather early that day, ahead of extended family. As I entered the building I grabbed a decorative funeral notice from a table at the entrance. The cover had a stock photo of sunlight shining down on a park bench that sat amidst an array of colors in a floral garden. As I opened it I saw a picture of Grandma and had to close it immediately; the occular flood gates were about to open wide.
I had stuffed the paper in my jacket pocket until reaching the hotel later that night. Before taking off my jacket I removed it from my pocket and randomly slid it into my Bible. That was Tuesday October 21, 2008.
On Wednesday October 22 I flew back home to Tampa, Fl. En route from the airport to our home Shanti called and informed me that she had just been offered a transfer to a position in Kansas City. It was official, the gamut of emotions had been run over the last few days. KANSAS CITY??!! Where did that come from?
It seemed odd that we had been seeking a way out of Florida for a year or so. Denver was first on our list. But in October of 2008, the housing bubble had burst and the economy was in the tank. There was no way we could pull off a move anywhere far from Tampa on our own. So Kansas City fell on our plate out of nowhere. We knew this was something we had to pray about. So we did.
Two days LATER on a Friday evening my dog barked in the middle of the night.
TO BE CONTINUED…
Peace forgive me -and blessings!