Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Another Teenager, Dandelions, Old Age, and Softball

We just came home from celebrating our grandson Sam’s 13th birthday. With a band trip coming up to Illinois State at Bloomington/Normal, he declined the recent custom of celebrating with buddies and asked his folks to just have his grandparents over this year. It has been awhile since we were the honored guests, so both sets of grandparents were glad to oblige. It was great fun to see him receive his new guitar that he is eager to learn. Lessons have been arranged, so we are looking forward to hearing him play at his next birthday--if we get invited for that occasion again that is. Otherwise we will just listen as we have opportunity.

The table flowers tonight were scarlet azaleas from their front yard. I had picked some lilacs from Katherine’s little bush on the side of the house Monday and taken them in so she could enjoy their fragrance. The tall dogwood in their back yard is flowering gloriously; and beneath the dogwood and even further out, the ground is covered with sweet purple violets. These are especially welcome to view out their bedroom windows since the derecho did severe damage to their back yard a year ago. They are gradually getting it back in shape, which was no small chore for David.

Going to town right now is especially pleasurable because so many lawns have bright flower beds and flowering trees and shrubs. Beautiful yards are probably kinder to passers-by than the home owners, who often see their own flowers briefly when they enter the house by the attached garage. This is similar to people who make efforts to look attractive. They only see themselves a few minutes in the mirror, while the rest of us get to enjoy their beauty for much longer periods of time. Some people think the beauty-conscious folks are vain, but I think they are generous and are being good to those of us who look at them.

Our azaleas are just now beginning to bud, and the other grandmother tonight said theirs were also still in the bud stage. We have the best crop of dandelions that we have had in years, and I notice many other folks do too. I love their bright circles and think they make a lawn even prettier, but Gerald does not appreciate them. Our lane was bordered on both sides with a row of dandelions that had not been there in past years, and I was enjoying them. But before they took over the grass on both sides, Gerald sprayed them last week. Since he cares for the lawn, I could not complain. (At least not very much.)

When I was working in the flower beds the other day, we quickly ran out of mulch. Gerald brought in a large amount in his pickup today and placed it in plastic garbage cans close to where I need it. So I have tomorrow morning’s work cut out for me.

Another neighborhood death occurred on Monday for a sweet friend from long ago. Our two youngest children were in the same class through twelve years of school. She has been housebound for several years now. Her husband also has been very sick for a long time. Their four sons and wives have coped beautifully during these many years providing care themselves when the parents were less handicapped and then adding extra workers when constant care became needed.

Today’s son and wife and the helper staying with the husband before tomorrow’s funeral encouraged him to brag on the cake I took over, and he graciously did so. But I could tell he did not remember me, and I saw a tear in the daughter-in-law’s eye as I felt a lump forming in my throat. It hurts so to see previously strong independent folk become weak and elderly. I remember those years when we watched our parents age. It makes me wonder what is ahead for those of us just a few years younger than the neighbor.

Since we don’t write the script, we’ll take what comes and try to reap whatever benefits are available in the often sad last chapters of life. My father especially had never known any kind of health problems until his last decade or so. He had always been intensely independent and always a helper of others rather than needing help. I was pleasantly surprised at how well he accepted the limitations that Parkinson’s Disease and heart attack and stroke imposed upon him. I am going to try and keep his example in mind as I continue to age in the years ahead. On the other hand, I may turn out to be a real pill.

To end on a happy note, University of Georgia softball team won both games in their double header against Mississippi State at Starkville last night.  Between phone calls and a visitor, we listened and cheered them on.

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