Back home from the trip to San Antonio. It has been an amazing day.
The day started at about 5 am for me and after trying to leave the house at six and picking up a family friend, we adventured to San Antonio. Of course, we had to stop at one of the places my sister always stopped at on the way to Houston...Buc-ee's.
If you haven't had the Buc-ee's experience, it is one of the largest, cleanest pit stops I have ever been to. I've traveled a lot in my time, and when you've got to stop to get gas, use the bathroom, or buy something to eat, I've probably never seen any place as well-staffed or as clean as a Buc-ee's. They can gouge you on prices for some of the items with their Beaver mascot logo, but really, if you've ever been in a seedy place where toilets became hover-seats (that is, you're afraid of catching something so you can't actually sit on a toilet seat to use the bathroom, which is a horrible incident in the making for women sometimes...), then you can appreciate the cleanliness of this place.
Anyway, as we stop there, I think of a good friend of my sister's and how she told stories of the Beaver Wars between my sister and herself. They would buy the craziest things for one another as they stopped at this place, and stick stickers of the Beaver on each other's car. Her birthday was at the beginning of the month, so to celebrate her birthday and that of my sister, we got her a Beaver Backpack.
So,we get to Dick's Last Resort, a bar on the Riverwalk in San Antonio. Since the Universe works as it should, it is apparently nestled gently under the hospital that my sister was diagnosed with cancer six years ago. When we arrived, I carried my purse, a Beaver Bag with the Beaver Backpack in it, and a small recyclable bag that carried two urns of the remains of my sister.
This was not meant to be a sad occasion. It was my sister's birthday, a celebration of her life and the opportunity to share the event with her friends. And so it was.
Her friend was thrilled with the Beaver Backpack. I presented her with the urn and charged her with spreading ashes at my sister's favorite places. She was happy to do so, then in an effort to make sure that nothing happened to the urn (which I Saran wrapped and rubber-banded to make sure that she didn't spill out...), she proceeded to stuff the urn into the Backpack.
Okay, the thought had occurred to me when I purchased it, but I thought to myself it might be weird. But here was her friend, trying to stuff the urn into the plushie Beaver Backpack.
"Suck it in!" my mom yells, encouraging my sister to 'fit' in the backpack.
The clown there sees us playing with the backpack (during the day, it's a mostly-harmless, attitude baring clown which makes balloon things and picks on people...at night, when there's no kids, the balloons turn obscene and the heckling begins..) and wants his picture with it. At that point, I'm nervously trying to pull the backpack from the clown and gently explaining he has to be careful. Finally, at some point, I tell him my sister is in the backpack, and if he isn't careful, he'll spill her. He clicks that I am in fact not kidding, and begins to stammer and apologize.
Leave it to me to stop a clown deadpan in the middle of trying to be funny.
Anyway, a good time is had by all, and I'll spare you some of the insults and banter that went on. When we finished, we walked some down the river and found a small man-made waterfall. They gathered around it tightly, to shield me from all the people across the river. My sister's friend said a few words, reading from a book and directly quoting my sister. When she was finished, I thanked them all for coming, then poured my sister into the water stealthily.
The Beaver Backpack still had the second urn, and for some reason, everyone wanted their picture 'with my sister'. She would have probably found this funny, because everyone was sporting the backpack or cuddling the plushie. As this was going on, one of my sister's other friends was looking down at the frothing water.
"Don't say a word," I laughed. The ash had clung to the foam, making my sister a latte in the fountain.
The trip home was through the rain, but the rain itself wasn't a bad thing. It was a blessing and a sign of hope for us here, where the water has been scarce. The day was great, and full of laughter and love, with just a touch of sadness.
I love you sis, and I miss you dearly. Happy birthday.