Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Poolside, Pomp, and Planting

A highlight of our brief stay with Jeannie in Madison, Wisconsin, was visiting with a young man from our community and his family by the pool at our motel. In small towns and rural areas, kids in school and church together sometimes seem more like family than just friends, and that has always been the way it was between our kids and the Boyd kids a road or two over from us. But then everyone grows up and often moves away. As a result, opportunities to see the young people you felt close to become sparse. So Gerald and I were pleased when it was arranged for Jeff and Maggie, who live in a Madison suburb, to bring their son Caleb to come by for a visit.

I remember their Christmas newsletter from 1997 and still have it. Maggie, an English major, had written it with little news stories telling about their new home with lots of room for the boy toys. Their were sweet photos of Michael and Caleb born just over a year apart and stories of their doing all the fun things toddlers do. Jeff had settled into his new job in Minnesota. Maggie was happily mothering, serving on the regional library board, making new friends. I remember thinking what fun it would be to get this family’s Christmas letter each year. That was not to be. Instead their life became centered on a new word—autism. Time for such luxuries as newsletters did not exist. The new home was sold, the new job resigned, and they relocated to an apartment in Madison, where the best services and help for Caleb might be found at that time.

In 2007 at Christmas, we did receive photos of two dark-haired good looking boys. You would never know from Caleb’s smile that he was limited to sign language and his special school, which he still is attending at age 19. We were told he spoke twice—both times with multiple words which seemed significant to me—but then he stopped. Perhaps it was a change in meds, Jeff felt. They only know his ability to continue speaking did not develop despite all the help they secured for him. It was obvious that Maggie had become an expert not only in helping their son but also in maneuvering the systems necessary for their son’s benefit. His brother Michael, 20 is in community college, and both are tall and big young men now. Caleb loves the water; and although Maggie changed and got him settled in the pool, he swam and played alone with the water contentedly while we had a nice long visit poolside. He never acted bored or discontented. And neither did Jeff and Maggie, who after a lifetime of challenges have many more ahead of them. It was good to visit with such an impressive couple.

We have just completed graduation week for our grandson Sam, our only local grandchild now. I realized that I had grown to care for his friends too even though I did not know them as well as our children’s friends in the old days. I will hope to hear about their lives as they complete college and go into their chosen fields. We attended his baccalaureate on Wednesday night and his commencement on Thursday at Rent One Park—the ball park for our local professional baseball team called the Miners after the coal mining industry in our region.

Thanks to a wonderful aide, her sister Mary Ellen for using her brief cosmetology training (her one-time ambition in life) and to Katherine’s church friends, she was ready to go when David came to put her in the van and take her to join the enormous crowd filling the stadium, which I think is indicative of how supportive the Marion community is toward its students. While Mary Ellen parked our car, we started through the maze of people, and I was not sure we would even see Katherine and David. But we had barely
reached the first seats, and there they were. There was one extra seat with them, and Gerald and Mary Ellen insisted I take it while they searched for seats. I was even able to see Katherine’s special friend Terri from her high school days, who came up to visit with her. Terri and Frank’s daughter Bethany was also graduating.

We had been warned that the service would be there with or without rain. So I carried two raincoats—one for me and one for Katherine—and Mary Ellen brought umbrellas and towels. We had just arrived and felt the first sprinkles—and the last! Everything went perfectly. Students did an outstanding job with their choir numbers. The valedictorian and salutatorian gave excellent speeches. Known as an outstanding class, the graduates validated that with their behavior and dignity. Finally the caps were thrown in the air, and then the park provided beautiful fireworks, and the Class of 2015 was on its way.

Despite all the rains this spring, son-in-law Brian’s corn and soybeans are up and looking good at the farm on the Pittsburg highway, Gerald tells me. Brian and Mary Ellen also have a field on the corner near us, and I have watched with pleasure the neat rows of tiny corn growing as I drive to town. She posted a photo of the “baby corn” on Facebook and got some neat responses. When your livelihood depends on it, it has always seemed natural to personalize your crop. Our niece Leah assured Mary Ellen they would be in college before she knew it.

