Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Busy Happy Times

It felt good to go to bed last night and know I could sleep as long as I wanted this morning with no major responsibilities nor scheduled fun awaiting me. The last two days have been full, busy, and fun. I needed a breather,

Gerald and Sam arrived from Tuscaloosa just before midnight Sunday, and I was already asleep, The plan had been to get a motel room on the way home if Gerald was tired, but he claimed he wasn’t in his l0 p.m. phone call home and kept driving. Sam tumbled into the bed here that he’d slept in before they left, but Gerald went to check his computer. I did wake up until Gerald came to bed and we had brief conversation about the tourney and trip home.

Sam slept late the next morning, but as usual Gerald was up before me. He pulled out the built-in extension on our kitchen table for me since I was entertaining a women’s group from church for our monthly meeting that night. I found a tablecloth to fit the extended size, laid out serving dishes and did other small tasks. I made a grocery list, which, of course, I forgot. (But at least making a list usually helps me forget less.)

Sam woke up and I drove him to his house in town. He helped me pick daffodils along the road in my favorite spot so I’d have some fresh flowers for the evening. (Our late friend Zella used to bring me flowers from her garden, but now I have to supply my own.) After I dropped Sam off, I did the grocery store run and bought prepared chicken for Gerald’s and my lunch. Finally, I stopped by Larry’s bakery for some cookies and hurried back to Woodsong for a late lunch with Gerald.

Sunday evening I’d made a couple of angel food cakes in honor of Zella for whom I used to include angel food in the menu. I’d learned years ago with Dad Glasco that angel food is kind to diabetics. I’d bought vanilla ice cream to go with the angel food cake and cookies, thinking I’d serve it as I did other flavors in the long ago past when I put scoops of colorful ice cream or sherbets in a large bowl and let people help themselves. (It did not work as well this time as the scoops melted together slightly—but it was easier to serve oneself than any other way I know.)

After lunch, I arranged the cookies and a cheese tray and lunch meat tray, made punch, fixed the coffee pots—decaf and the real kind—and arranged the daffodils. (I forgot to put the cheese platter on the buffet until almost everyone was seated and the guests said to forget it, so I did. Gerald and I just enjoyed the cheese today for lunch sandwiches.)

Many many years ago, Mary Ellen had given me a lovely coffee cup decorated with spring flowers and with matching paper party napkins. Saving them for the perfect occasion, I somehow had never used them and decided March 21 was a good day to unwrap the napkins for a spring theme. So daffodils went into the spring-themed cup and also into a plastic cup I inserted into the cup’s pretty gift box and I had flowers for the buffet,

My mother had a small unique blue china flower holder with a little white spring figure which sat on top. The vase part below had holes punched for flowers, and Mother used this with daffodils for her club meetings. Sometime after I left home, the little sprite on top had been broken and she had carefully glued it all back together. So with memories of my mother, I took the little vase from Grandma Sidney Martin’s trinket case and placed daffodils in those holes for the front hall. I still had a few flowers left for a bud vase in the living room.

The furniture there only seats ten, so I also got out a few folding chairs in case they were needed, and I was glad I did since there were 14 of us. Gerald had already been given a microwave meal for the downstairs microwave to hold him until after the meeting. I changed my blouse, renewed my makeup, and had some resting time before the guests began arriving.

After singing, a prayer time for dear ones needing special prayers, and hearing a devotional from Deanna Odom, we had a good time as usual making spring plans for an Easter egg hunt for the children, deciding a date for the fishing tournament coming up, and choosing a theme for the annual women’s banquet in May. Afterwards we moved into the kitchen-dining room area for refreshments and lots of visiting and laughing at each other’s stories around the tables. (I learned, for example, who accidentally started the recent grass fire in the village of Crab Orchard. It was not funny at the time, but some of the stories that came out of it were.)

All too soon, it was time to part as women had children at home to get to bed for school, and we left with the usual instructions to watch out for the deer. Gerald came up and we visited awhile since we were still talking about his weekend trip to Alabama, and I put away the perishables, after Gerald indulged. Only one cake was half gone, and I wrapped the other for the freezer, and told him the half left over could be his birthday cake the next day.

Yesterday I got up early for me, so I could go with Gerald to meet his brothers at Cracker Barrel for the obligatory birthday breakfast. Ginger and our nephew Tim rounded out the party. The waitresses there have fed these Glasco brothers for so many years that they are very kind and know just what extras to bring to the table. Ginger and Garry are so sweet to watch as he takes such good care of her.

