The main purpose of this trip is to meet as many of Bob's Michigan relatives as possible and to see as many sights as possible—some of which are still standing, many of which are not—of Bob's childhood in Battle Creek.
I've heard so much about his family—his parents, Ruth and Bill, and the 14 McVeigh siblings—over the 5 years I've known Bob, and I'm really looking forward to meeting as many as I can.
Here are Frances and Vincent worshiping the door Bob just walked through in his garage, stepping outside to put some stuff in the car.
Our first day was a comfortable 4-hour drive to Asheville, NC. We made one stop along the way, at what I believe was the very same Sheetz gas station that my friend Joe and I stopped at last week on our return from Asheville.
We used the restroom (Bob and John inside, Frances and Vincent outside), and we (Bob and John) had peanut butter and jelly sandwiches with chips, made on—and eaten off—the hood of my car.
Back on the road again, Frances and Vincent quickly assumed their "prone position," being the great travelers that they are.
Today's her 15th birthday!
Peek-a-boo with Vincent
Today's his 10th birthday!
In Asheville, we were welcomed by the Casterline family—Bob's nephew, Michael, his wife Heather, and their two children Nora and Quillan, with whom we had a most delightful evening.
We had drinks and munchies on the deck. Michael had done some sleuth work on Facebook to learn that I liked Maker’s Mark, and he’d bought some just for me. So very thoughtful.
We had a delicious dinner of a kale salad with mango and roasted pumpkin seeds (I believe they were), along with an entrée of shredded chicken and pulled pork topped with a nice chickpeas and spicy salsa sauce, cabbage, radishes, and avocado. Dessert consisted of a choice of chocolate or mango ice cream. Bob chose chocolate, and I had the mango. I'm sure I'm not totally accurate on all that, but suffice it to say, it was delicious.
We had good conversation during the course of the entire late afternoon and evening, including various topics such as:
- Quillan's experience making fishing nets in Alaska, and his upcoming trip back to do commercial deep sea fishing this summer
- Quillan's traveling and living in Guatemala
- Nora's current course of study and her boyfriend’s interest in computer science
- The Longform: A Smart Reader app
- Bob's discussion with Nora and Quillan about nursing, the different ICUs that there are, and a friend of Nora's who wants to work in trauma
- Quillan’s drumming and bands
- The Asheville culture
- Homelessness in Asheville
- The marriage equality case before the Supreme Court
- Michael’s clientele and his cases
- The storing, sharing, and distribution of law information
- Interesting characters in the workplace
- Their neighborhood—rich people and expensive houses up the hill
- The list of the many things they've done to their house, as told to Bob by Michael
Bob was surprised by how much Michael remembered about growing up in Battle Creek, about their Wattles Road house, and he enjoyed learning a little bit about Heather’s family.
What stood out to both of us was what a nice family the Casterlines are, and how conversation with them was easy—engaged, intelligent, and not feeling like any subject needed to be avoided.
Thanks, Casterlines, for having us as guests, and for your most gracious hospitality!