Wednesday, April 07, 2010

The Most Beautiful Time of the Year

Well, Duke won—barely—but regardless, I am sure Willie Veasley will be a forever hero in Freeport. What a great game! We were sad Butler came so close but not close enough, but I had to be happy for the Duke parents and fans. Tonight I am happy for Georgia (vs. Georgia Tech) and Texas A&M (vs. Texas) as our teams won both softball games.

Our Wyoming guests finally came back to Woodsong Monday evening after we met up with them and Keith and Barbara at The Old Homeplace in Goreville for supper. Our house has been filled with baby Emmy’s happy squeals ever since. She talks a lot—just doesn’t use English yet although Gma Ernestine says Emmy (ten months) knows several words. She will say a word all one day and then she will refuse to use the new word again. It is obvious she knows what we say.

When Gerald or I try to entice her into our arms, she lets us know that as friendly as she is with her constant waving and flirting with us, she prefers to be held by someone from Wyoming. Her body language and nonverbal noise-making are quite communicative and effective, so she probably doesn’t have too much need for words yet.

I have only been able to hold her each morning by bribing her with the out-of-doors, which she likes. We go out on the deck for a while so she can look at the birdies flying all around us, the flag flapping in the wind, and Uncle Gerald’s pretty flowers down below us--bright red tulips, daffodils, paper whites, and hyacinths. We talk about these things and she points and answers with her private language. We sit on the swing there a little while, but that doesn’t last long until the nonverbal communication tells me we must be up and going.

She loves for people to walk her holding her hands, and she can take a few steps by herself. Again she prefers to revert to walking with help even after she shows you she can make it from one person’s arms to another’s. Her mother Leah and Ernestine are actually happy that she is delaying walking till they get back through the airport and home again this Friday.

I have had a long talk with Ernestine at the breakfast table and a long table talk with Leah another day. Gerald brought Katherine and Sam out yesterday afternoon to visit and eat up Easter dinner leftovers for our supper. It was imperative that Katherine see her Aunt Ernie. Cousins Kath and Leah have always had a special bond, so Leah wanted to see Sam and Katherine wanted to meet Emmy.

Gerald and Ernestine went back to Goreville this morning for a long breakfast visit with the brothers, while Leah and I slept in. I was scheduled to be at Camp Ground Church in Union County for an Illinois Trail of Tears Association board meeting at 1:00, so I left lunch on the table and took off after grabbing a sandwich.

It was exciting talking with Carol Hoffman of the Southernmost Illinois Tourism Bureau about plans for the TOTA national conference to be in Metropolis on September 20 to 23. Several new sites have been certified in Illinois, and the National Park Service is having signs made, which should be in place before the conference.

We hope to have displays in the two Trail of Tears rest stops on Interstate 57 by May. Pope County brochures are already there for the asking. It has long been a concern for many in our area that while the rest stops bear the name Trail of Tears, there was no information available. Somehow the gravesite of King Nepture, the famous World War II war bond selling pig, (on the north bound rest stop) did not seem adequate for these two rest stops named for the Trail they are sitting on.

Because of so much progress made, which will make the Trail of Tears more noticeable and more accessible across the southern tip of our state, it was a satisfying meeting. Harvey Henson showed us the prototype of the new three-county brochure, which will also be available soon.

The drive down had been beautiful with red bud trees, which began blossoming on Easter Sunday and were in full bloom today. Despite the overcast sky and threatening rain, the drive back in far different muted light was just as beautiful. I arrived at Kroger’s for senior citizen stocking-up-on-groceries day just as the rain started, and I needed the big umbrella. Fortunately the rain let up when the young man helped me get the groceries in the trunk. Before I reached Woodsong, however, I was driving through a deluge.

Ernestine and Leah had planned to use this afternoon to see our sister-in-law Opal, who has been helping during their family crisis by caring for her great granddaughter Josie while her daughter-in-law Jaime was in Saint Louis following a stroke and heart attack. Leah also wanted to see her paternal grandmother’s grave in the Marion cemetery before they did some necessary shopping preparing for their trip back home. They were back to the farm late in the evening after the heavy rainfall allowed Leah to discover what her driver’s ed teacher had meant about hydroplaning. She hadn’t experienced this kind of rain in Wyoming. Lots of snow, yes, but not this much rain.
Today is our oldest granddaughter Tara’s birthday. It was also the due date for the birth of her new baby son, and her mother Vickie had made arrangements to be there for that occasion. Since this was spring break, it was surprisingly convenient for Vickie to plan to go from Georgia to northern Illinois. However, Peyton (one month old today) is already safely here before Vickie arrived for his scheduled birth. I bet they are having much more fun this week than if he had dallied. Three healthy little boys under four is much to be thankful for, and I know Vickie is having a great time with her daughter and sons.

At Woodsong what more could we ask? A baby in the house, blossoming pear trees, our little island abloom with redbud and daffodils, and Gerald’s little sister and niece here to help us eat up the eggs the grandkids died last weekend. Until autumn comes when I’ll make the same pronouncement, it is the most beautiful time of the year.

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