Although Gerald claims he will be cutting back, he has the garden all ready and planted tomato plants today. He is making plans for the rest of the garden, and I am kind of excited about his consideration of strawberries and maybe an asparagus patch. The trees Gerald planted 14 years ago are tall and strong now. It will be fun to see something new to look forward to watching.

Monday, May 11, 2015

Sticking With It

Gerald and I were down in his office in deep concentration listening to a favorite preacher—Andy Stanley—when I was touched on the shoulder and I jumped. Mary Ellen had come in very early bringing a card and gift for Mother’s Day and checking on us.

I looked away from the computer screen to open my card and saw this cute little child on the front of the card with a tied-up bundle of clothes and doleful expression along with words saying there were times when running away from home seemed like a good idea. I laughed and thanked MET for the card and the kiss, and she quickly disappeared to go on to other duties. Gerald and I went back to thinking about what Jesus really meant when he said not to judge but then He continued to explain what we should do about that plank in our own eye and why we should remove it.

Soon we went upstairs to join our son-in-law Rick who had come down from Freeport Saturday night to pick up Jeannie when Leslie brought her back from Nashville and her special Mother’s Day treat hearing Garrison Keiler and Rickey Skaggs in the Ryman Auditorium.

We had brought Jeannie down on Friday after being with her for her last three days of that week’s chemo up at University of Wisconsin Hospital. She had finished mid-afternoon, and we had waited to eat lunch with her on the way back to Southern Illinois. It was late by the time we arrived at Woodsong after driving through rain and making the necessary stops for such a long trip. Leslie was at her Aunt Mary Ellen’s waiting for us since our house was locked up. It was midnight before all of us were in bed. We slept late the next morning--not Gerald, of course, even though he was the one who drove all the way home after having to find his way around Madison all week.

Gerald, Rick, and I went to worship together, and I was taken out to eat afterwards for Mother’s Day before coming back to the farm and visiting with Jeannie and Leslie once again when they arrived from Nashville. Too soon the Eilers were on the road returning to Madison since Jeannie had to be at the hospital at seven this morning. At least she has this week off to recoup from last. Leslie tried to take a nap but failed and headed back to Nashville, but I was glad I got in on some of her news and giggles she was sharing with her mother.

A friend had helped Katherine in the morning, and our grandson Sam had arrived home from his buddy’s graduation trip to fish on the ocean in Florida So it was four when I arrived to feed her a bite of supper and give her a bit of care during the early evening.

When I got back to the farm through the rain, Brian and Mary Ellen were in the family room with Gerald. We finished the evening listening to the NCAA reveal program telling the 64 chosen softball teams where the 16 regionals will be starting this Friday and who will be playing against whom. Although Sam’s high school graduation is the most important thing on our agenda this week, on Friday we will be fastened to the screen watching Gerry with A&M at Oklahoma and Geri Ann with the Oregon Ducks hosting their regional.

I am not overly sentimental about Mother’s Day because I was frequently somewhat embarrassed when I was young tying with Helen Lee at our church being the mother with the most children in a service. I can’t remember how that problem was decided as to which one of us received the flower. I was relieved when later Zella Cain was there to trump Helen and me with a larger family. However, this year along with the usual flower, cards, and gifts, I saw all three of my daughters and I talked to my son on the phone as he and Vickie returned to College Station after a surprise visit to see Geri Ann when Oregon played Arizona at the end of the week. That made it a delightful day and I was grateful for every child.

Oh, yes, when I finally read the inside of Mary Ellen’s card, I found out it was not that little child on front who wanted to run away. Someone knew what every mother wants to do on a very bad day, and I was praised because I never ran. I was glad I didn’t.

