Saturday, July 02, 2016

June 2016: A Month to Remember

June has been a special month—one we will always remember, but the memory may be somewhat blurred because so much has happened this month. Early in the month one night, I'd just organized myself on the computer to be ready the next morning to complete some necessary tasks, and I was ready to go to bed. Suddenly my screen was filled with directions from a nasty virus that I knew were not directions I should follow. And they were impossible to get rid of. So with the computer in the shop, I was not able to record trials or relish blessings as this month unfolded.

Now with my computer's repair and factory reset—whatever that means—some things are new, and I have to reenter passwords to get on sites. I still cannot email out from my one remaining email account. (Microsoft destroyed my long-standing Hotmail account one night in May with no warning, and I lost all the archives including some important research. I still had an older email account I used for genealogical correspondence that I seldom used anymore. But for some reason, now in order to send an email I have to give some information about IMAP and SMPT that I do not have. I do not even know what the screen is “talking” about. GRRRR.) So modern technology has definitely been one of my trails this June.

But enough griping! Technology is amazingly wonderful and unbelievably productive and valuable. I just wish I were more competent to use it. I also wish that people with evil intent were less competent. Why are terrorists able to mislead young adults to join their wickedness? How can we use social media instead to entice them to try love for their fellow man instead of lured toward hatred and murder?

Our children used social media to communicate between themselves and to announce to others plans for a 60th wedding anniversary party for us. They asked for our permission, which I was reluctant to give because they have busy lives and Gerald and I have busy lives. I was not sure that our celebration needed to be public. But the more I thought about it, the more I realized it would be wonderful to see friends and family, and especially it would be great for our children to have opportunity to see their extended family and their hometown friends. Two of our four children live away, and I thought it would be especially good for them. Just keep it simple was my only request.

Although the other two of our children live here, I knew in all likelihood Katherine would not be able to attend because she is so ill with advanced multiple sclerosis. That was another reason I hesitated to agree to a party. No mother wants one of her children to be left out. To survive the daily heartbreak of watching a beloved child suffer, one has to learn to not feel but to simply accept. But holidays and special events make that more difficult. No one would have enjoyed seeing everyone more than Katherine. But she was kind and understanding and accepted one more disappointment in her limited life when her efforts to attend failed.

Despite my distorted face when a gum swelled up as the dentist had warned might happen and my having to see him on Friday afternoon for an antibiotic and pain pill, Gerald and I were immediately made joyful as children and grandchildren started arriving for our special weekend. Gerry and Vickie arrived very early Thursday morning with grandsons Maddux and Payton after driving all night. Jeannie arrived after first driving from northern Illinois to Nashville, TN, attend her son-in-law Mike Thompson's graduation from the police academy there.

Because granddaughter Erin married Josh Simons right before he was sent to South Korea, we had not had the privilege of meeting our newest grandson-in-law except by social media. This spring Josh had safely returned to Fort Hood, and he and Erin have bought a house in the nearby community where she teaches. When they learned at the last minute that yes Josh could be off that weekend and they both were coming to Illinois, the party planners suddenly cooked up a last minute family wedding shower to welcome them.

What they did not realize was that Hank Williams, Jr., was in town, and there was not a restaurant in town available for a party. So Erin's Johnson family and her Glasco family gathered at Woodsong on Friday night for dinner that our daughter-in-law Vickie carried in for over 20 of us from the Blue barbecue stand down at Creal Springs. After I ate their delicious food, I understood why I'd heard so much about their business. We could stay together and visit as long as we wanted without competing with Hank on the streets of Marion. The bride and groom cut their cake and opened their presents, and our weekend celebration was off to a great start. Everyone was impressed with Josh, who was so pleasant and whose smile was contagious. We also loved meeting little Lily Mae Rongey, and people were competing to hold her. When Gerry and Vickie lived here, Vickie gave great birthday parties, and we had regular get-togethers with the Johnsons. So it was like our old good times.

We also had our first wonderful and carefully guarded surprise Friday night. Brianna had told me how disappointed she was that going back to work at Disney World this summer would cause her to miss our anniversary. When the Taylors walked in for Erin and Josh's party, beautiful Brianna was with them! She had been able to arrange to be off work and fly up just to help us celebrate.

The next morning, our children were busy at our village school multi-purpose room getting ready for the afternoon gathering. Of course my 90-year-old sister in Texas and my almost 88-year-old brother up at Mattoon could not come, but we were eagerly anticipating our local extended Glasco-Wenger families being there as well as friends. Imagine the amazement when I looked up and saw a man with a long white beard that could only be our brother-in-law Don Gamble from Rock Springs, Wyoming! And then I immediately saw Ernestine, Gerald's only sister! What a glorious surprise for all us us! And I was just as thrilled when my Goreville cousin and wife, Dick and Irma Stanley, walked in, so I had a Martin relative attending! They both looked great and we had an excellent visit—the first since the tragic unexpected death of their beautiful son Grant.

Then as friends and neighbors came in, I was so grateful for this opportunity to connect again with so many I rarely see anymore. Age and responsibilities have made our participation in community affairs very limited. There were old friends and new friends; and although with so many there at once, visits were not as long as I hungered for, I was made very happy. When our grandchildren sang “Blessed Assurance,” and then Leslie, Elijah, and Sam each sang a solo, my happiness soared even more.

All good things must end, and it was sad to see everyone depart at various times just as it had been joyous to see them arrive. It helped that Ernestine and Don visited with each brother through the following Thursday; consequently there were breakfast gatherings in Jonesboro and Marion for those who could make it.

Grandson Trent used his prize-winning camera skills to give us a great photographic record of our big day, and I am spending much time enjoying them now that my computer is home. I feel certain Gerald can be persuaded to make me hard copies, which I am even more partial to. I have also been reading and then reading again all the lovely cards and notes we received, and we are still getting them in the mail. A busy blurred June will be cherished the rest of our lives.

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