Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Life Goes On

Our niece Vicki Sue picked up Ernestine, Leah, and Emerson yesterday afternoon to take them up to the Saint Louis airport. It was sad to see them go, but little Emmy’s antics kept us smiling during the repeated hugs and reluctant goodbyes. While the trunk was being loaded with luggage, Emmy helped me water the flowers again and she had opportunity to tell Jake goodbye there in the driveway.

Probably I am one of the few to use both of Vickie Sue’s names. But when I came into the family, she was called that, and I remember well that beautiful little blonde when she was Emmy’s age. I have persisted in using both her names, however, because before she married Ernie Escue, we had three Vickie/Vicki Glascos in our family. The two spelled “Vickie” even had their medical records mixed up once before our daughter-in-law moved from the region. So I have designated these three “our Vickie” for our daughter-in-law, “DuWayne’s Vickie” for our niece-in-law and Vicki Sue for our niece. It saves time and confusion sometimes to use the designations, and I enjoy the memories of the little blonde that name conjures up for me.

One of the challenges of aging is coping with the piling up of memories on top of each other. Just when I thought I had our large extended family figured out, the children grew up and got married, and new generations came about, and it is now happening yet again. Now I have to think hard sometimes to keep from calling a young woman by her mother’s name. It seems so impossible that little Vicki Sue is a grandmother. Life goes on.

Although we did not get around to having a family reunion during this visit by Ernestine, we did create memories. The Old Homeplace is a pleasant restaurant in Goreville in Johnson County, and it lies between Union and Williamson Counties, where most of our clan lives. Those who could make it met there for dinner one night, and then the traditional brothers’ breakfast was also there. Since their brother Kenny’s death, often the three remaining brothers only fill one table with just them and our sister-in-law Ginger and maybe a nephew or grandchild or two. But quite a few tables had to be put together for the fifteen who breakfasted together on Saturday. Kenny’s son Bryce was there to everyone’s joy, and Ernestine and crew and Vicki Sue had lunched with her Aunt Opal and her cousin Kyna the day before. Life goes on.

Our daughter Mary Ellen was down from central Illinois and was able to make the breakfast. Then after she and Brianna returned from taking Trent to his friend’s graduation party Saturday night, their family was sleeping at the new place they have bought where they had been renting a large building to store their combine this winter. Brian and a young farm hand are still busy farming, but Mary Ellen was using her Memorial Day off to paint some of the rooms in their new Williamson County home.

She and Brianna came over on Sunday afternoon to watch the last day of the NCAA Super Regional softball tournament on television. Because the Saturday 3-2 game had been so very close, and I was convinced that a Georgia player called out at home had really been safe, I expected Georgia to come back and win that second game. This would cause the two teams to play a third game since the tournament winner had to win two out of three games to be one of the eight teams to go on to the NCAA World Series in Oklahoma City.

That is exactly what happened. Senior pitcher Erin Arevalo gave up just two hits to earn a complete game win of 1-0. After Garry and Ginger showed up to say a final farewell to Ernestine and family, there were nine of us in the Woodsong family room rooting for Georgia and getting especially excited when we saw Gerry or Tara. I was up in the kitchen briefly and missed seeing Vickie, Brian, Aidan, and Maddux in the crowd.

Thirty minutes later after our win, the third game was played in that Knoxville heat. The game remained scoreless for four innings. Again Erin Arevalo pitched. Then Georgia scored and we thought the game was ours. But two runs by Tennessee in the sixth inning gave them the game. It broke our hearts for Erin Arevalo, who had given such a stellar performance, to not go back to the World Series as a senior. We could tell it broke all the Georgia players’ hearts and certainly Tara’s. But if anyone beat them, Georgia would want it to be Tennessee, another SEC team filled with friends. Life goes on.

Partly to get our minds off the game, but mostly to please Emmy, we piled into the car and went to Barb and Keith’s for the evening so Emmy could play with their great granddaughter Gracie, who I think had just finished second grade. She was visiting and had brought the three fat little puppies in the house.

Gracie and Emmy were immediately enraptured with each other—Gracie being proud of taking care of Emmy and Emmy delighting in being considered a big girl to play with Gracie. They went into the room Barbara has always used for kids, and wallowed with the puppies on the carpet there. Leah and the rest of us adults were not allowed in there, but ever so often the two little girls would come out either to get one of Barbara’s throws to wrap a puppy in or to show us something, including Gracie pushing Emmy on Barbara’ s fancy walker with the three pups snuggling in its large basket. Of course, Emmy would have stayed forever, but eventually we had to go although we did run by the Cedars’ house one more time so that they could say goodbye to Katherine, David, and Sam.

Yesterday morning was reserved for breakfast, packing, and lunch. There was more visiting when Mary Ellen came over to say goodbye and bring Emmy a stuffed animal gift to remember her trip with, and then she returned to her paint work. Lunch was leftovers from the week, and then the afternoon leave taking took over when Vicki arrived.

Gerald and I had just finished supper, and he’d gone back outside to work. I’d cleaned the supper dishes and gone out on the deck to read and swing awhile. And then three grandkids—Trent, Brianna, and Sam--showed up with the explanation that their mom had evidently had enough of their help with the painting. They were in top form enjoying being together, and were soon swinging on the deck while Gerald and I sat with them in lawn chairs there. After milk and cookies at the kitchen table, they went down to their grandkid den to do whatever they find to do there—always something different—and they also visited my computer to connect with friends before they headed home. Life goes on.

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