After getting pretty much caught up at work and reacquainted with our dog (whom I missed terribly), Lily and I set out to spend the afternoon in Lincoln this last Thursday afternoon. Lily finished her classroom portion of driver’s ed while we were in our last few days before heading to Florida. She needed more practice driving though. When the boys were practicing driving, we lived in Bellevue, Nebraska…about 25 minutes south of Omaha and a bit more wide open and rural. Omaha, not so much. Joe, my oldest son, swore he would teach her how to drive…and he has taken her out a couple of times when he has visited. He lives 3 hours away though, and he is in a firefighter’s academy for 12 weeks…so he is off the hook. Who is the wiggling worm trying to squirm her way off the proverbial hook? Yeah, that would be me. Sigh. BIG SIGH. I have had her drive most of our errands. She works at our store and she drives there and back with me or Rich in the car. She drives back and forth to the grocery store with me. She got to practice driving in the pouring rain the other day which was great experience for her….and life altering for me. I figured at 1245 on a Thursday afternoon, the highway wouldn’t be too congested so I let her drive us down to Lincoln. My life really only passed before my eyes twice. For someone with terminal cancer, that’s pretty good, I would say. She actually did a really good job and she has a healthy fear of going so fast down the highway, which is good. For those of you who don’t know my daughter, Lily, she was born with only one hand. Her left arm stops about two inches below her elbow. She is 5 feet tall with shoes on, so she is also a little thing. We have been trying to find the best options for turn signals and moving the steering wheel easier. She has a suicide knob (like they used to have on tractors) on the steering wheel to help out with turning a bit. Rich and I think we have designed an soft, yet firm extension for the turning signal so she doesn’t have to let go of the wheel or have to lean so far forward to adjust it. Anyhow, she is doing great and will be helping us to drive long drives coming up in the next few weeks. She’ll have plenty of time under her belt by the time the driving instructor picks her up on August 5th for her first hour on the road.
We drove to Lincoln to see the Sunken Gardens. It is listed as one of the top 300 gardens to see in the United States. I went in April when they were all tulips planted there and the fruit blossom trees were all in bloom. It was really beautiful. I met a fellow photographer there who lives in Lincoln. He told me to come back at the end of June and see it again…that it would have all the summer flowers planted and blooming and the raised brick ponds would be filled with water (they were actually filling them with hoses while we were talking in April) and the lily pads would be blooming and the Koi fish would be swimming. Lily and I had a wonderful time walking around and seeing the thousands of plants they had there. The koi fish would come right up to the surface and glub glub at Lily. She said she felt like SHE was the fish in the fish bowl being looked at!
On the way back home, we traversed some random gravel back roads trying to find our way to the back side of an abandoned barn off the highway. We stumbled upon the Wildlife Safari, which is part of the Henry Doorly Zoo here in Omaha. It is obviously very separate, as they are dozens of miles apart, but you can drive around and see elk and deer and buffalo. They have some birds as well. There was nearly no one there, so we decided to go through the park. Afterwards, we FINALLY found the access road to behind the barn and got a few shots. I would like to go back at sunset some day and get some really wonderful shots of the sun setting over this barn. We shall see. Anyhow, here are some of the photos from my phone from the trip to Lincoln and back with Lily a few days ago.