The Fourth started out with the traditional pancake breakfast at the church. I love that everyone pitches in and it is just a fun, social morning. This year they had two kids play taps, one behind a curtain on the stage and the other behind a curtain across the room. That was cool!
After the breakfast, I went home and clean up the house a bit and packed for the next few days. At noon, I ran to Alisa's and spent the next hour + visiting and eating a patriotic lunch. I love her family and just hanging out.
At 2pm, after getting gas, I headed out for the farm. My Uncle owns a 55 acre farm in Arkansas and we LOVE going there. It is laid back, peaceful, tons of animals and absolutely gorgeous. I picked up Ryan along the way and since we were taking the southern route, we decided to take the Talhamina Drive. Talhamina Drive is a pretty famous 58 miles scenic route between Oklahoma and Arkansas. It is an old road along the top of a mountain ridge and every few miles or so has these unbelievable vista points where you can see for hundreds of miles. I have done it a couple of times and I thought Ryan had too but when he started to see the vistas, he was blown away so I guess he hadn't gone that way before. So, so beautiful. I recommend it anytime except winter (way too dangerous if you can't see the road) but I especially recommend it in the fall. The drive is aflame of color and it is magnificient.
We stopped at 4 or 5 vistas before we decided to drive a bit faster and skip a few to get to Arkansas before dark. Just after we made that decision we turned a corner and were flagged down by a teenage girl with some kids on the side of the road. The mom showed up as soon as I stopped and the dad a few minutes later. There were 5 kids and they all looked exhausted and a bit worn out. They were camping 8 or 9 miles away and had been hiking all day in 100 degree heat. One of the kids was experiencing heat exhaustion and another had a twisted ankle. After making a wrong turn, they were almost out of water and over 8 miles from home with only 3 hours of light left. They had just had a family meeting and decided that the dad was going to walk back for the truck while they waited along side the road. And then we showed up - the only car either of us had seen on the drive. We were able to drive the father back to their campsite and discovered one of the most beautiful camp grounds in OK that I never knew existed! Thinking about it later, I never had any hesitation in helping these strangers. Not only was a calm about a strange man being in my car in the middle of nowhere, but I actually felt the spirit telling me to help them. I felt that warm, joyful, happy, excited feeling.
After dropping off the father and making sure the family would be ok, we continued on to our relatives farm in Arkansas and had a fabulous long weekend with family. I will miss this. I wish all of my favorite places and people could all be in one location.
Happy 4th of July