Life at Woodsong has been different this past week as a couple of our kids were in and out all week. Jeannie started the visits on the 8th. She had texted she might be down for a one-day visit if she could get her school work done enough to feel free to come. Next she said she was definitely coming, but she would have to attend a funeral at Johnston City during the brief time she was here. She did arrive that Saturday morning having stopped at motel on the way down. We had a good visit before she needed to leave for the funeral,
Come to find out, a very dear Freeport friend's mother had been on life support and had died upstate, but was being brought down state to be buried by her husband in one of our area cemeteries. Since Jeannie was already hoping to come down, that made it possible for her to attend the funeral.
After the funeral back at Woodsong, we continued catching up. I had been eager to hear about how she was adjusting to teaching art with kindergarten through fifth graders. I was afraid she would not enjoy working with younger kids, but I think she is enjoying the challenge. She teaches at two schools this year. One has a small art room; but at the other school, she has to teach from a cart in other teachers' classrooms. Now that is a challenge! Altogether she sees 500 students, so I do not know how she will be able to know her students very well. There is evidently sometimes another new art teacher co-teaching, but I did not understand how that works. I cannot imagine how one teaches from a cart going from room to room! Yet she does. She has been teaching already about lines and curves, and I saw some of the simple sculptures of colored paper strips made by students.
She had insisted she wanted to take us to dinner Saturday night, so we let her. That was very nice since there was no clean up--and then we came home for more visiting. Finally after her daddy went to bed, we ended up in the living room with Jeannie on the couch along with piles of small blue rectangles containing bolts. Lighting bolts, that is. Bolts on the blue flags. One of the two elementary schools she has shifted to from middle school are called Bolts—not bulldogs or cardinals or some ethnic group that would be criticized but Bolts! The kids would be walking in the high school Homecoming parade and waving their flags, and she was taping on crepe paper streamers before the kids taped on pencils to hold the flags to wave. Although Jeannie has never been a “Let's all do the same thing” kind of art teacher, there were lessons used with the flags. The difference between students' work was interesting. Some of the hand drawn bolts were quite clearly bolts and showed talent and/or neatness. Some few were almost blobs, and probably those children whose past had contained little manipulation of paper, scissors, and creating learned the most from the experience.
A couch full of art stuff was so typical of one of Jeannie's visits that I had to laugh. One pre-Christmas visit she was helping students create 1,000 cranes for decoration. Everyone at Woodsong was invited to join in that Origami project. I had never heard the Chinese/Japanese legend of their crane that lived a 1000 years and that making 1000 cranes would let a person's wish come true. From the 1700s until now, many people have found themselves trying to create 1000 paper birds. The cranes had life-long mates and came to stand for loyalty and faithfulness. They also have come to stand for world peace and healing and almost all good things. If you want to know more about the paper cranes, you might want to read Ari Beser's post “How Paper Cranes Became Symbols of Healing in Japan.”
We talked and talked as Jeannie taped the streamers on the flags, and it was much too late when we went to bed since she was leaving at 5:30 Sunday morning planning on stopping somewhere along the way to attend a worship service. Gerald, of course, was up at 5:30 and saw her off on her way upstate after the too-brief visit.
Soon our minds were focused on the coming visit of Gerry who was on his way from Texas. His bedroom was waiting for him; but it was actually already day time when he arrived on Monday after a two-hour sleep in the truck on his way here. (Yes, he did take a nap after arriving.) Bouncing around in our side yard were three adorable puppies--curly-headed black Boykin spaniels, which Gerry explained were the only hunting dog developed in he United States. He also had Vickie's Nelly because she was in heat, and also Jake, who used to live at Woodsong. One of the puppies was for Gerry's cousin DuWayne, who was good enough to keep all of them and also Nelly while Gerry traveled in and out of Woodsong. When DuWayne brought the Boykins back on Friday night and helped Gerry prepare for the trip back to Texas, he reported the grandkids there had a blast with these sweet good-natured puppies.
Jake stayed with us and acted as though he remembered everyone, and to my delight, he still ran with his little tail curled. (Unfortunately, he also still stayed at Gerald's feet making him have to slow down and watch out for tripping. So Jake went back to Texas after his visit home.)
Throughout the week, we had visiting time with Gerry—especially Gerald who was always helping when Gerry was here at the farm. Gerry was actually here on dog business, and I couldn't keep up with it all. There were bird dog deliveries or purchases at Atlanta and Birmingham and up near Chicago. And there were visits to Union County and with dog/hunting friends in Paulton and Hamilton County. Because his time schedule was so dependent on dogs and other people, Gerry insisted I not cook for him. However, as is typical of his visits, soon there was a plastic pail full of dove carcasses soaking in water in the garage fridge. Although he planned to run to town and get us barbecues, I think he liked it that I had already started frying the doves to go with biscuits and gravy for that supper. At least he bragged on it, and I felt I did a good job of seasoning everything.
Mary Ellen came over to see him when he wasn't here, so I had a good visit with her. And I even had a brief visit with our nephew Bryce.
When Gerry pulled out of the driveway Saturday morning in his pick-up followed by a trailer full of bird dogs, we recalled those long-ago trips to Mexico for a season of hunting at his lodge. He delivered dogs and arrived home in time to rest up for his job at A&M.
The day after Gerry left, Gerald found the news release from the ScrapYard Dawgs announcing Gerry as head coach for the 2017 National Professional Fastpitch season. Guess this means we have one more team to follow next summer after the college softball season ends. Probably this is a good thing for us. Doctor, eye, hearing, and dental appointments are our major activities in this decade of life! If the kids had not come, that was all I would have had to write about!