Tuesday, April 30, 2013

A Weekend at Home--Centered on Softball

The last games of the season are happening before the World Series playoffs start for women’s college softball teams.  Every game is watched with dreams of looking good enough to go to Oklahoma City. Our attention this weekend was focused on our Georgia Dawgs (ranked 23 nation wide) going up against the Florida Gators (ranked 2/3). 

Friday was Katherine’s birthday, and she had plans to get out with an aide that afternoon. For complicated reasons, she ended up needing to spend the day in bed. She had flowers and candy and an abundance of birthday cards (still on display), but was a sad day for me because I knew how she longed to get out of the house.  

After I had visited her and left our gift and card, I hurried home with a large prepared foot-long sandwich to share with Gerald as we watched the first of game of the Georgia-Florida series on his computer system. (This was a Florida TV station, I think, that we were only able to get on the computer, but he was able to put it on a larger TV screen in his office, so the view was quite good.—certainly more satisfying than Game Tracker.) 

What a time of excitement when Georgia won over this top team 3-2.  Chelsea Wilkinson shone as she pitched a career high of 12 strikeouts in seven innings.  Catcher Katie Brown hit two game-winning doubles.  It is so much fun watching our son Gerry and his daughter Tara Archibald coach and seeing our granddaughter Geri Ann on first base—especially when we win because we realize how much these Southeastern Conference victories mean right now. We went to bed a very happy.

Because of this softball series, we did not want to schedule anything else.  That is not actually accurate for me.  I badly wanted to attend the Illinois Chapter of the Trail of Tears Association meeting on Saturday because Steve and Lisa Thompson, the new young couple who bought the farm with Bridges Wayside Store on it, was hosting at that site.  This has been a long-held dream of the Illinois Chapter, but previous owners were less inclined to share with the public. I had it figured I could skip the last part of the second softball game that started at 11 a.m. and rush down to Route 146 with my lawn chair to attend.  But the reality was that it really was not doable. There was too much to do before and after that meeting, and my energy level is not what it used to be. I did start my long-neglected leg exercises that morning, change our sheets, do three loads of laundry, and other miscellaneous tasks before the game started. Menu planning for games during meal time is always a challenge.   This game was on television in the family room, so I brought down our lunch of pork chops, baked sweet potato, green beans, and pickled beets to eat as we watched. After the game and kitchen clean up, I went to Katherine’s.  

Let me share why I wanted to return to Wayside Store.  The Bridges Wayside Store on Route 146 is the only known extant building on the 1838 Trail of Tears route through our area.  It exists today only because someone in the Bridges family had enclosed it inside a barn in the 1890s. Supposedly to keep out whiskey thieves, the store’s door was covered with tightly placed nails. That door is now used as a dining room table by a Bridges descendant up in Springfield, but it was shared a few years ago at a Trail of Tears display at our area university museum.   The nearby large family home, called the Bridges Tavern, burned in 1940, and a smaller house is built on its foundation.  Like many pioneer families on early roadways, the Bridges family opened their home for travelers passing by to spend the night.  People watered their oxen and horses as well as themselves at the spring across the road.  Other pioneer travelers camped near a spring in a back field.  The Wayside Store provided needed supplies as well as liquor.  If you want to read Theresa Leschmann’s excellent article with photos of the old log store inside the barn, check out http://www.examiner.com/slideshow/bridges-wayside-store-on-the-trail-of-tears.

Since Florida defeated us 5-0 on Saturday, I was not as jubilant as the night before as I drove in for the afternoon at Katherine’s.  Gerald dropped in to stabilize the hospital bed Katherine had acquired to replace an unsatisfactory rented one. He and Dean Newbold had picked it up and moved the bed in for her, but one lock was missing on a back leg.  While Gerald was there, he helped her find and hit the record button for Sunday’s game that was to be televised.   I visited with Katherine until the night aide arrived at l0, and then went home for a quick review of II Timothy 3, which was the Bible lesson for the next morning.

After church on Sunday, I hurried to pick up a couple pizzas to go watch with Katherine the ending of the third Georgia-Florida game, which we thought was to be on a channel they have and we don’t. She was still in bed with the aide just getting her up when I arrived, and the television not on.  I am inept with modern television sets, but I thought I could find the game since I do help her find programs.  (I admit to longing for the days when television screens were controlled by a simple on and off button.)  To my disappointment and others in our area, the game was blocked on that channel.  I hurried to Katherine’s computer and watched Game Tracker to see us defeated 5-0.  Nevertheless, there were some great plays made by Georgia.  I could not feel too bad that in this series, we had our fourth win against a ranked team. 

After Katherine was up, since the Sunday game she thought was recorded was blocked (some kind of agreement the channel screen explained), she discovered that she did have Friday’s game recorded!  So the aide and Katherine and I ate pizza and watched the winning game, which was more fun that the other one anyhow.

Before Shirley Johnson (a special friend to Katherine and our daughter-in-law’s mother that I often refer to as Gma Shirley) arrived to spend the evening before the night aide came, I went on home with left-over pizza to feed Gerald.  By this time he was busy instructing grandson Sam on the use of the new boat motor.  Sam and friend Josh and a couple of cute girls had spent the chilly and muddy  afternoon fishing down at the lake, riding the Gator, and finished off with a boat ride. 
Interestingly, during the evening, Gerald found the Sunday blocked game on another channel that appeared after he had called complaining about the game being blocked.  So we watched already knowing the outcome and disappointed, of course, that Florida won two of the three games, but justifiable proud that we had played well against one of the best teams in the nation.

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