Sunday, May 03, 2015

Some Enchanted Sounds and Memories

Songs from South Pacific have been running through my head all week: “Some Enchanted Evening,” “There Is Nothin’ like a Dame,” “I’m Gonna Wash That Man Right Outa My Hair,” and perhaps most often the haunting “Bali Ha’l.” Oh yeah, “Happy Talk” ran through my brain cells once or twice too. Along with the songs in my head were memories floating in and out of my brief local secondary teaching career

Long ago and far away when the high school in Marion was still where the junior high is now and when the stage in the gym at Washington School was used for high school plays and musicals, I started working part time during the 1964-65 school year. The new high school building opened with its own theater the next year. . I had the privilege of helping Yolanda Peterson with the musicals those three years that I worked part time.

The musical that first year was South Pacific. And I still cringe because the most important duty I had was to be sure that one group of dancers got out on the stage at exactly the right time, and one night I failed at that. I was stationed directly off stage sort of wrapped in the curtain there, but hearing what was on stage was very difficult, and I did not hear the cue. Somehow the kids did get out there and did fine and the show was great. Hopefully the audience did not realize I’d failed, but I still feel bad about it and quickly brush that memory aside.

Other memories are better. One reason I feel very supportive of mothers who work outside the home is that my brief foray into that lifestyle gave our children some exposure to music and the stage that they not only enjoyed back then but have continued to enjoy as adults. They were all enthralled with the plays and musicals as they heard me talking about the evening rehearsals and then the final productions, which they were able to attend. Mary Ellen, just a toddler, imitated our older kids imitating the WACs who marched to chants of “Hup two three four”—something I did not see in this year’s presentation. We learned to turn her around when she started to do something she oughtn’t by saying, “Hup two three four.” We thought our clever discipline was a distraction, but then we observed her saying “Hup two three four” as a method of self discipline when she started to get into mischief!

Consequently, last Saturday I was really happy when a minute or two before the curtain went up, I realized that Mary Ellen and Brian were unexpectedly in the house. And I knew Mary Ellen might have hidden memories of the show which might increase her enjoyment whether they came to the conscious surface or not. Years ago I read someplace that brain surgeons might touch a certain spot while doing surgery on an adult and a long ago memory would be made available—perhaps the adult’s three-year-old birthday party, for example. Reading that made me realize that everything is forever and no experience is wasted or discarded.

When I had gone by earlier to pick up my grandson Trent—my escort for the night—Mary Ellen was sitting on her hallway floor in paint-splattered clothes painting the baseboard as she finished up yet another major paint job of their kitchen and hall way. She wanted to join Trent and me, but felt it more important to complete the near-finish of this endeavor.

Shortly after that, however, Brian was rained out of the field and came home early. Even though he had worked all night long the previous night and had only a brief sleep the next morning, he thought he and Mary Ellen ought to go and support Sam. I am so glad they did because the pit orchestra was fantastic, and that made six family members there to hear Sam. (Last year’s musical did not use the orchestra, and I am so pleased it was resumed this year.)

Because we did not have tickets, Trent and I went very early. (That was one reason Mary Ellen and Brian had time much later to dress and rush in.) The woman at the ticket table asked if we were paying cash or credit, and when I said cash, she explained someone had two great tickets right down front they wanted to sell. She called a young man over with the tickets, and I was pleasantly surprised for him to quickly say his name-Shawn Tanner. Although he still lives in our village of Crab Orchard, our paths had not crossed for several years, so I was glad to see him again and to find myself sitting in seats beside him. Since he was the father of Lane Tanner, who did a beautiful job playing Emile de Becque, that made it even more special. (Memories I had of teaching Shawn as an infant and toddler in our church nursery were heart warming as I listened to his son sing so beautifully.)

