Tuesday, September 08, 2009

The Holiday's Over

Our weekend was indeed special with the Archibalds, Taylors, and Leslie and her boyfriend Michael visiting. It was not as good as it would have been if Katherine had been well enough to come out to the farm or if Vickie and Geri Ann had been able to come visit Gma Shirley as planned, but that trip from Georgia was not to be. A last-minute softball practice for yesterday was called, and that reduction in the weekend ended their plans to drive up. Everyone was bummed, but I am sure the unexpected weekend at home was more restful than the long trip up here from Georgia.

Yet I know Vickie and Geri Ann wanted to see everyone—especially Gma Shirley (Vickie’s mother) as well as Geri Ann’s sister Tara and husband Bryan and nine-month-old Maddux and three-year-old Aidan. We all felt bad for Shirley since she can’t travel to Georgia and other places because she is so conscientious to take good care of her very sick little sister Janice. Shirley now stays next door with Janice since their elderly mother died in May.

When Gerry and Vickie were dating, Vickie’s family and her grandparents and Janice lived in adjoining homes on down the road from us and around a corner and down that road—not close enough to be called neighbors even in a rural community—but still close to us. In fact, during high school days, Gerry sometimes visited and courted Vickie and her entire family by riding his horse down to their place on a Sunday afternoon. So when Gerry and Vickie come up from Georgia, it is easy to see both families during the same trip. But sadly, only Shirley and Janice remain in the two-home family compound that had eight back then in those high school days. Nevertheless, Shirley had Vickie’s brothers and families in for her famous chicken and dumplings for Tara’s family even though Vickie and Geri Ann could not come. Aidan played baseball with his cousin Drew, a high school athlete, and he felt big indeed, and Tara caught up on the Johnson clan news. And everyone got to take turns holding and loving on Maddux, who Tara says is the lover in the family.

Although he can cry if disturbed enough, Maddux is usually smiling. He immediately stole Gerald’s heart when thet arrived Saturday by not only by smiling and cuddling continuously with him but by reaching up his little mouth to repeatedly kiss his great grandfather.

Gerald had been so excited to know Aidan would finally have time to dig in the lime pile here at Woodsong. He had bought Aidan a little digger after their last visit. That time Aidan wanted to work, and he kept the whole crew of grown-ups busy. He dragged shovels and hoes out of Gerald’s shop to put people to work on that lime pile. When his mother showed up and there were no more shovels, he dragged out the heavy post hole digger and handed it to Tara. “Here,” he said, “You use the nabdabber.” No one was sure where he got that name for that tool, but somehow it seemed to fit. After he wore all of them out and they began sneaking away, I came outside and he had us climb into the “mule.” He wanted me to drive it, but I honestly told him I had forgotten how. He snorted disgustingly, “Well pretend.” And pretend we did for the next half hour.

So in preparation for this visit, Gerald had our little red wagon, the new Aidan-size shovel he had bought him and the digger all ready for Aidan’s use. Despite the rains throughout the weekend (especially heavy Saturday night), there were sunny spells that allowed Aidan to use the tools Gerald had ready for him, and I suspect Gerald enjoyed the play even more than Aidan.

Leslie and Mike arrived right before midnight on Saturday after being in a church retreat in Nashville all day, so we were pleased Sunday morning to be able to hear Leslie sing a new song she had written at church. Leslie cautioned us not to ask Mike to play guitar because he would want to so badly, but he cannot right now because of tendonitis. Weight lifting and guitar playing had done a number on him, and he is in therapy to regain proper use of his arms for his passion for guitar.

The Taylors were down from Waggoner for a late Sunday dinner, and we had a relaxing afternoon and evening. When Tara’s family returned from Gma Shirley’s, Aidan was fascinated by teenage Trent’s Stitch hat, which he entertains us with at holidays. (Maddux thought it was scary.) Trent was wonderful giving Aidan lots of stories and attention, and Brianna played Candy Land with Aidan. Everyone wanted their turn with Maddux.

Somehow the old worn-out Sorry game was found; and after the kids got it out, all the men (Brian, Bryan, and Gerald) ended up at the dining room table playing Sorry. Tara was there for part of the game when she did not have to stop and take care of Maddux or talk softball on the phone with Gerry. I had not seen Gerald play Sorry since Erin was a preschooler, when we played many a game at the old farm house under her directions. Bryan was as competitive at Sorry as he was at football. He was a stickler for the correct rules and Gerald griped. However, after he won, I figured he may have liked the real rules better than Erin’s changing rules—which I think probably let her win most of the time. Everyone was missing Erin since her birthday is coming up. They wanted her at the farm to celebrate, but she was in class yesterday as Texas A&M did not take off for Labor Day.

People slept as late as they wanted yesterday and had cereal and fruit or whatever they could find as they came to the kitchen table. Some fished, rode the mule, took paddle boat rides, or texted friends. And there was plenty of time to visit. At noon there were 10 of us at the dining room table for ham with biscuits and gravy, fresh corn-on-the cob and garden tomatoes and all the left-overs from previous meals. (Brian was not at the table because he was up on the other farm spraying with his fancy new spray rig. He came in mid-afternoon sunburned but happy.) After dinner the packing of cars had to begin. Sweet corn was bundled up to return with them to the city. By late afternoon everyone was gone again their separate ways. Woodsong was so quiet.

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