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.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Happy Birthday, Sweetheart!

Today was a special day because 85 years ago on this day Gerald was born. Everyone agrees that he does not look nor act his age, but we celebrated his age today! Hard work outside, disciplined exercise here in the house, and recent physical therapy have all had their desired result, and he remains strong and active. No, not as strong and active as five years ago, but he’s looking good. He was kept busy throughout the day answering his cell phone to receive birthday greetings. He had already had his birthday breakfast with his brothers and nephews in Jonesboro yesterday, so his calendar was freed up for today.

Our youngest daughter Mary Ellen and husband Brian picked us up for a visit to a large church that they discovered when Brianna first went to Murray State. The building is very user friendly, and Mary Ellen especially wanted us to see the children’s area with its farm theme dreamed up by the pastor, who is also a part-time cattle farmer.

I’d heard enough about it to want to see these amazing attractive rooms that have an inside barn construction two-stories high and life-size plastic tractors for children to climb on among other attractions. In one room, I also noticed multiple computers for the children to use. It was a fascinating venue for Bible study for children to grow up in, and I am sure the children enjoy it, while they learn that we reap what we sow and that God, who created this world, gives the increase.

I am also convinced that in smaller congregations children can fortunately be taught those important life lessons seated at the table with loving teachers—especially those who know children learn by doing and, thus, do not follow the “sit still while I instill” method.

Best of all, children can be taught at the kitchen table with parents or during bedtime devotions, and perhaps most importantly by observing adults at home and in the community who try to live by Jesus’ teachings. After our worship there in the attractive auditorium and enjoying Mary Ellen’s tour of the children’s spaces, we drove through beautiful Kentucky Lake roads and on to the nearby Patti’s restaurant, which also has elaborate but homespun d├ęcor.

The food was excellent and servings large enough that some had to be brought home. Service by friendly waitresses in yesteryears’ long cotton dresses were able to create a feeling of conviviality in the room we shared with other tables of guests. Gerald was one of three in our room who was celebrating a birthday, and we were invited each time to sing along with the family wishing their loved one happiness. We found ourselves sharing smiles and remarks with other guests when we exited.

We got home in time to catch the end of Oregon’s second softball game at Salt Lake against Utah. We had already been getting phone messages about the game from Gerald’s sister Ernestine and her husband Don, who had traveled there from Rock Springs to see Geri Ann play yesterday and today. Texas A&M won over South Carolina in l0 innings on Friday but was rained out yesterday, but they won two games today, so we knew Gerry was in good spirits. Oregon is supposed to play a third game tomorrow, but they too may be rained out.

On our end of the state, Katherine had enlisted help for today, so I could spend the day with Gerald. At the other end of the state, Rick was taking our Jeannie to Wisconsin to start her chemo tomorrow. I marvel at the advances and discoveries of the scientists and doctors who treat the many diseases and health problems inflicting us humans, but I am also very thankful for all the friends and the many people, many we do not even know, who have committed to praying for Jeannie.

Monday, March 16, 2015


Although we missed out on one big snow while we were gone, we came home from Texas to experience the next one. Schools were closed, and people were pretty much home bound by the ice and snow.

Our middle daughter Jeannie has been our extremely dedicated bicycle rider and healthy food advocate. We were shocked to find out that a second surgery was required after a negative biopsy. We delayed our trip up to Jeannie’s because of the fear of roads. (I felt as if the worst thing we could do was to go up and have an accident and add to family woes.) We were glad we waited. Despite the snow in the fields beside the highways for the length of state, the roads were all fine. So we arrived last Friday—the day Jeannie came home from the University of Wisconsin hospital a day early, which we thought was a very good sign.

The weather had not only gone from bad to beautiful in Freeport, but we had to laugh when Gerald reported from a phone call to our nephew DuWayne that the temperature down here was colder that where we were at the north end of the state.

Once Jeannie arrived at home, her positive attitude kicked in, and she started walking every day. She is determined to be as healthy as possible as she recovers from this unexpected adversity in her life. Since she is not allowed to ride her bike yet, she is substituting walking. Her daughter and son-in-law arrived the same day we did. Mike left Sunday with Millie and Sidney (their big dogs), but Leslie stayed to support her mother. Despite a busy high school schedule and working a shift Saturday at the thrift store where she clerks, Cecelie was in and out with her boyfriend. They impressed us with their serious chemistry study at the dining room table after we ate.

