Monday, August 16, 2010

Our Trip To Arkansas

Our trip to the prison was good.  I know that sounds weird, but it's true.  We had an excellent visit with our cuz.  He's in good spirits, and we laughed more than we have in a while. 

Thankfully he is in a low security facility so they do not have quite the restrictions as a high security facility, but there were still many, many rules we as visitors had to follow.  Can't wear khaki, can't wear open-toed shoes, can't wear any revealing clothing (that was a tough one for me, really :)  ), can't take anything in but a driver's license and car key (literally, just one key, not the whole key ring).  You can take in money, up to $20, to buy food out of the vending machines.  And speaking of vending machines, they had one that would dispense ribs, wings, pizza, hamburgers, sandwiches.  And let me tell ya, those things were going like hot cakes.  Apparently, and not surprisingly, the food in there is not great, so when they have visitors come, they eat like kings.  I think there were 4 vending machines there and they were wiped completely out twice. 

It was definitely an eye-opening experience.  Heartbreaking at times.  Seeing daddies hug their kids, wives hug their husbands, and mommas hugging their sons.  There was even a grandmother there to visit her grandson.  That one got to me the most I think.  I immediately thought of my mom sitting there visiting Gogurt.  It's hard to think about, I know, and I'd like to say I know without a shadow of a doubt my kids would never end up in a place like that.  But trust me, we didn't think we'd ever be visiting this particular cousin there either.  (Maybe some of our other cousins, but not him!  Just kidding)   

Another thing that struck me is how normal these guys looked.  Some young, some old, some black, some white, some Mexican.  But they all looked like normal people - I wouldn't be scared of any of them if I saw them walking down the street.  Granted, again, we were in a low security facility, and I'm sure if I had visited a high security prison, I might have gotten a whole different feeling. 

It was great to see him, and I have always loved listening to him and Brad reminisce about when they were kids growing up.  They have so many memories together - and to hear them tell all those stories is alot of fun. 

But at the end of the day when our laughter had silenced, our "I love you's" were spoken, and our good-byes were over, we could walk out the door and he couldn't.  Six more months.  Hang in there. 

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