ROCKPORT, Texas — The talk at the table this week centers around family and how one family, in particular, is able to get through the highs and lows of life together, regardless of where they may be.
We met David Casto and his family at the Bakery Café. Spring break was in full swing and there wasn’t a seat to be found. A mix of locals were sitting side by side with families on vacation.
We found Casto enjoying breakfast with his daughter, Susan Vahrenkamp, along with her husband, Chris, and their two kids, McKenzie and Alyssa.
This is one of countless trips Casto has taken over the years.
“Sir, I’ve been all around the United States,” Casto says. “I tell people I’ve been everywhere.”
But for Casto, this isn’t just any ordinary trip. Since he’s always had the desire to travel, it’s yet one more of his many adventures.
“I retired from the federal government and I decided to travel in an RV for a few years,” he says.
A few years have now turned into 13 years as Casto roams the open road in his RV.
“He's getting to do exactly what he wanted,” Susan Vahrenkamp said. "He talked about this kind of stuff from the time when I was a kid.”
It’s that love of travel that he's passed on to his daughter.
“When I was super young, we had a little pop-up camper and we traveled around in it,” Susan tells us.
And who would have thought that Susan and her husband and kids now have a pop-up camper of their own.
“We'd bring their bikes or scooter and they get to play and that's what dad and I did growing up,” Susan recalls as one of her many memories from her childhood.
Growing up back then was a different time, a different place, with no iPhones or gaming. The focus remained on fun and family and spending quality time together. But times have changed and for Susan, it hasn’t been easy.
“It's rough,” she says. “It's rough.”
So rough that Susan's now a stay-at-home mom. For years, she's seen her health worsen with one issue after another. Her body is literally attacking itself.
“There's not a lot of great treatments for it,” Susan tells us. “They can kind of treat some of the symptoms and try to mask the problems, but even still, there's no way to reverse any of them.”
And even with all of those health conditions, Susan remains optimistic. After all, she says, people need her.
“When you've got two beautiful kids and you want to take them out and you want to do things with them and you want to have fun, you can't let the bad weigh you down,” Susan says with a smile on her facem while at the same time knowing she needs them.
She needs her dad, sitting across the table from her, as she remembers some of his advice from years ago.
“As a young kid my dad always said, if you're feeling horrible in the morning, you need to get up, get dressed, get a shower, eat something," Susan says. "And if you still feel bad after that, yes, go back to bed, but you have to put one foot in front of the other."
One foot in front of the other, one day or even sometimes one minute at a time.
Susan and her husband and their two girls are back at their Belton home with so many wonderful memories from this trip. At the end of the month, her father leaves for a 6-month trip up north though she knows if she needs him, he’ll come right back.
So that leads us to the question, where should we go next? Where’s a place to go where the food is good but the talk is even better?
Let me know. You can always send me a message on any of the social media platforms you see below or just send me an email to email@example.com.