In the large lobby before and after the show, I kept seeing Pat Pulley,Lane’s grandfather, at a distance and hoping to connect with him. But the crowd separated us and it did not happen. I would have thanked Pat for what he did for me that first year in the new high school building. Suddenly we had a real theater for plays instead of a gym, and in that theater was a wonderful board making all kinds of light effects possible. My problem was I knew nothing about lighting and no experience at anything more complicated than turning a single light switch on if I entered a dark room at night. Albert Storm, our principal, said not to worry—I could just find some smart student to take over the lighting. I don’t remember how I was fortunate enough to acquire Pat Pulley, but he did an outstanding job and I did not have to worry just like Mr. Storm said. I knew how proud he must be in the beautiful Civic Center watching his grandson in the lead role.

Multiple studies have shown us that music and the arts greatly increase students’ academic abilities. We must not be foolish and cut back on the arts thinking we will save money for more academic subjects. I am sure the neurologists could explain about synapses and other reasons the arts make us more intelligent. And the sociologists could explain how the students working for a common goal give them experience our democracy will profit from. And the psychologists could explain how participation helps students recognize their importance and hone their talents to gain confidence in all areas of their lives. We grandparents, however, know one of the greatest values of the arts is the memories that will enrich lives forever after.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Woods Are Fully Green Now

White dogwood blooms peek through the fully green woods as I drive to town, and the beauty makes me happy. I have “graduated” from physical therapy as of yesterday, and I am walking stronger and with better balance. I still have to be careful and I need to work in some exercise at home now to keep up progress.

Woodsong has been fairly quiet this spring. Except for some couples and a father-son fishing at the lake and Mary Ellen occasionally dropping in to watch a softball game with us, we have had little company.

We did have a long-time Texas hunting buddy of our son come in for the night last Thursday in order to hunt turkey with our nephew Bryce. He was later than he had hoped to arrive because of a truck accident causing the truck to burst into flames and closing a Kentucky bridge. So traffic was diverted another way to Illinois. I had just gotten home from Katherine’s when he arrived and Gerald was already in bed. Since the hunter had to set alarm clocks to be up by 4 a.m., we did not visit. Of course, Gerald did have a short visit with him the next morning. By the time I woke up, the turkey hunt had been successful and our guest was already on his way back to Kentucky and on to achieve his retirement hunting goals.

With six softball games to watch each weekend, that alone keeps us busy. Oregon continues its winning ways, and A&M won one from Auburn at home and one from Louisana State on its home territory to prove they can compete with top teams. Unfortunately they did not prevent top-ranking Florida from a sweep last weekend.

Vicariously, I am experiencing the happy/sad/proud emotions of seniors and parents in their last days of high school. Every thing is the last. The last spring concert. The last musical. And last night the last jazz band performance on the outdoor area at Walt’s. This is especially difficult for Katherine since she cannot fully participate as she would so love to do.

However, David gave her the best birthday present he could have by seeing that he had the van fixed and arranged to take her to see South Pacific and hear Sam playing his last performance with the pit orchestra. We were so grateful for her aide who helped. The orchestra were truly amazing, and the show was without flaw as far as I could tell. I was proud to be there with my grandson Trent, and somehow Mary Ellen and Brian unexpectedly showed up when Brian was rained out of the field and Mary Ellen was able to change from the paint clothes she was wearing to paint baseboard in their hallway when I went by to pick up Trent.

The next day was Katherine’s birthday. I fixed chicken and dumplins (my tortilla easy kind) and made her the angel food cake (from a box) I so often have down through the years. The icing was lavender. I had fixed a box of small gifts—but somehow left it on the dining room table. Gerald came by for a visit, and her mother-in-law arrived with another birthday cake. Expressing her pride for our mutual grandson Sam, Darlene and I were able to celebrate him as well as the birthday girl. Her cake was as delicious as it looked we found out when we cut it last night for Katherine’s supper.

