Monday, May 31, 2010

Busy Time of Year and Choices Must Be Made

Our son-in-law Brian is down farming this holiday weekend. Gerald is outside in the heat most of the time either mowing the yard, which he is always enlarging year by year, or working in his vegetable garden, which gets smaller year by year. I am glad he has cut back because trying to give away all he produced a few years ago was a very big job in itself, although I did enjoy the sharing with friends and the soup kitchen. I am also glad he has cut back on the veggies because he frets if there is a weed anywhere. I remind him that I never worried about weeds in the veggies thirty years ago when I was still gardening a lot and yet we always had many more than we could eat. I tell him he is being prideful to want to keep the garden so clean. He says keeping the weeds out is just common sense. So I shut up. He is also busy planting his wildlife seed plots with a mixture of buckwheat seed, sunflowers, soybeans. I am glad he is retired so that he has all this leisure time. Ha.

Most of our weekend has been spent with the television turned on to ESPN or ESPNU watching softball games around the country at the various Super Regionals to find out which eight teams would advance to Oklahoma City. Our main interest, of course, was the University of Georgia, who had to win two out of three games against University of California. Georgia was fortunate to be chosen to host that tournament since their women are used to that Athens heat. Not having to pack and sleep in hotel beds is also a benefit to the host team, and it was certainly less expensive time and money-wise for Vickie, Erin, and Geri Ann to just drive over to the local stadium.

Erin graduated from Texas A&M on May 13, and as soon as A&M’s softball season was over, Erin packed and headed to her new bedroom in her parents’ home in Georgia, where she will be until she leaves for Austria to play there this summer with the Sharx.

The rest of our families wanted to be at Athens, but that was not possible, so we spent Friday, Saturday, and Sunday in our own homes watching games, Facebooking, and phoning one another in our excitement. (Actually Rick and Elijah had already left on a trip to Washington. D.C., but we didn’t know that yet.) Georgia won their two games quickly and put on some pretty spectacular shows doing so.

Of course, we also wanted to be at a birthday party in the park in northern Illinois, where our grandson-in-law Bryan and four-year-old Aidan were celebrating their birthdays. As our family has enlarged year by year (like Gerald’s lawn), we find we can’t keep up with all the important activities we want to be a part of. As our energy has diminished with age, we also have to cut back (like Gerald’s garden) on what we can attend to.

The two top-seeded NCAA teams were defeated in their Super Regionals, which were also played on their home fields. Those unexpected outcomes makes for exciting softball, but it also brings disappointment.

Top-seeded Alabama was defeated by Hawaii down at Tuscaloosa. Can you imagine how difficult it was for those Rainbow Wahines to be playing so far from home? I think I read somewhere that they had been on the road for 21 days or so before this tourney. So it was thrilling to see them win, but for those in the Southeastern Conference who like Alabama, it was a hard loss.

Second-seeded Michigan lost to Tennessee also from the Southeastern Conference. Of course, we were glad to see a SEC team win. Yet we grieved for senior Maggie Viefhaus from here in Southern Illinois. Her oldest sister and twin sisters all played for Southern Illinois University Carbondale.

Third-seeded University of Washington, returning 2009 NCAA champion, is a challenging first opponent for Georgia at the ASA Hall of Fame Stadium. They will play at 8:30 Thursday night and the game will be on ESPN2. Whoever loses goes into the losers’ bracket at this double elimination tourney. That means teams in the losers’ bracket still have a chance for the championship series, but they will have to play more games and not lose again to get there.

Our granddaughter Tara’s Southern Force team is in a tournament near Atlanta this weekend, and Geri Ann will be playing. So plans were already made for Gma Vickie to enjoy her three grandsons again and for Erin to finally meet her little nephew Payton. I think Mary Ellen and Brianna are going down with Tara to this tournament and will also finally get to meet Payton. While they would all like to be in Oklahoma City, just as Gerry would like to see those grandsons, life forces us to make choices. Some people keep their gardens clean and some of us chose weedy gardens. Some choices are hard and some are easy and some are sometimes made for us.

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