There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear … 1 John 4:18a
When we moved to the house in Willard, we set Grandma Simpson up in the bigger motel room, but after Jonathan and Nicolle moved out, Mom came up with the idea of reopening the motel … not just as a motel, but as a quasi bed-and-breakfast. I turned the project over to her and let her imagination run wild.
Mom enjoyed getting the rooms ready, making them comfortable and cozy despite the limitations of the ’50s style. And she came up with the hook … a complimentary breakfast.
She was great at it. She rarely served the same meal twice and experimented with eggs, pancakes, syrups and toppings and breads and muffins. We stayed in some bed-and-breakfasts over the years and I can tell you, Mom’s kitchen was tops. I can say that because I got to sample the meals as well!
We had people from all over the world and met some great people over the years. We had guests from 31 states – from New York locals to Alaska, Maine to California, Florida to Minnesota – and 17 countries, including Australia, France, Germany, India, Israel, Italy, Japan, the Philippines, Switzerland and Turkey.
On the down side, it was time consuming, especially on weekends in the summer. Coupled with the newspaper schedule, we were “stuck” here with little time for ourselves. Weekend getaways were difficult. In fact, going grocery shopping was a highlight of the week. We usually went together and I always insisted we stop somewhere for lunch, especially if we went to Ithaca.
Mom liked visiting the different wineries around the lakes and she appreciated a good wine with or after dinner.
We closed the motel in 2005 after a horrible summer trying to deal with Grandma Simpson and guests. Between running to the hospital or nursing home and running the motel, Mom needed a break so we shut down for the winter … and discovered more time for ourselves. We knew we had Deanna’s graduation and Joe’s wedding the following summer so we just decided to not reopen.
It was the best decision we had ever made. While we still had to work around the paper, we suddenly had more time for ourselves and were able to take day trips or even long weekends together. Throughout our New York years, we virtually did everything together … from eating together, shopping together, working together, loving being together.
Mom was becoming more resentful of the paper … no, more resentful of how it was being received. She would often say, “This area doesn’t deserve you.”
Her heart was in the right place. She was constantly worried about my health and recognized — before I did — all-nighters took longer and longer to recover from.
I remember dancing with Mom at Nicolle’s wedding (yes, we occasionally danced — Mom loved to dance but my two left feet always got in the way). You guys gave us a new song, Remember When, not as a replacement for True Love, but as a complement to it. My allergies kicked in and Mom’s eyes welled up as I told her our job was done as parents. We’re back at the beginning … just the two of us. Now we could grow old together and enjoy the fruits of our labor … our grandkids.
So, this probably is as good a place as any to move on to the next — and probably the hardest — chapter … The Final Five Months.
To be continued …
THOUGHT TO REMEMBER: God created the world round so we don’t look too far down the road.