Katherine laughed about the pleasure of prolonged birthday celebrations since I had to deliver her forgotten birthday box yesterday. Her wonderful friend Beverly was there helping her and had brought her a birthday bouquet of tulips. Katherine said her sister Mary Ellen had been there for a couple hours earlier for a birthday visit. Her book case was filled with birthday cards, and she was grateful for all the remembrances. I had to tell her about the multitude of Facebook wishes since somehow she has lost a password to allow her to get in. Beverly and I and then David made valiant efforts for her to get to attend the jazz band event, but the disease won that battle as it has so many battles. I am hoping the delay did not prevent David from getting the band on video for Katherine to watch. She has had to accept this form of participation for so many things, and it makes us long for more research for multiple sclerosis.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

April Beauty

When Gerald and I met up for lunch at Cracker Barrel the other day while I was in town for an annual cardiology check up and then an afternoon physical therapist appointment, I joined in with the other customers exclaiming over the colorful beauty of the first tulips I have seen blooming this spring.

My life right now is composed of three times a week physical therapy to strengthen my legs to avoid falls, helping out at Katherine’s, thinking about and praying for Jeannie, watching loved ones’ softball games when I can, and doing the little I need to do here at Woodsong to keep Gerald and me fed and trying to not let the dishes pile up. (I don’t want the kitchen to look like my paper piled office that I never seem to have time to file or sort through. In the past, I have tolerated my office mess by acknowledging that I am “paper rich.” Now a more honest description might be “messy paper hoarder.” While it is possible to move around at least, I would not want the TV cameras in my office.)

Because the life I am living is not the retirement I planned, I work hard to keep my spirits up. There really is no longer time for lunch with friends—at least not very often—and participating in organizations is no longer an option either. Reading is too often limited to scanning the daily newspaper. I thought at this time of life, I would be reading all those non-fiction books we have collected. They hold knowledge I had hoped to gain. Instead of what I had anticipated, I try to enjoy my social life on Facebook, which is sometimes trivial but other times quite rich. Surfing gives me instant gratification if I google for specific answers to questions. Most of all, I enjoy the spring beauty here in Southern Illinois as I look out our windows or drive to and from town.

Rain-laden unplowed fields are purple with henbit, a tiny plant I love bringing memories of building Easter nests as a child and learning from Jeannie’s international college friend, who spent one Easter with us, that this little blossom is called “Throne of Buddha” in Japan. Cones of lacy white blossoms top the region’s pear trees, but already are beimg replaced with cones of green leaves. In the flower bed at the end of our patio, paper whites bloom to join the fading beauty of the double daffodils Gerald dug up from a long ago homestead area here on the farm I strongly prefer the delicate shape of single daffodils, but I like it that we have something planted from someone else’s past enjoyment of our land. Gerald’s little flower bed near the driveway greets us with the single daffodils, paper whites, pink and blue hyacinths, and now tulips. Our red bud is beginning to bloom, but many in town are at the height of their purplish-pink beauty. Jeannie is even getting to enjoy blooms up in Freeport when she bikes or walks. Their blooms come later than ours often times, but then they last longer. Isaw the first dogwood and the first lilacs of the season at Katherine's today.

There is so much to be thankful for in our lives, and I don’t want to miss out or be blinded to the good things despite sad and scary news on the television or the sad and scary things in our children’s lives. After technicians came to change our server this morning, we no longer have a time limit on what we can click on our computers. So Gerald and I listened together to a sermon today. The preacher reminded us that Jesus said not to worry and not to be afraid. I like that, and I have tried to follow that teaching of His today Sometimes I succeeded.

Tuesday, April 07, 2015

Our Easter Weekend

Sweet miniature daffodils and two varieties of large showy ones circle the lamp post in Katherine’s front lawn. These were planted back in the day when she could still walk and work in the garden, a favorite activity. Her lovely flower garden in the corner of her back yard that she worked so hard on was destroyed when a huge tree from the park landed on it in a storm. I have tried to take some blooms inside for her to enjoy since she rarely is able to get outside in the sunshine these days. It seems a shame she did all this work and does not get to enjoy it. Three of the showy ones centered her table yesterday for Easter dinner.