Leslie was there until Thursday of this week when she back flew home to Nashville. Elijah was on spring break from Illinois State, and he arrived the day after us on Saturday in perfect timing to work the opening day at the famous Union Dairy (the place where people in Freeport go to get their ice cream cones every spring and summer). He was able to see how well his mother looked, take Leslie to the airport, and make himself useful during the week however he could. I am sure Cecelie was glad to have the companionship of her siblings during this time.

And I am sure they ate well all week, because Jeannie’s church was sending food. We enjoyed part of that good homemade food. I even came home with the recipe that the pastor’s wife sent with her Quinoa chicken salad. I had just learned its surprising pronunciation before we went to Jeannie’s, but I had never eaten it. Now if I can find it at the grocery store, maybe I will cook it and join the other gluten-free Quinoa enthusiasts. We were especially blessed Saturday evening to get to hear Leslie and Elijah practice “At the Table of the Lord,” which Jeannie had requested that they sing the next day at their morning service.

We felt we needed to leave Sunday morning instead of going to worship with them, because we wanted to stop in Mattoon to see my brother Jim, who is still recovering from the heart procedures earlier this year. After a lazy and pleasant breakfast at our motel, we took off. We knew my nephew Robert was staying with Jim and Vivian this winter helping them—they brag on his cooking. We were looking forward to seeing him for the first time in a long while. We were even more excited when we arrived to find our great nephew Sean and his two sons there visiting. I had not seen Sean since he was a young boy and had never met their toddler Lincoln (called Linc) nor Vincent Indiana Roland Jones, age 5, and called Indy. Linc had beautiful red hair, the kind we had always wished someone would inherit from Vivian. She graciously explained that Sean’s wife Paige had red hair in her family too. They soon had to leave, but Indy sparkled and entertained us while they were there, and I had to notice his excellent vocabulary.

As I had hoped, next my niece Judi dropped in. We had missed Sean’s brother Ryan from Champaign-Urbana, who visited the day before. And we had to leave before our niece Jane and her daughter Vanessa dropped in, but we still felt we had great dividends for stopping for that brief visit and seeing so many of the family.

We have had a busy week here as one of Katherine’s new aides ended up at the doctor’s with kidney stones and was unable to work all week. Fortunately that aide was friends with another woman who came part of the aide’s shifts, and I helped out as did some of Katherine’s friends who have generously given her their help. This was spring break for schools in our area, so Sam and his dad David had gone to visit a couple of colleges in the Southeast. With Trent on break to go with them, Brian and Mary Ellen traveled down to visit Brianna at Disney World. Fifi, who travels well, was able to go along because Brianna was missing her too. She was able to stay in the kennel there since Brianna had a discount. Mary Ellen and Brian must have felt rejuvenated by their trip, because they were already heads up painting the ceiling in their living room changing the brown wooden tiles to white. It was looking good when I stopped by. I got an air hug from Trent, who wasn’t feeling well. I had never had an air hug before but I imitated and sent one back.

I think all the family is back in place now, and we are hoping Katherine’s aide has no more health problems. I finally had my evaluation appointment, and I will start two weeks of physical therapy on Tuesday, Most of all, we are praying that the week goes well for Jeannie as her treatment continues. So many people are praying for her, and we would be grateful if you would too. She might get to complete her planned bicycle last lap to the Gulf Coast this summer after all.

Friday, February 27, 2015

The Grass Is Greener

One of the first things I noticed on our recent trip to Texas was the green grass everywhere. I even saw one man out using his lawn mower the first day we arrived. Later we were to see both a hotel and a restaurant bordered with beautiful blooming beds of bright yellow and deep purple pansies Spring was obviously coming earlier down there.

This was our first trek down to visit our son Gerry and his family since they left Georgia and became residents in College Station, where Gerry became associate head softball coach at Texas A&M. His oldest daughter Tara Archibald also took employment in College Station, and she and husband Bryan and their three young sons (our only great grandkids) are just five minutes away from Gerry and Vickie’s. Bryan continues to work in his home and only flies to the head office when necessary.

Erin, Gerry’s middle daughter, left Corsicana and took a job teaching language arts to sixth graders in Rockdale and coaching the high school softball team there. She chose to live with her parents and drive to Rockdale even though she often has to get up at 4 to run before she makes the trip to school. She usually has the entire upstairs to herself. There is one bedroom decorated with many softball awards reserved for the youngest daughter Geri Ann, who is away most of the year. She is a junior at the University of Oregon. We slept in Geri Ann’s room, and we were happy that Erin and Tara and Bryan and Aidan, Maddux, and Payton were all so available to see each day.

