Although we share the same house and usually lunch and supper every day, with all the busyness of Christmas and family coming and going, Gerald and I haven’t really spent much quality time together. So I was pleased when he invited me to go with him to Carbondale yesterday for the standard check-up for his new hearing aid. Then we were to meet friends Bill and Mickey Tweedy for lunch at Denny’s.
It had started raining lightly at midnight the night before when I went to bed, and it continued damp and soggy with light rain all day long. At supper last night, Gerald went out on the deck and checked the rain gauge and found we had accumulated nine-tenths of an inch.
As usual we had trouble getting away from the farm precisely at 9:15, our planned get-away time; it was more like 9:25. Nevertheless, we made it to The Hearing Place at exactly l0 a.m. right on time for Gerald’s appointment. I didn’t join him for a few minutes because I was in the car putting in my own hearing aids that I had grabbed as we left the house. I’d learned on our last visit that it helped one adjust and profit from the aids if they were worn every day, so I have been trying to do that. I have trouble remembering to take that extra two or three minutes to put them on after I have combed my hair and before I put on my glasses and dash away from the bathroom mirror. So just in case someone asked me if I had them on, I lingered in the car to finish my day’s attire.
Of course, they didn’t ask; and after we hurried to get there on time, there was still a 30 minute wait before Gerald was seen. That was okay. They have great magazines, so I thoroughly enjoyed the wait while he was seen and wished it had been longer. I hadn’t quite finished the National Geographic article I was reading.
We had an hour before lunch time, which was also fine since we needed gas and I had loaded the trunk down with all the Christmas cardboard and other recyclables the night before. Southern Recycling at 300 West Chestnut Street is the most comprehensive recycling business in our area because they take glass, electronics, and almost everything. They are even open on Saturdays from 8:30 in the morning until 1:30 in the afternoon. I had a terrible time finding them when they first relocated, and no one I knew could tell me where they were. It is easy to get there. After the railroad tracks as you arrive from Marion, turn right and go north on Route 51 just a little ways down the road almost as far as the Southern Illinoisan office. There’s a sign there on left.
You get to drive your car right in the building to unload, which was certainly nice on a rainy day like yesterday. They do not pay you for aluminum soda cans, and I was surprised yesterday that they had changed the labeling on the huge cardboard holding boxes so that you are asked to put tin can and aluminum cans in the same bin. Hmmm. I wondered why. (I usuallly take our empty soda cans to Cimco here in Marion out on Route 148 and feel smug for the few dollars I receive for my efforts.)
It had been too long since we’d met up with Bill and Mickey, so that anticipated lunch-time visit was very enjoyable. Because of Denny’s nearness to the hearing aid place and the Carbondale Clinic (which now has a silly new name not nearly as succinct as Carbondale Clinic), this was the third time since Thanksgiving that we have lunched at Denny’s after years of not being there. When we took Katherine after a recent doctor’s appointment, all the Christmas decorations were up and she thoroughly enjoyed it reminiscing about her socializing there back in her college days—just as Gerald and I do from our decades earlier times.
Bill was telling Gerald about his grandson in the Marines and now in Afghanistan sleeping on a cot without a mattress. Naturally Bill was torn up about this young man and all the others over there. It was great last night to see grandson’s new-born son in the Facebook pictures that its grandmother—Bill’s middle daughter Glenna Orr--had posted. This new little Billy was an exceptionally beautiful newborn, and both his mother and his grandmother Glenna were quite beautiful as well. I wish his daddy could be back in the States enjoying this time in his baby son’s life.
Reluctantly we ended our noon-time visit, but not before Mickey had given us a bag of yummy home-made cereal snack mix and another plus a pretty tin of candies for Katherine. We had accidently parked side by side, so we were tempted to linger longer visiting in the parking lot, but the damp weather probably encouraged us to get inside our cars and go on with afternoon duties.
Next Gerald and I headed down Route 51 to Anna and beyond as he had to take some more papers to our farm management field man, who is already working on our taxes as well as others in the Illinois Farm Management Association sponsored by the University of Illinois.
The winter landscape was dark with barren leafless trees along the hillsides of the highway and the constant rain on the windshield, but it was warm and cozy inside our car making the ride seem snug and pleasant. We arrived at Doug and Beth Hileman’s lovely farm on top of a high hill looking down on pleasant meadows. We were greeted by their friendly dogs when I opened the car door briefly to better grab hold of my book at my feet, which I’d brought to read while Gerald went inside to converse with Doug. The bigger dog escorted Gerald in. This was strictly a business visit, and Gerald had said he’d be quick, so again my reading was cut short when he was back in the car and we were again driving country roads.
I had commented as we drove to Doug’s that I did not think I had ever been to Balcom although I had heard about it all my life when living in Union County. So Gerald took us out through that tiny cluster of houses just so I could know I had visited Balcolm. If there was ever a post office or village store there, you could not tell it now, but I imagine that once upon a time there were both and probably a country school house also.
The day was pretty well spent by the time we arrived back at Woodsong and I fixed us a bite of supper. Gerald commented that it probably would be snowing when he got up this morning, but he expected it would have quit before I woke up. He was almost right. It started snowing on him as he walked down the lane to the mailbox—his first activity every morning. But it has continued snowing all day long, so I have been able to enjoy it also. It is truly beautiful and was quite slick out when I took Thursday night supper into my daughter’s family as I try to do each week. I was glad to be safely back home to enjoy the beauty looking out the windows with inside comfort.
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