Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Jake (Half Mountain Cur) Meets Fifi (Who Thinks She's a Queen)

Thanks to President’s Day weekend, all the beds at Woodsong were full over the weekend. We didn’t have to use any couches though, so it was not a full house. Jake got to meet his first of our granddogs. Brian and Brianna arrived Saturday evening with Miss Fifi, a beautiful white fluffy Shih Tzu, who has always been able to keep her humans totally in her control. Jake was quite timid in the face of such royalty, but they soon were acquainted, and she was democratic enough to accept his friendship. By Sunday afternoon, they were obviously enjoying each other’s company.

Our daughter Jeannie and Cecelie had driven down from Freeport as soon as they got out of school on Friday and arrived just after midnight. I left the porch light on and lay down Friday evening to sleep on the living room couch hoping to greet them. But evidently I was sleeping so hard that I did not hear them when they came in, and Jeannie said I looked too peaceful to wake me. I woke up from this early evening “nap” at 3 am and went on to my own bed when I saw her bedroom door closed and her van with the bike attached in our driveway.

Jeannie and I had a good breakfast visit Saturday morning before she took off for her morning bike ride before heading for Nashville to meet up with Leslie for wedding planning. When Cecelie came upstairs later, we missed each other as she hurried outside to ride the Gator around the lake. When I looked out, Jake was joyfully running behind her to keep her company as he had learned to do with grandson Sam earlier in the week.

Afterward she returned to the kitchen, and she found out that her cousins Sam and Brianna planned on getting together here at the farm Saturday night after each finished their all-day activities. (Sam had gone to St. Louis on a special recreation trip with some Third Baptist friends and then he must play with the high school band at the Red Rose Gala at the Civic Center; Brianna was at a Scholastic Bowl with her school.) Knowing they were coming, Cecelie elected to pass up the trip to Nashville and stay at the farm.

Jeannie and I visited again after her bike ride although I forgot to give her the little Valentine gift for Leslie that I had planned to send with her to save postage. After waving goodbye to Jeannie, I planned to go to Katherine’s right before lunch since she had no Saturday aide. Although invited to go along, Cecelie said she’d just stay at Woodsong.

At Thanksgiving time, Jeannie had brought all kinds of homemade goodies for the long weekend including a large gallon container of homemade chili. Somehow we didn’t need the chili until Sunday lunch, and then no one stayed for lunch. I stuck the container in the freezer and have enjoyed knowing it was there for just such an occasion as this weekend. I started thawing it on Friday (which I found out was not easy to accomplish) and knew anyone who showed up hungry had something to eat. (I had thought maybe Brian and Brianna might come earlier than they did.) Anyhow I dipped up chili for Gerald and Cecelie before I left.

Cecelie had her violin unpacked, and I assumed she got in some practice and possibly some homework. Yet I still felt bad leaving her. But I was relieved when I found out Gerald had taken her to town with him during the afternoon before I arrived back at the farm with our drive-through grilled chicken supper. Cecelie seemed totally satisfied with the afternoon.

Around 8 or so, David brought Sam out still sharply dressed from his band appearance, and Brian and Brianna arrived from Waggoner in central Illinois at about the same time. I told them there was chili in the fridge for anyone who was hungry and wanted to heat it in the microwave. Cecelie, Brianna, and Sam had already communicated by email or cell phone, and they quickly filled the house with their talk and giggles catching up since they had not seen each for quite awhile. I guess it was since Thanksgiving for those three. Soon they were busy with games and snacks at the dining room table.

Gerald, Brian, and I were tired enough to go to bed early and leave them to their own devices. They were already downstairs watching a movie when I walked through after checking Facebook on my office computer and said goodnight. I warned them not to stay up too late since Sunday School would start at 9:30 before they knew it. I felt conscience bound to give them the warning although I expected they would stay up quite late anyhow. Next morning I woke them at 8:30 and they were soon showering and were ready to go right on time.

I had put a roast in the oven and a small meatloaf out to thaw since David had hoped to bring Katherine out for lunch. I knew when we got home from church, I’d quickly make instant potatoes, some buttered carrots for a little color and, of course, make fried okra to please the grandkids. There were still some nice rolls left in the freezer that David and Katherine had brought for Christmas dinner.

All three sets of china that I bought long ago at thrift stores are usually too small for family gatherings. (The white with gold rims has 12 plates, the blue rimmed set has eight, and the pink roses has nine but with three now chipped.) So when most of us are here, I use the white dinnerware I bought for everyday use. (I’d bought two matching sets for twelve, I think, so despite some breakage, I still have plenty.) Since they’d only be eight at the table Sunday, I’d be able use the china with pink flowers.

That inspired me to search for the pink cloth napkins in the bottom of the hutch that I had not placed on the table in years since I am addicted to paper napkins for convenience. These were the napkins I bought at an after-Christmas sale at Marshall Fields in Chicago during Gerald’s and my engagement. I set some pretty tables with them in our early marriage years. Unfortunately, Sunday I did not have any blooms to place on the table as I did the first summer we were married when I used pink smart weed picked by our gravel road. But water in green goblets and slices of chocolate nut cheese cake from the freezer placed on desert dishes made an appealing table. Katherine and David had not been able to make it after all, so they had the meal taken to them for supper plates.

After they finished eating, the kids were soon back outside enjoying the cold but beautiful sunny weather. With Jake and Fifi either riding the Gator or running behind it, they were happily busy. They soon encountered and had fun with some neighbor kids from next door on a couple of four-wheelers. Later during a a brief re-entry to the house, Brianna brethlessly laughing told me they had a murder mystery game going in the nearby woods. All too soon Brian and Brianna had to head back to central Illinois, but Sam chose to stay at the farm with Cecelie, whose mother was coming up from Nashville. I was to spend the night at Katherine’s, so I took their supper in.

When her aide arrived at six the next morning, I quickly dressed and headed back to the farm although I had to stop for gas when that warning alarm went off. Even so, I arrived home before Jeannie was up, and we again visited over breakfast together before her bike ride. And I was able to visit more with Cecelie when she and Sam came up nearer noon as they enjoyed sleeping in.

I had lunch cooking in the oven, but Jeannie knew they needed to start on the long ride north since they were planning on meeting up with Elijah for supper in Bloomington where he has started his second semester at Illinois State. I sent his belated Valentine—a bag of chocolate kisses which I got for all three grandsons since I did not think they would like the little pink heart-shaped dispensers for note paper that Gerald had purchased for the granddaughters. It had been a good weekend and I hated to see it end. Jake did too, I imagine, since there were more meat scraps than usual with extra folk eating here.

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