Tall corn stalks are now brown. As we drove our granddaughter Geri Ann over to see Garden of the Gods and to have supper on the river at Elizabethtown, we saw the first harvest going on just east of Harrisburg. A wagon load of shelled corn provided a golden bit of color along the highway where green leaves still dominate. Soon, however, a drive through Shawnee National Forrest will be multi-colored and we will exalt at its beauty, but being surrounded with the great greenness of summer is also a beautiful drive.
We have enjoyed Geri Ann's visit after she finished her first summer's professional softball with the Akron Racers. Her friend Cece had picked her up at the Saint Louis air port and brought her to the farm the next day. For over a week, Geri Ann was in and out of Woodsong while visiting her other grandmother and her Johnston City friends. Getting to help care for Cece's five-month-old Matthew was one of her special blessings, and helping Allison start looking for bridal finery was another.
Vickie, our daughter-in-law, arrived Thursday night at Woodsong in order to visit her mother and the rest of the Johnson family and to attend the Crab Orchard High School reunion of the 1975, 1976, and 1977 classes at the school multi-purpose room. We enjoyed seeing the posted photos of the teenagers we knew forty years ago. In my mind's eye, I still see them as they looked then, and some I recognized and others I did not. I liked hearing updates on them. Vickie really enjoyed visiting with her long-ago friends, and everyone was rightfully praising LaRonda, who has been so generous with her time and talent in arranging COHS get-togethers. Already she has been enlisted to plan another in two years for all the graduates in the 1970 decade. Gerry was disappointed he was unable to attend this one because A&M had a gathering of softball recruits during this weekend with the first football game of the season. Maybe he will be able to come two years from now.
Geri Ann was able to spend some weekend nights with the Taylors and enjoy Brianna and Trent being home from Murray and Southern Illinois University Carbondale. She even was initiated into the college sport of Quidditch which she and Bri attended at SIUC to watch Trent play. They had to explain this Harry Potter game to me as best they could even though the players use a substitute for brooms and do not actually fly like they did in the book.
Brian and Mary Ellen prepared a wonderful evening meal for us Labor Day Sunday, When Gerald and I stepped from our car, we were greeted by the smell of burgers Brian was cooking on the fire pit. Inside the table was set for an indoor picnic, and Mary Ellen and Brianna were busy with side dishes while we caught up with Trent on his life on a new campus. Vickie and Geri Ann were also scheduled to be there later after they finished the Johnson family's early celebration of Gma Shirley's birthday. Hearing the laughter and noise of the three cousins greeting each other for their second weekend was almost as pleasurable as the delicious food. Brian is busy preparing for harvest and Mary Ellen is busy with duties selling reality, so this holiday gathering was especially appreciated; and to top it off, Mary Ellen insisted on sending left-overs home with us for yesterday's lunch. Vickie and Geri Ann had left early yesterday morning to drive back to Texas, and we were grateful when we learned they were safely back home.
Even though I've had to face the fact that it has been 40 years since I was involved with COHS teenagers and that I can no longer safely climb the rocks at Garden of the Gods as I used to do, I can adjust to life's changes. While Gerald and Geri Ann went on down the rough rocky walk to see the view from higher places, I rested on a bench surrounded by tall pines and oaks and relished the sound and feel of the cool breeze after the previous week's 90 degree weather. The shorter sassafras had already dropped bright red leaves on the sidewalk at my feet to announce summer was coming to an end. A red bud had replaced beautiful spring blossoms with its still green heart-shaped leaves, but its limbs now contained brown seed pods insuring life would go on in the forest. Every season has its beauty, and so does this in-between season on the edge of autumn.