Monday, July 04, 2005

Independence Day 2004

After nine days with grandchildren in the house, Woodsong is quiet this Fourth of July. When this time comes after a grandkids' visit, I always remember little Samuel (now 8) over at Pondside Farm the first time he came back alone to visit following a previous week of Christmas visiting with cousins galore at the farm. He walked in the living room, looked around, and whispered, "It sure is quiet."

After all the noise, confusion, laughter, whining, crying, shouting, running, piano playing, guitar music, door slamming, dog barking, washing machine humming, and frequent squealing of the past nine days, believe me the house and yard does seem quiet.

Quiet enough for me to finish Sommerset Homecoming, which I started yesterday. Quiet enough to feel relaxed as I wander absentmindedly around picking up various family's debris from Vacation Bible School at our village church and left-behind socks, pajamas, and toothbrushes. It will take awhile to get the house back into any semblance of order, let alone get everyone's belongings back to them.

There are too many of us to be as organized as we would all like. Things don't happen one at a time during these visits--but usually at least three at a time which invariably signals the phone to ring. I am sure the poor girl making a living doing a phone survey does not understand my hysterics when I asked her to take our name off her list and she refused--but I know if she had been the one trying to fry fish for nine or ten people's supper (I was often not sure how many might end up at the table) and taking care of everything else happening at that moment in time, she would likely have been hysterical also. Ah well.

Saturday was a good example of everything happening at once--celebrating Leslie's 15th birthday, the Eilders getting ready for the Stonecipher wedding, and Brian arriving with Gma Dot (who just flown in from New York for the holidays) and, of course, Fifi to pick up Trent and Brianna. The Taylors were camping up at Wayside Farm where they have their camper installed this summer. After the wedding, Rick and little Cecelie went up to join them at the campfire for smores--but the rest of us were too tired.

But as usual. the week was fun. (Most of the time.) We missed Elijah cause he was at Creation with his youth group in Pennsylvania. We missed Tara and Uncle Gerry cause they were in Colorado with Tara's Southern Force I softball team. Gpa Gerald made lots of memories taking kids on the boat to the island, riding with him in the mule around the lake, taking them to fish even tho he is not a fishing person, letting them help him in the garden, showing them the ducks.
Mostly the kids made their own memories--play acting with the old clothes for that purpose in the closet, creating art from the junk Gma Sue keeps in the "art room," coaching each other in softball skills, watching tv, the two boys playing with their Gameboys, and the whole gang making up their own entertainment. Only two or three people fell in the lake--and one was Grandpa! Because of algae on the lake, we didn't swim there this year but did go to Aunt Vickie's house to their pool one day. While there, Leslie was given an acting/singing lesson by Adam Kee, who is home for the summer from Actors Studio in New York.

Someone was always hungry, and there were four planned table times a day: usually cereal, toast, and fruit for breakfast although I fixed scrambled eggs one day; lunch; supper; and cereal again for bedtime snack. Other snacks were as called for by hungry ones. We ate hotdogs, macaroni and cheese, hamburgers, Ramon noodle soup, grilled cheese sandwiches, spaghetti, and three two-layer cakes before the week was over. Cookies and ice cream, of course, altho both were store bought. And there was some more adult-like entrees a few times.

By yesterday we were down to just one family here--the Eilers of Freeport, and we met them after church at Leslie's favorite Carterville restaurant--Pioneer Cabin--for chicken and dumplings and the family-style dinner served there. The Eilers had gone to Neighborhood Fellowship Church in Carbondale, where Rick had gone as a college student during his SIUC days and also where they worshipped during their first year of marriage before they moved to Carterville. And they drove around Carterville to remember their old life before they moved to Freeport.

The Cedars came out during the afternoon, and we enjoyed that visit while Leslie entertained us with hilarious stories of their youth group's trip t0 teach Vacation Bible School in Eastern Kentucky. And we enjoyed the beautiful music from her high school talent show, which she won singing "The Rose."

But all good things must end, and the Eilers had that long long trip upstate ahead of them. They loaded their belongings, Leslie, Cecelie, and Leah and Lucky--the two dogs--into the van and started the six-hour plus trek towards home. Tomorrow Leslie starts her summer PE class and Rick goes back to class at Rockford, where he is working on his masters. Jeannie had to work during June at the grant job she was employed at, so her vacation begins tomorrow. Elijah will arrive back from Pennsylvania.

The Taylors are celebrating in Lake Saint Louis today, where Mary Ellen has a float in the parade there. We were invited up, but were too tired for a trip on crowded high ways.

We are going up to Johnston City now to eat grilled hamburgers that Vickie is fixing for us and her mother and grandmother and sister and no telling who else will be dropping by. It has been a good week and a good fourth of July. I wish there were peace all over the world--and freedom.

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