Sunday, June 27, 2010

Too Hot and Too Busy

There has been a lovely full moon shining in the sky outside our windows this week. Gerald’s garden is growing more beautiful every day. Brian’s soybeans in his new field where our country road turns the corner are a delight to look at. The corn in all the fields around us is higher than the elephant’s eye, and our neighbor Scott harvested the wheat field by our lane this week. We haven’t had anything to eat out of our garden yet, but at church for two Sundays now, there has been a box of sweet yellow squash someone is sharing. I was too late to get any last Sunday, but I picked up the last two in the box today. We keep getting rains, but oh the heat! June has been one of the hottest in the last hundred years, and I stay inside under the air conditioning.

Gerald pretends to come inside more because of the heat, but the truth is that he is hoeing the garden, cutting the phragmites grass beside the lake, working in his shop, or finding something outside to do many more hours than he is inside. Although sometimes he is in the air conditioning of the tractor, his work shirts without a dry spot on them prove he is often in the heat. He has been mowing the creek banks up at the other farm, and the farm looks good. But sometimes he has gotten out of the tractor’s AC to dislodge limbs blocking the flow of the creek. Overall, I think all the outside work is good for him; he is in much better shape than I am. I know very well who he is imitating—my father-in-law didn’t slow down in his 80s either. Yet I like it when Gerald comes in and takes a nap after lunch in his favorite leather recliner and sometimes works with his photography until the evening brings a little cooler air.

When Scott invited us over for lunch next door in his big building (barn, office, kitchen, combine storage—all of these combined), Gerald did take off from his lawn mowing for us to go. Scott’s company was having a field day with people from all over this nation and others to visit their research plots next door and over at Ridgeway. Fans kept the big area where tables were set up very pleasant, and sirloin steak sandwiches with all the fixings were delicious.

I stay too busy, and I cannot even figure out what I have done with a day often times. Partly because everything may take me longer than it used to do. Partly because of many interruptions, I suppose. Then I can’t refocus easily. I have cut out so many things that used to be a part of our daily lives that I should have scads of time to do whatever I please. I let housekeeping standards decline. I don’t talk on the phone as much as I used to do. (Many phone friends have died.)

Yet though I no longer garden or can or even cook very much, now I do write emails and follow friends on Facebook and Red Room. That is where a good many hours are dwindled away. I should not have just used the word “dwindled.” I am investing in following others’ lives through this Internet connection. Obviously, I think it is worthwhile or I would not being using time in this way. Poor Internet service is the greatest time waster—running two rooms away to unplug the computer for a minute or two and then plugging it back in and then returning to my office to try again—sometimes successfully and sometimes not.. Neighbors were by this week talking about a plan to get a new tower in our neighborhood. I hope that happens.

Erin drove up from Georgia Friday morning. She has spent most of the weekend with Johnston City friends since this was her only chance to see them before she leaves for Austria. Toni left this morning for an summer internship in Springfield, and Brooke is leaving tonight. A track coach from junior high, who must be quite a cook, had Erin over with his family—classmates of hers—for supper Friday night and then had the kids come in Saturday for quite a breakfast—pancakes, eggs, bacon, sausage—all sounded wonderful.

She is back at Woodsong and napping now to make up for all the late-night gabbing at the sleep-over the girls had at her friend’s house. Although I am not as close to these buddies as I was able to be with my kids’ friends, I care about them and am always glad to hear good news about them. She will see Brooke and other friends tonight before Brooke heads back to Nashville and her two summer jobs.

Sam is off for a week at church camp in Tennessee, and Katherine said he was so excited about a week with his friends and not the least bit sad to leave them. She and David were thoughtful and somewhat somber with the realization that he is indeed growing up and friends are more and more important to him now.

Leslie is working at Barefoot Republic camp in Kentucky this summer, and Elijah is working at Freeport’s popular ice cream place this summer. He had already been to the annual Vacation Bible School in Kentucky with his youth group. Cecelie ran her first 5K with her daddy yesterday.

Trent and Brianna are busy helping their mom and dad, swimming, and enjoying their first litter of kittens now that they are living a rural life. There has already been one band camp for Brianna with an end celebration at their house after the final parade. This week she has a second camp, which will end with participation in a parade next Sunday. Trent’s activities on the computer and with games long surpassed my understanding years ago, and that and building projects in their garage keep him busy.

Gerry and Vickie and their girls are staying staggeringly busy as always with softball—camps, tourneys, practices, giving lessons. If the heat bothers them, they will never let you know it. Gerald likes telling about suggesting to Geri Ann, when she was a little girl, that they turn on the car AC, and she said, “No, Grandpa, I don’t want to get soft.”

Katherine is withstanding the heat that is so difficult for MS patients, and the Tysabri infusions have helped a bit the last two months after a previous time when she thought the benefit had stopped. We are grateful for that and grateful that everyone else seems to be healthy despite the heat and busyness.

I have been busy reviewing materials to present tomorrow night on the Trail of Tears for the Friends of the Crab Orchard Library. I stayed up much too late last night reading again one of the first books I read years ago when I first after retirement started researching the Trail of Tears--Frances Patton Statham’s 1993 novel titled Trail of Tears. I knew I would understand it better now than I did back when I first read it probably a decade ago. It was indeed more fascinating than the first time I read it. The story is so sad that I hesitate to say I enjoyed it, but Statham did a very good job telling the complex story.

She had John Ross and his 13th detachment going by land until reaching Paducah, which is what people thought back then before some very old records were discovered. She was also evidently mislead as so many people have been by the John Burnett letter written on his 90th birthday with his whopper that he watched Quatie Ross die on the trail and be buried there. (She didn’t. She died in harbor at Little Rock and was buried in a cemetery in that city.) Burnett was not even on the Trail of Tears since he was discharged the year before.

Oddly his emotionally appealing letter is all over the Internet despite it falsity. Every year we are learning more accurately the history and location of the places where the Cherokee marched through dust, mud, and snow. Someone said there are literally thousands of documents in the National Archives waiting for someone to have time to study, digest, and disseminate the information contained there.

No comments: