Tuesday, September 01, 2015

September Starts with a Visit from Gerry

Together Gerald and I stood at the garage door and watched our son depart down our long driveway in his rented white van with a trailer full of dogs behind. He had called Gerald that he was coming on bird dog business and invited Gerald to ride up north with him, but Gerald could not accept because of a dental appointment. So Gerry only came by Woodsong on his way back from northern Illinois.

Sometime after 2 this morning, he arrived after long journeys to Louisiana and then up north with little sleep, and he fell into bed where I had left the lamp on for him. (I was in bed but still awake at 2, so that is how I know it was after 2.) Gerald had gone to bed early as usual but then woke up and was up when Gerry arrived. I slept until after 9 as usual, but Gerald and Gerry had already been up early taking care of the dogs and visiting a sick friend of Gerry in another town and back to the farm before lunch. Gerald had already brought in tomatoes from the garden to send with Gerry to Texas. Tomato recipients keep telling us they are the best tomatoes they’ve ever eaten. (I am inclined to think that enjoying delicious garden ripened tomatoes is sort of like every year believing your Christmas tree is the most beautiful one yet.)

Sliced tomatoes were on the lunch table with spaghetti that I’d planned before I knew Gerry was coming. But in his honor, I did slice up okra, dip it in cornmeal, and fry it in oil the way my mother-in-law taught me and the way our kids and grandkids like it. Gerry’s response was gratifying. And we had Gerald’s watermelon for dessert.

Then Gerald and Gerry picked the okra to send home with him and loaded in the tomatoes, watermelons, and cantaloupes. Knowing our three great grandsons would be eating the melons was very pleasing to Gerald since he had heard how much they liked the ones in sent home with them after their visit at the first of August.

Gerry told us at lunch that those three little guys were surprised at the seeds since their store-purchased ones had been seedless. I have smiled all afternoon guessing what three little boys were going to be doing with stray watermelon seeds in their mouths. Fortunately, their parents handle three boys beautifully and understand mischief like that. And fortunately, these three have good manners and kind hearts as well as all-boy energy and normal brotherly aggression.

Our social life this summer has included a trip to see friends in Ziegler and being invited to enjoy an area-famous loose beef sandwich at Maid-Rite in Christopher, visiting new friends and touring their antique-filled home including their bedroom with her wedding gown from over 50 years ago displayed on a manikin, and then seeing lots of friends from near and far at Katie and Alan Ozment’s 50th wedding celebration. Of course, Gerald regularly goes down home to Jonesboro to join brothers and nephews and others for breakfast at JR’s. (He takes any house guest willing to get up at 5 a.m. to make this gathering.) And a dear friend from down there phoned when their classmate and wife came down from Peoria for the McClure reunion; so once again we joined this group for supper in the back room at Anna’s Mexican restaurant.

Another summer highlight came last Friday when Gerald was caught up with all his projects and invited me to take off for a late lunch at the restaurant at top of Pirate’s Bluff looking out over the Ohio River at Cave-in-Rock State Park. The thick greenery beside the road and the deep summer green of the trees on the hills and in the hollows of Shawnee National Forest made the trip there especially lovely. I had never before seen hummingbird feeders held by rubber suction cups, but those feeders on the windowed view of the river and the large potted flowers on the deck outside brought hummingbirds and butterflies to enliven our lunch with their beauty. We spent the rest of the day driving along the river and enjoying the river towns we both find charming. Soon we may be returning as we often do to enjoy the fall coloration so abundant there, but I was grateful to be able to see this season’s green glory.

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