Thursday, July 23, 2009

Eilers Visit Going and Coming During Their Vacation

Since going south means coming down I-57 in Illinois, we were the happy recipients of a visit from Rick and Jeannie and our youngest granddaughter, Cecelie, last Thursday night. They were later than they hoped to arrive because they also wanted to stop in Peoria and say hello to Elijah, who is attending a two-week speech camp at Bradley University.

Nevertheless, Jeannie and I still had time to eat a peach together and have a good visit at the kitchen table before we went on to bed. They would sleep in but would leave Friday mid-morning since they would be on their way to pick up Leslie in Nashville to join them on Saturday for an outing to Memphis to see Beale Street and Elvis Presley’s home.

After continuing their vacation on to the Smokies and a return visit with Les, they arrived last night on their way back to Freeport. Again we visited at the kitchen table, and I was able to hear their adventures. Everyone had enjoyed camping including their two shit zues, Lucky and Leah, who could join them in their tent. I suspected the fact that their mountain campsite warned of black bears increased the drama and enjoyment for Cecelie.

Weeks ago, my friend Wanda Troester had invited me speak to the Recycled Youth group at the Herrin Christian Church about the legend of Priscilla. So after staying up late visiting and consequently sleeping late, my morning visit with Jeannie was short, but she took off at the same time I did to search out local peaches from her favorite Carbondale market.

Rick was on the computer working on his annual math class he teaches for kids at Freeport who want to get ahead in their studies. Jeannie and I had each asked Cecelie if she wanted to go with us, but Cecelie, who is more than capable of entertaining herself, answered coyly, “No thanks, I have plans.” I am not sure what all her plans at the farm were, but when I returned, I did see her in costume, of course, and Lucky and Leah playing on her grandfather’s trailer out by the shop.

I’d boiled some chicken and made dumplings the easy way--out of store-bought tortillas-- the day before, so I could have our lunch ready quickly when I came home from the Recycled Youth program. (I might have stayed for their meeting after I spoke if I hadn’t had guests at home, but Wanda had told me I was free to leave after my program, and I did. There were several old friends there, and I met some lovely new folk, so I would have enjoyed staying.)

By the time I had lunch for the five of us on the table, Jeannie was back. With tomatoes from Gerald’s garden, frozen peas cooked and buttered, and deviled eggs, there was plenty of color on our plates with the chicken and dumplings. Tea sweetened with Splenda and watermelon for dessert finished our menu. Then we spent the afternoon visiting before they re-loaded their van with their stuff and our granddogs and took off for the long trip up north.

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