Sunday, December 31, 2017

2017 Has Been a Busy Year

I did not get any Christmas cards sent this year.  I’ll plead that I was simply too busy to take the time to do so, but I’m sure each of those friends and family members who sent us cards was equally busy.  Perhaps I’ll plan better next year.

2017 started out with the marriage of my son Stephen to his lovely Laura.  The wedding was attended by a modest gathering of family and friends, and I was particularly happy that both my parents and step mother were able to make the trip to Virginia to attend the wedding.

Two weeks later, Dad suffered his second stroke, resulting in hospitalization, discovery of a broken back, surgery, rehab, and, for me, an opportunity to spend a lot more time with my second mother, as she nursed him back to health.  While the nurses, aides, physical and occupational therapists would have led us to believe Dad would need 24 X 7 nursing care, Lynne was confident that, once home, he would find his way to a more normal lifestyle.  She was correct, and Dad has enjoyed the remainder of 2017 without serious incident… knock on wood!

I took a week off from work in July to attend eBay Open in Las Vegas.  I had a fun time and learned some things that, should I put them into practice, might actually result in more eBay sales…. But, time is what I need and time is what I don’t really have a lot of right now.  Maybe one day.

In September, my sister took a spill, resulting in a broken humerus.  10 days later she had surgery to install a plate in the arm.  I opted to spend the week days with her at her house in MD, driving her to and from work, as she was not allowed to drive whilst her arm was in the sling.  I had a great time, spending one on one time with my sister – something we had not had the opportunity to do in more than 40 years. 

About one month into my time with my sister, whilst I was on the road driving to McLean, VA for work, I got a call from a MD hospital, letting me know my mother had been admitted after an accidental fall.  I called work to let them know I had to make a detour.  At the hospital, my groggy mother relayed the accident, which had happened the night before when she was undressing for bed. Thankfully, she has the life alert system and was able to call for assistance. Unfortunately, her fall resulted in fractures (3) in her left leg.  So, it was hospitalization followed by rehab.  She is well on the mend now, but will require at least another month in the rehab.

So, my Q3 2017 was spent driving up and back between our little farmette in VA and my families’ places in various parts of MD.  Throw in a couple of work trips to CA and Utah, and a few jaunts over to enjoy my grandkids and their parents, and it is easy to see how I have managed to rack up loads of frequent flier miles, and listened to dozens of audio books.  2017 has been a traveling year!

Meanwhile, we had some “firsts.”  The lovely Miss Eloise started kindergarten, and loves school.  She is becoming a happy, talented student and sets an excellent example for her little brother Luca.  At 6 and 3 years old, they are always happy to spend time on the farm, and always enjoy when Gakki comes to visit them at their house.

Stephen and Laura welcomed their first child into the world and their home on December 27… just in time for a late Christmas present and a 2017 tax deduction. Ian is a beautiful baby, and is well loved. This Gakki is thrilled to now have three beautiful grandchildren.

Back on the farmette, Joe has continued the various construction projects, and road building projects.  I am pretty sure that for each project completed, he adds three more to the list!  It is rewarding, though sometimes a bit overwhelming, especially when I have been away so much of the time.

So, as we head into 2018, I wish all of my family and friends good health, happiness and comfort.  We, will try to do the same. 

Sunday, September 3, 2017

A Tent, Six Kids and Free Time

The year was 1967.  The place was the backyard of our Levitt built home in Bowie, MD.  The months were June-August.  The participants were six children, ranging in age from 3-10.  The draw was the yellow canvas tent, erected toward the back of that yard.

We were always a tight group of kids, bonded both by blood and by common experience, as we were siblings -- two girls and four boys, in that order.  Summertime was generally spent outdoors, if Mom had her way, while she remained in the house, knitting, reading, and occasionally interjecting "suggestions" of chores that could be performed, should any of us opt to escape the heat and relax indoors. 

We were not raised with television.  We were raised reading books, playing board games, chess, and bridge, but those indoor activities were preferred for rainy days and evenings.  Sunshine is good for children and so we got our daily dose, playing outdoors. So it was that the tent, erected in the back yard, became a place where we played, performing with each other and for each other. Sometimes neighbor kids were drawn to join in our fun.

A favorite role-playing game of ours was "church."  The tent was our church and either Jeannie (my older, much taller and wiser sister) or I would generally take on the role of the Priest.  The rest of the siblings, and any neighbors, were the congregation.  In our most powerful priest-voice imitations, we would recite the long-committed-to-memory words we heard every Sunday in our local Episcopal church.  Our tent-church, however, was limited to the reciting of the Lord's Prayer, the reciting of the 23 Psalm and rite of holy communion -- our wine being kool-aid and our bread being regular bread rather than the wafers we observed the adults consuming in the real church.

One would think this activity good for only a few minutes, but memory seems to suggest this favorite activity of ours lasted well more than a few minutes, and was repeated on a regular basis.  For years later, as an adult, long since my any attendance at an Episcopal service, I would flashback to that scene in the canvas tent, and the "script" would fall easily from my lips, the words bringing with them the innocence and simplicity of our youth.

Yesterday, during a family get-together at Dad and Lynne's, my sister asked if anyone remembered playing church in the backyard as children.  Without even a second of hesitation, though fifty years have passed, Ray, a mere 3 year old in 1967, and I, laughed at the memory.  Yes, we remembered.  As if it were yesterday.

I don't have any photos of those fun times, but enjoyed reminiscing about those memories with the four siblings present yesterday.  Thank you for the memories!