I considered titling this blog “A Different Kind of Easter,” but realized that was inaccurate. The Easter described by Matthew. Mark, Luke, and John, is the same as always. How we celebrate it may be different as it was for us this year, but what we are celebrating remains the same: He is risen!

Woodsong was quiet this Easter weekend. There were no adults catching up on each other’s lives, laughing and talking late at night. There was no singing or piano playing. There were no grandkids coming and going. No one made nests in the yard as my mother taught me to do as a child, a custom which our children and grandchildren continued. There were no egg-dying parties at Katherine’s house or ours as in the past. I did boil eggs on Saturday and dye them quickly by putting several together at once in three bowls in three colors. But the eggs wee done dutifully for the table the next day and not as the messy creative experience the children always enjoyed. No one made the traditional bunny cake that Mary Ellen started as a small child and the next generation continued. In fact, I experimented with my first purchase of a sugar-free cake mix and icing. I did not buy a single bag of candy. There was no need.

We had a deluge of rain on Thursday night. Mary Ellen called the next morning to say that since they were unable to get in the fields, they could take the opportunity to go visit Brian’s northern Illinois family and be able to also see Jeannie. Jeannie’s family has always been able to come down for Easter weekend; and since that was impossible this year, I was grieving her absence.

Mary Ellen and Brian were grieving Brianna’s absence this holiday for the first time in her life. Meanwhile down in Nashville, Leslie and Mike were having his parents in for Easter from Ohio. The Texas families could not come this far right now so they were celebrating there, except for Gerry who was with the A&M softball team in Atlanta playing Georgia Tech. Geri Ann was with the Oregon softball team playing at Los Angeles against UCLA. (Both of “our” teams lost their first game in the series and then won the next two.)

So Gerald took me and the dinner I had prepared into Katherine’s house as she had no aide on the holiday. Then he went out and picked up Trent, who didn’t go with Mary Ellen and Brian, and they went to church together. Sam and I started Katherine on her morning routine—adjustments, tooth brushing, adjustments, glasses cleaned, adjustments, egg, toast, juice, and meds. David’s family from northern Indiana was down at David’s folks, so after David came by to check on Katherine, he went on to his family celebration.

I cleared off Katherine’s large kitchen table of the meds, fruit, and mail accumulated there. I used paper plates and spring-colored plastic cups. (I first wrote “glasses,” but I guess plastic can’t be called glasses.) With her pretty bright daffodils, the deep colored eggs in one of her lovely crystal bowls, the colorful ribbon salad I always make for this holiday meal, the table was pretty enough that Katherine exclaimed when she saw it after her daddy took her with the Hoyer lift from bed to her wheelchair. Her exclamation made my efforts worthwhile. (When she went off to college, one of the things I missed was her appreciation for efforts that I made to add color to the table with food or flowers, napkins or pretty dishes.)

The greatly reduced menu this year in addition to the Easter eggs, salad, and cake included the baked ham, scalloped potatoes which I only make at Easter now-a-days, peas, rolls, and grapes for the healthy eaters. Instead of fifteen or more of us, five of us were able to pass food at the table instead of people having to serve themselves from the buffet as we do at our house. Instead of Sam and Trent being off at the “kids’ table,” it was fun sharing our table with two young adults. (Sam will be 18 on his birthday this month, but life has required him to have adult maturity long before his birthday.)

After dinner on the way to his Cedar family evening dinner celebration, Sam took Trent home, where he continued texting friends, playing games, or doing whatever he constantly does with great skill on his phone and computer connecting with people all over the world. Gerald found Geri Ann’s game for us to watch on Katherine’s big-screen television for our afternoon entertainment. Noon pills came at 3 or so. I stayed on through Katherine’s small supper meal, more television, and finally the evening routine including night pills.