We certainly saw a spark of the pre-stroke Ginger when Keith repeated someone’s remark about his daughter whose husband had died. He said she was finally able to order what she wanted at a restaurant now. (And it was pleasant to also hear that a new fiancĂ© is treating this young woman like gold.) Ginger was so upset to hear of this young woman’s mistreatment that she expressed in no uncertain terms her indignation and that she would not have tolerated that. Garry agreed she would not have. We all loved seeing the real Ginger assert herself, but Keith soothed quickly so she would not have to remain upset. Ginger loves to shop at gift stores and buy pretties, which will have to be stored by her aide since like most of us our age, she has more than her home can accommodate. So she purchased her accessory, and Garry was happy for her shopping happiness. Tim had to leave earlier to go to work, but the rest of us sat and visited until probably 9:30.

Gerald said he had to go home and do some work in his shop, but he would really like to visit his cousins in the Water Valley neighborhood in Union County. He worked until 1 before he came in for lunch, and declared he did not want to work any more on his birthday, so we took off on country roads with Bradford pear trees blooming in people’s yards and the roadside redwoods just beginning to turn lightly pinkish-purple with promise of full bloom soon.

In the meantime, Katherine had called while he was in his shop and said she had an aide bake him a birthday cake and they could bring it out late in the afternoon, I wasn’t sure how that would work with Gerald’s visits to cousins, so said we’d see how the afternoon went. Gerald’s cousins as well as several of their children’s families all live nearby each other on all the sides of a crossroads. I think I remember those country roads are called Rocky Comfort Road and Buffalo Gap—which gives you an idea of the hills and valleys and the lovely rustic scenery in that area.

We had hoped to visit all three cousins, but we ended up with only time for two out of the three. Both Paulie and Roy are a few years older than Gerald and have had major health problems.

We visited Paulie and Stella first, and we were deep in conversation and reminiscences when an adorable curly headed three-year-old ran into the room with his blanket and plopped between Stella and me on the couch to continue his nap. We had seen all the outside play equipment and toys in the yard as we came in, bur did not realize Stella was caring for little Sandy that afternoon. He slept soundly between us despite of all Gerald and Pauly’s laughter and a couple of noisy phone calls. (One was from his three-year-old cousin just up the road wanting to come down and play if Sandy was up from his nap.) We were glad he woke briefly before we left, so we could see this great grandson’s beautiful eyes and smiling face.

We went back to our car and drove up the brief distance to Roy and Roberta’s house, where a huge German shepherd stood in the living room window and heralded our arrival on their front porch with ferocious barking. Roy came smiling to the door and let the big dog out to lick our hands and give us welcome when Roy told her we were okay. The dog was in and out during the visit and Roberta fed him candy and he made us feel very important with his genial attention.

We were able to hear the story of this dog’s adoption after they saw him advertised on television from a humane society in Cape—one that had told them on the telephone that the first person to come for the dog could have her. They hurried to Cape and filled out the necessary papers and were then told they could not have the dog. They went home thoroughly confused and disheartened. The next day, they phoned again to see if the dog was still there and could they please have her.

Again they were told all they had to do was come for her. Roy told the phone person that they had driven 70 miles round trip the day before and would do so again, but he expected to be given the dog if they drove over to Missouri to obtain her. I do not know if the phone person and the other woman were not in communication or what, but they drove there only to be refused the dog again. A young woman spoke up for them, however, and Roy insisted he’d been promised the dog, so this time they did get to take her home. They both told us what an extraordinary dog she was and how good she was, and I believed them. But as we continued hearing stories of all the dogs Roy has had in his long life, we found out they were all good and extraordinary dogs. We did not doubt that after the pleasant visit with this one in their lovely comfortable but spotless living room. Once again as we walked outside, we enjoyed the well-kept place with its enormous country lawn that Roy and Roberta work together keeping mowed perfectly despite their serious health limitations. (A great nephew helps when needed with all the necessary upkeep,)

We decided we did not have time for a visit with the third cousin, whom we had visited not that long ago and who did not have the current health problems of the other two. We connected with Katherine by phone and she suggested we simply stop at their house for supper and they would order pizzas to augment the birthday cake . That is what we did, and the cake was delicious. They wanted us to take it with us, but we thought it best to leave it behind out of temptation’s way and where Sam can eat it with no danger with his fast teenage growth, (He seems two inches higher every time I see him.) So after a nice visit with the Cedars, we came home where more phone calls and emails awaited wishing Gerald a happy 81st birthday.

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