Our trip was planned to coincide with Geri Ann’s softball team’s foray to Texas. We arrived on Sunday in plenty of time to drive with Gerry and Vickie and all the family to see the University of Oregon Ducks play the University of Houston on Presidents Day. Unfortunately, it rained hard on that holiday when Erin and the great grandsons were all off school. So plans were messed up, but the whole family was able to go up and have dinner with Geri Ann before she had to leave us for the team’s required study hall.

Tuesday was not only cold but very windy. By determination and cancelling other things, everyone but Erin did get to return to Houston on Tuesday to watch Geri Ann play and win their two games with the Houston host. Despite multiple layers of clothing we were cold. But the stadium with the Houston skyline rising up behind the outfield was lovely, and we were grateful for plastic seats rather than aluminum bleachers.

Wednesday was the day the Ducks were to play Texas A&M at College Station, and Gerry understood that we had to cheer for Oregon and be happy when they won. We were glad to get to see Gerry’s team and begin to learn the players’ positions. A&M had to leave on Thursday for their tournament in California, so our visit with Gerry was shortened. (And we were extremely pleased to learn after we reached home that the
Aggies had won all five of their games in that tournament.)

The Ducks were participating in a tourney hosted by Baylor University starting on Thursday, so for the next three days we drove to Waco’s beautiful campus. Undefeated Oregon played Baylor that first day and gave the Bears their first defeat this season. They then won their two Friday games, and on Saturday defeated North Texas before their final game, which was again with Baylor. This time it was Baylor who gave the Ducks their first defeat.

Despite Vickie urging us to stay longer at College Station, we left after this last game. So Vickie and Erin had come in their own vehicle, and now Gerald was driving again after enjoying being chauffeured in Houston and Waco’s city traffic. After gathering to greet Oregon at the game’s end and to say our final goodbyes and give our last hugs to Geri Ann, we traveled on to the Denton and Ponder area in Texas.

Before going back home, Gerald wanted to see friends who left Illinois and settled in
Texas. A native Texan, Bobby Sanders left our village of Crab Orchard and moved his family back home years ago. One of our neatest vacations was when we went down to visit Bobby and Katherine and then went on down to San Antonio and met up with Gerald’s air force captain. After Katherine’s untimely death, Gerald has returned several times to hunt or just to visit with Bobby briefly when Gerald was trucking nearby. We stayed up late talking and the next day had a long visit over breakfast at the local Cracker Barrel. By now, the weather predictions were pretty dire, and Bobby urged us to stay on and be safe at his house, but we had another visit we wanted to include in this trip.

When Gerald was in grad school at the University of Illinois, Don Dillow was our pastor. His wife Helen Ruth and I had toddlers the same age, and Helen Ruth was a real encouragement and mentor to me. We have had many visits and connections down through the years here in Illinois, but they finally left the Springfield area and moved into a beautiful home built by their son and became Texas citizens. Despite health problems that come with aging, they lead very active lives. They both looked great. Don still hunts and gardens. Helen Ruth still plays the piano and teaches Bible classes. We arrived in early afternoon, and talked hard and fast sharing updates with one another for a couple of hours. It was raining hard now, but ice was expected. The weather forecasts were worse and worse, and the Dillows urged us to hunker down with them and wait for good weather. It was tempting and would have been fun, but we needed to get home to Southern Illinois.

Fortunately, we kept to our plan to drive on into Arkansas, and we stayed at the same motel we stayed at on the way down. The wind and heavy rain made driving difficult, but Gerald didn’t seem to mind. Because of the predictions, we really weren’t sure how long we might stay there, but our roads were clear the next morning and we were able to complete our trip back home by late afternoon. Bobby and the Dillows were iced in for the next couple of days. Wrecks were common. I am wondering if the grass is still green under all that snow and ice,

Although we experienced rain and cold in Texas, we missed the ice and snow that shut down the schools here at home last week. (There was and is still snow on the ground, but the roads are clear.) We had a lovely welcome home thanks to two neighborhood teenagers who had come over and cleared the front sidewalk for us while they were off school.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Play Ball and Speak Up!