After a long day starting with cooking at home, I was getting tired as I do every evening and was very grateful for two of her church friends who come in emergencies to put Katherine back into bed. People at her church have been extraordinary in helping her for many years now. And Jeannie is telling me the same thing is happening to her with extreme kindnesses from so many people.

When Gerald came in to pick me up, I found him in the kitchen with a tool tightening screws on Katherine’s table that he observed was getting as shaky as our kitchen chairs, which he had felt compelled to tighten that morning. (I had not noticed, but was glad he had.) We were both in bed by 10 o’clock, probably another first for me on Easter night. It was a different way of observing Easter for us, but the reason for rejoicing was the same.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Hosanna! Hosanna!

Palm Sunday was a good day. We were reminded through music and drama at First Baptist Church in Marion of what the Lord has done for us. The visually pleasing set took us back to another time, and the music by the large choir was lovely and uplifting. The huge cast meant many children and adults had the benefit of religious education that participating in drama provides. The woman portrayed at the well made it clear that God knows our hearts and wants us to live happier lives. The disciples at table with Jesus reminded us of what He must still face. The heartbreak of Peter as he faced what he had done was very moving as was the Lord’s forgiveness. We left wanting to sing praises to the One who loves and forgives so willingly.

Nature at this time of year celebrates the resurrection in a dramatic fashion also. Daffodils brighten the rural roadsides and city lawns. Two geese have made their appearance on our lawn and the lake. They wander close together as the love birds they are, and I assume somewhere is hidden a carefully built nest accumulating eggs. We are anticipating the goslings, which soon will be trailing them. Gerald started cleaning out and painting the martin houses for this season; and before he finished, the first rush of birds showed up to occupy them. A flock of canvas back ducks on their way north settled on the south end of the lake.

Katherine had enough help she wanted me to have the weekend off, and I enjoyed it. I was tired after adding two weeks of physical therapy to my normal activities. I took advantage by getting lots of rest and watching softball with Gerald. I had missed Oregon’s Friday evening game against Washington, which Oregon won 8-0 when Cheridan Hawkins pitched a perfect 5-inning game. I was actually glad, however, I missed Alabama shutting out A&M on the Crimson Tide’s home field that evening.

The next morning I changed bed linens, did some laundry, and fixed Saturday lunch, but Saturday afternoon would be devoted to softball—A&M on Gerald’s computer and Geri Ann and the Ducks on the television. Well, it was not a good softball day for our clan. I thoroughly expected the Aggies to come back strong and win after Friday’s humiliation, and we were proud when A&M was ahead for five innings. We did grow nervous as the score gradually tightened, and then #5 ranked Alabama ended up winning 8-5 over 23-ranked A&M. As if that were not disappointing enough, the Ducks lost 10-2 in five innings after a 13-game winning streak, and Jamie Takeda was injured in a collision in the outfield. Geri Ann had pitched the first four innings, and after that we did enjoy seeing her play in the outfield for the first time any of us could remember except maybe in grade school summer ball. Mary Ellen had dropped in to see the end of the game, and we consoled each other over the gloomy outcomes as we ate a bite of supper.

But Sunday afternoon was another story. At Tuscaloosa, A&M won 11-5 and looked like a different ball team. Not liking the way losing felt, the Ducks came on with great power and won 15-6 in five innings with eight home runs breaking the university’s record for one game. For us it was great fun because three of those home runs were Geri Ann’s. I figured that broke her personal record, but Gerry reminded us she had done that for Georgia against South Carolina. Mary Ellen had brought over a frozen pizza to pop in the oven for supper, and this time we munched happily as we watched the end of the game.

Jeannie was grateful for the weekend away from chemo and seeing Cecelie, her and Rick’s youngest, play Cecily in The Importance of Being Ernest. But today it was back to Wisconsin for Jeannie. And I am going in now for a brief evening shift at Katherine’s.