Monday, April 23, 2007

Good to Be Home!

No matter how much I like to travel nor how much fun we have had, I always feel glad to be home again. Gerald feels the same way.

After a supper yesterday with our granddaughter Erin, her parents, and Geri Ann in South Bend, Indiana, Gerald and I set out for home. Although we had the thought that we would stop and get a motel room if we got too sleepy, I was not surprised that Gerald just kept driving and we ended up at Woodsong shortly after midnight. I was worn out and had not driven a mile, but Gerald seemed to be going stronger each time we stopped for a rest stop.

On our trip up to Freeport to visit with our daughter Jeannie‘s family, Gerald's legs were growing cramped from driving. We impulsively pulled off Interstate 57 and stopped at Mattoon and ran by my brother’s Jim and wife Vivian’s house. I had thought we might stop on the way home, so I had grabbed a photograph for Jim off the dining room chair at Woodsong as we walked out. Gerald had made the photo of Jim’s Anna-Jonesboro Class of 1946 reunion from a clipping my friend Lois in California sent me from our hometown paper.

After a brief visit, we Jim and Vivian's house with me five books richer. Vivian, an avid reader, had a stack of books she had already read and was ready to give away. I also saw her latest quilt top--the 90th one she has made since retirement. I wonder how many books she has read in retirement. I talk about reading--but Vivian accomplishes it.

We checked into the motel near Jeannie’s home that allows us to have the grandkids come over and swim. Unexpectedly the motel was serving soup in their dining room that evening, which was the perfect supper for us since we had eaten a very late lunch at Urbana at the Red Lobster and were still full. We were invited for pizza at Jeannie’s but declined since the soup was so handy and we could use time to unpack and relax. Later Gerald took me over to the Eilers' house to go with them to the Thursday performance of Showtime--the musical extravaganza that Freeport High School puts on each spring. Gerald went back to the motel to rest. Showtime was spectacular and almost incredible to be produced by secondary students. After touring backstage, meeting the director, and congratulating Leslie and a few other cast members, the Eilers dropped me back at the motel for a night’s sleep.

Next morning Gerald was up bright and early although he had not gone to bed until after I got home from the musical. He had already eaten breakfast and been on a morning walk outside by the time he was back in our room polishing his shoes, and I woke up with the bed shaking from his vigorous rubbing of the shoes.

At our request, Jeannie dropped off Cecelie, so we could take her to school, and we thoroughly enjoyed that. Gerald got a picture of our little sweet second grader and her backpack.

Next, we ran over to Carl Sandburg School to see Jeannie’s great (huge) art room. I loved it because it had a concrete floor and looked like a very practical place for kids to do art without fear of upsetting someone by dropping a bit of paint somewhere. (I am always amazed at how many people fail to realize that having a shiny new immaculate art room with pressure to keep it that way destroys children’s creativity.) Of course, Jeannie’s posters urging children to feel free to make mistakes and to experiment re-enforced the creative environment.

After more rest, lunch at a favorite restaurant, and a nap, we were ready for Cecelie and Elijah’s arrival to swim until Rick took us all out to dinner. All except Leslie, who had already gone on to prepare for Showtime, of course. That evening, we saw another wonderful show, and I could tell from his laughter that Gerald enjoyed it as much as I did the night before.

After a brief visit back stage with Leslie and then with the Eilers at their house after the show, we hurried to bed so we could be up and on the road to Notre Dame early the next morning. Having frozen last fall up there and heard then how cold last spring’s softball games were, we were well equipped with blankets, jackets, coats, gloves, etc. However, the sun was blazing hot for the Saturday afternoon‘s double header with the Louisville Cardinals, and we were sunburned quickly. The cold-weather preparation was never taken from the car.

On Sunday after worship at Granger Missionary Church over the border in Michigan, we hurried to the ball field for another double header--this time with the South Florida Bulls. The weather was wonderful with a great breeze along with the sunshine. By this time, I had finally acquired a new supply of sunscreen for this summer, so the Saturday sunburn did not worsen.

After another supper with Erin and family, we were ready to head back to Southern Illinois. One aspect of coming home that I do not like is the re-orientation, which includes skimming the newspapers and collected mail and deleting all the junk emails and quickly trying to digest the important ones. One sign of the times is that we rarely have large numbers of messages on the telephone answering machine while we are gone. With cell phones and emails, we use the house phone less and less.

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