Saturday, April 02, 2011

Spring Break for the Freeport Family

Jeannie was able to ride the bike trail here quite successfully although not altogether pleasantly since it remained cold most of the time she was here. However, when we waved her and Cecelie off on Thursday after lunch to head to Nashville for a visit with Leslie at Belmont University, it was quite beautiful and considerably warmer, Weather has a frustrating way of being perverse that way.

Spring breaks have been less than cooperative weather-wise this year. All of our grandchildren have had breaks at different times, and that has also been less than conducive for their visiting here at the same time. I read on Facebook that Geri Ann has break this week, so I hope it is warm for her. Trent and Brianna will have a break at Easter time, which to me is the best time for a break since families often want to travel that weekend. And with Easter coming late this year, I hope we have warm weather.

Although in school, Sam was able to come out Tuesday when Cecelie and I picked him up after school after taking him by his house, which let Cecelie visit a minute with her Aunt Katherine. Later all of us here at Woodsong returned with Sam to Marion to the junior high school to hear his special 8th grade concert. As usual, he looked stunning in his black tux matching his black hair. After dropping off Sam, Cecelie, and Jeannie at the school, Gerald and I went on to Katherine’s house and picked her up since David was away on a business trip.

Sam’s band will be heading to Chicago this coming weekend for contest, and Tuesday night was a workshop-type dress rehearsal. A visiting music professor from Southern Illinois University Carbondale was there to critique and give them suggestions. It was an interesting format.

Jeannie was impressed both with the band and also the art class self portraits displayed in the school cafeteria that we have to pass through on the long way to the cavernous second gym. The gym, as you can imagine, that has less than good acoustics, so we were unable to hear all that the director and the visiting professor said, but the music was outstanding for this age students. Jeannie was more than a little upset that there is no planning or welcoming arrangements for family or friends to sit with those in wheelchairs. It seemed unfair to her that anyone in a wheelchair had to sit alone on the gym floor many feet from the rest of us.

While Jeannie was on the bike trail, Cecelie was enjoying getting to drive the Gator around the farm by herself for the first time. Gerald was impressed by her driving, (She even chauffeured Sam the afternoon he was out.) She was also working on a big school project that involved writing and typing up her autobiography. I did hear her practicing her violin downstairs where she sat up her music rack in the kids’ den, but unlike her older siblings, Leslie and Elijah, she does down like to perform by herself, so I only heard her from a distance.

In fact, one of the reasons Leslie wanted her mom and sister to come down to Nashville, was to have them in the audience when she sang at a fellow student’s junior recital. Leslie was performing from the time she was a toddler as her mother said she never simply told you something, she always acted it out as she told you. She and Elijah have both been very generous in being willing to perform almost anytime requested because they are very comfortable in front of any size crowd.

Gerald has been busy all week working on our yard and reseeding it. Now he is waiting for rain to bring up the seed. I thought it already looked lovely when I came in last Friday night and saw how green it was. But the unwanted presence of crab grass had been bugging him, and he had seed stored and ready for spring planting. I have been teasing him about tearing up and yard and making it look ugly, but in the near future, I am sure I will like the lush grass that he has worked so hard this week to provide.

I certainly was grateful yesterday for his beautiful bulb garden when I needed spring flowers for a centerpiece for Women’s Club. I had missed the last two meetings and had not opened our year book when another new member phoned and left a message that yesterday was our day to be hostesses.

Thankfully, when I called her back, she had already bought all the needed tableware, soft drinks, and the ingredients for an absolutely yummy cake. I was so glad she had been alert to our responsibilities, and I said I’d bring the centerpiece and coffee fixings. I also took my signature grapes since that helps anyone unable to eat sweets.

Coming home from picking up Sam from his trombone lesson on Thursday afternoon, I stopped to pick a couple of sprigs of white pear blossoms off the John Combes property. The ancient tree has been damaged by storms, but the remaining limbs were abundant with blossoms. I liked thinking how the ground used to be covered in the fall with pears off that tree, and how Mr. Combes had made our young son Gerry welcome to eating a pear from the roadside tree.

I want to write his daughter and my friend Joyce a note and tell her I used her blossoms. When she left our neighborhood to teach at a Virginia college, I grieved her leaving. And I am sure she grieved departing from her ancestral home where her great grandparents had farmed and where the two-story house was finer than that of most black families had at that time. Now that farm house is no longer there, for when Joyce left, it was beyond repair at a reasonable cost. Typically, Joyce donated the house to the local volunteer fire fighters to use as a practice in fire fighting. I grieved again when I saw those flames. When we first moved to this neighborhood, my mother-in-law recalled that as a little girl coming home from visiting grandparents in Creal Springs, their family had a break down. I have assumed this would have been a wagon in those days. They stayed there with the Combes family who welcomed them until they were able to travel the next day.

Yesterday morning I picked a few more sprigs off an ornamental tree awash with white flowers in our front drive-way circle. Then I went down to see what was left of Gerald’s early blooms. There were a couple of tall white and yellow daffodils and I picked one of each. Then a pink, a bright blue, and two white hyacinths. And some of the “Throne of Buddha” wild flowers that had sneaked into the edge of the bed to place in the bottom of the bouquet because I like this little flower that some might call a weed. I ended up with a sweet smelling flower arrangement that I was pleased to take to our meeting. Now it is in the front hall giving out nice aromas.

I had no intention of joining the Women’s Club when Jari Jackson asked me to speak there on the Trail of Tears. I explained to her that I was in the process of getting out of organizations—not joining new ones. When I saw the lovely older ladies who belonged, however, and realized that the “young ones” my age were keeping the meetings in the afternoon just so those dear women could continue their monthly outing, I wanted to know these 90 something inspiring women. So I joined with the warning I would be a poor member, but I would attend when I could. I am so glad I did.

I’m not sure if Jeannie and Cecelie are stopping back by here on their way home from Nashville or not. It will depend I guess on how much time they allow for a return to Freeport and back to school on Monday morning. Elijah and the high school Showtime gang were already back in Freeport on Wednesday night after their annual trek giving performances and seeing sights. This year they went to Colorado and were able to visit the Air Force Academy there. We are all feeling the mix of sadness and joy as Elijah and Trent finish up their senior years of high school.

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