Tuesday, April 03, 2012

Dogwood and Azalea Time

The red azaleas are blooming in the front lawn, and our little dogwood out there is so pretty. The garden is plowed and waiting for someone to plant something. The martins are back and more numerous than ever. When resting together, they fill both electric wires all the way down the lane to the mailbox. Their familiar swooping and swirling are a welcome sight overhead.

After our return from Erin’s softball game at the Southern Illinois University field at Carbondale on Saturday afternoon, we quickly tuned in to game tracker to see how Georgia was doing in their second game against fourth-ranked Florida. They completed their rain delay game from Friday night with a victory, but unfortunately lost that afternoon game.

Adjusting to the hot spring weather is draining, so though I wanted to stay on at SIUC for their double header, I was glad to get out of that hot sun. But I sure would have liked to see that second game that resulted in a win for the Salukis--as did Sunday’s.

I tried to stay up and read Saturday night until Jeannie and Cecelie, our youngest grandchild, arrived. But I kept falling asleep and dropping my book. Finally I woke up miserable and went on to bed at midnight. I heard them arrive shortly after. They are on spring break from Freeport. Everyone who visits here soon learns to find a bedroom wherever one is available and make themselves at home.

We visited at the breakfast table Sunday morning, and Jeannie drove on down to Paducah go to church and to visit with her special friend and neighbor, Carrie, from their Carterville/Crainville days. Cecelie went to Sunday School and worship with Gerald and me. Back at Woodsong, I hurriedly warmed leftovers so Gerald could fill his plate to go down and watch the third softball game between Georgia and Florida. (Sadly we lost.)

As soon as I cleaned the kitchen, Cecelie and I went in to Katherine’s. The new weekend and night aide we were so thrilled about, come to find out, had ended up in the hospital on Friday and was still unable to return to work.

Her day-time aide, who is wonderfully dedicated, had lost her father to cancer and was off at the end of the week. She had only begun to work for Katherine a couple of months ago when her father went to the doctor for what he thought was flu. He came home with the diagnosis of two Stage 4 cancers and an order for hospice. One of the things we have learned during Katherine’s illness is that many people have terrible trials and troubles, and that our lives are not the only ones with challenges.

I went in to Katherine’s bedroom to help her with lunch, and we did quite a bit of television watching. Cecelie had stopped off in the family room with her cousin Sam and his friend and neighbor Josh. Katherine explained that this was the day that Josh’s family were having their annual Easter egg hunt for friends in the park, which is just outside her window. So soon the teens had gone to Josh’s house to help prepare for the hunt when hundreds of candy-filled plastic eggs would be splashed in the grass throughout the small city park.

We stayed alert for signs of the hunt, and in late afternoon here came the teens and several adults with plastic grocery bags full of the bright colored eggs. We watched the hiding, which was more like sowing than trying to conceal. When we saw the number of wee little ones helped by parents in addition to all the older children, we knew why it was good the eggs were in abundance and everywhere for the picking. Mamas and daddies were helping the smallest children, some who were barely walking, while the older kids ran grabbing eggs here and there to quickly fill their baskets. It was a beautiful sight of adorable children running and scooping with excitement and joy.

Katherine and I realized it was also April Fools Day, and I guess for the first time in my adult life I did not spring a joke on anyone. She and I tried. We plotted, and she rang up Sam’s cell phone telling him that one of the little kids had escaped the park and ended up their back yard which is beside the park. “You better come and get him,” she texted. And we had a text all ready for her to send him when he showed up saying, “April Fool!” Unfortunately in all the activity, he did not answer the phone, and the joke did not materialize.

Cecelie and I took Sam to his church youth group, and she declined his invitation to go along for the evening. (I had been so proud of how she had enthusiastically participated in the egg hunt with teens older than herself, and I was sort of relieved she did not go on for an evening with yet another group of older kids she was not acquainted with. However, she is unusually poised for 13, and she has spent a life time coping and participating with her older sister and brother’s friends, so she probably would have been comfortable if she had gone with Sam. I was the one feeling shy for her.) At the end of the day, Jeannie was home from Paducah and had taken her bike ride and picked up Cecelie shortly before I had finished helping Katherine with supper and David had come in for their television watching in the family room.

So once again at Woodsong we gathered at the kitchen table to review our days while we snacked, talked about the coming week, and headed to bed.

Jeannie has a very long list of things she must accomplish during her spring break and her week off next week—including faxing plans, if necessary, to her substitute if the art substitute for some reason is unable to be there as planned. She has total confidence that the former art teacher sub will do a good job without coaching, but for a non-art sub to keep grade school kids on task for a 45 minute period is no easy duty. But that concern is next week.

The last two days, Jeannie and Cecelie have been going around town shopping and trying to pare down Jeannie’s list. Of course, Jeannie is also enjoying the beautiful weather and roads and trails in this end of the state as she rides her bike twenty or more miles a day trying to build back up and surpass last fall’s eighty mile achievement before winter weather stopped the riding until recent weeks. After her daughter Leslie’s wedding in our village on June 23, she has plans and hopes of taking her first major bike ride.

Tonight we indulged in the Mackey’s pizza that Gerald and Cecelie brought home from Harrisburg and their Rural King visit there to get a new pedal boat. Jeannie put the bike back on the rear of the van before she and Cecelie refilled the van with their suitcases, Lucky and Leah, and Cec’s violin. I hope they have arrived at Leslie’s apartment by now and get a good night’s sleep before they tackle such things as ordering the wedding invitations and planning Cecelie’s part in the music at the wedding reception. They will be back at the farm by Thursday night for the weekend if all goes well. That is when other family members will be arriving, and Cecelie wants to be here as soon possible after her cousin Brianna arrives.

Next week they will be returning to Nashville for Leslie’s two senior music recitals at Belmont and a bridal shower on Saturday afternoon, and I will be tagging along. Consequently, I began switching winter and summer clothes today as the very warm weather is demanding, I started planning what I will wear for next week’s festivities. What with Easter coming up and a shower gift to purchase, I realize I need to make a list or two also.

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