Although they were supportive of us three kids, my parents lived their own lives and did not try to live through ours.  I have tried to emulate that.  However, I find as I am aging, it is more difficult to have an engaging life.  With sickness in the family, I am pushed to keep up even the necessary tasks for survival. I really do not feel comfortable making plans with others since I may have to cancel out at the last minute.    Being involved with outside activities is next to impossible.  So my main social life is conducted on Facebook.  Every thing takes me much longer to do than in the past, and even worse I have to schedule rest for myself during the day.  I have said all this to explain why I may be relishing life through children and grandchildren more than through my own  more boring day-to-day activities. 

Last weekend we found out what it was now like to attempt to know what was going on with two softball teams.  There were ten games in two different tournaments that  we were trying to keep up with on college websites. (It was easier for us when we had three family members together at the University of Georgia for the last two years. Of course, we actually are still very interested  in Georgia’s games since we feel quite attached to Coach Lu Harris-Champer and the young women we loved to watch play for the Dawgs.  And they did good last weekend.)

Opening-season games started on Friday with our son Gerry and the Texas A&M team at the SoCal Collegiate Classic tourney in Los Angeles  and granddaughter Geri Ann playing with the University of Oregon at the Kajikawa tourney at Tempe, AZ.  We loved knowing that Vickie was in Arizona stands watching her daughter play as she has for at least 15 years.  (Before that Vickie was watching her two older daughters play while keeping one eye on little Geri Ann playing in the sand pile beside the ball field.)

The opening Friday games went well for both our teams.  Since University of Oregon was ranked 2nd in national pre-season polls, we were not surprised that they won over Cal Poly 8-0 in their first game.  For us, the thrill was that this was Geri Ann’s first time to bat for Oregon and her first time to pitch when she went in after four innings by Karissa Hovinga and gave up only one hit in the last three innings.  Nor were we surprised when they next beat the Texas Longhorns with a run rule 9-0 score.

A&M (ranked 24th in preseason polls) beat Coach Jo Evans’ alma mater Utah  with a 5-1 score in their first game of the season, thanks to a grand slam by Cali Lanphear.. They were not so fortunate, however,  when they had to go up against UCLA, who was ranked seventh in the nation. They lost 13-0.  But since A&M lost eight seniors last year, we were comfortable with a split in the first night of the tournament.

The next day, I was prevented from spending the day in Gerald’s office hovering with him over his computer and eating lunch there. One of Katherine’s aides from another  town, who was scheuleded to be there, had the brakes go out of her car and was stuck at home till her car got out of the shop. So I went in town to do what little I can do to help Katherine.   As it turned out, her evening aide then texted that she was in the emergency room again with her two-year-old so she couldn’t come either. So it was a long day for me and mostly I had to get caught up on softball with Gerald’s accounts of the games.

Oregon continued their winning ways defeating Northwestern Wildcats 8-0 and the North Carolina Tar Heels 8-5. Our excitement was Geri Ann’s first home run for Oregon.  But there was also  good news from Texas A&M. After beating San Diego State 9-5, A&M had their revenge in a re-match with UCLA by winning 6-4.
But the best news of all that night was from granddaughter Cecelie’s speech team from Freeport High School competing in their regional tournament for individual events.  Everyone of the team members qualified to move on up to compete in the Sectionals this Saturday.  We’d heard from Jeannie and Rick as they drove down to watch the events, so we knew they had a great day. Illinois is too long a state for us to attend speech tournaments, but I am a die-hard Pretzel fan for Freeport’s team.

I was pretty tired from Saturday and I needed to sleep late and take it easy because of some leg and back pain that has been handicapping me.  So we had a lazy Sunday and were back in Gerald’s office together to watch Andy Stanley preach on the  computer.

After lunch Texas A&M lost their last game to Purdue, but Oregon won 10-2 with the run rule over the Wisconsin Badgers with Geri Ann pitching a complete game. Oregon won their sixth and final game against Nevada 12-8.  Not a bad beginning with A&M winning three of five games and Oregon winning six games. 

 Facebook was full of rejoicing Freeport speech fans, and we were seeing pictures of granddaughter Brianna and her new friends in Florida.  I thought she was beautiful n her work uniform at Disney.  So even though my life is more restricted than I’d like with some muscle pain slowing me way down, I can vicariously enjoy grandchildren’s activities spread out from Florida in the east and Oregon in the west and the others in between.