David and Sadie

Grandson David loves dogs and will have one of his own some day. Meanwhile, he is doting on guest dog Sadie. Any time she is in the house and he is not working, he will play with her. This is Sadie Sunshine Bear spending time with David.

Sadie is staying here with her owner Rose, friend of our son John $pencer. He and Rose are with us, gearing up for a nine-day hike on the Mountain to Sea Trail. They will be in the mountainous part, hiking toward Mount Mitchel, the highest point in the Eastern United States. To me it is a nine-day wonder, because they plan to hike ten miles a day. The tricky part is that there will be no easy access to stores from the trail. That means they must carry all their food with them, to be re-hydrated on the trail. Food is heavy. Sadie needs to help carry her own food, and she wore her empty saddle bag for a while to get used to it.

Normally Sadie is a bundle of energy, never still for long. She rushes headlong from one person to another and from one activity to another. As soon as they put her wearable suitcase on her, she stood still and looked at us with soulful eyes. David felt so sorry for her that he fetched her water bowl and favorite ball. She lay under the table for a long time, not even moving her tail. I would never have guessed the gizmo could turn her from an animated animal to a zombie. We could have used that kind of magic occasionally when she was jumping up on us. However, David and I hated to see the joy of living sucked out of her. She will wear the pack a few times a day until she gets used to it.

A Non-photo Mother’s Day

My Mother’s Day celebration had the usual niceties, which included greetings, a long-stemmed rose from church, texts, hugs, dinner in a restaurant (a first for us!), visits, gifts, a nap, and an assortment of cheesecake slices. What could be missing? Photographs! I was wearing a lovely top from niece Julie which she had under-grown, so I wasn’t ashamed of myself. Everyone else looked good, but I didn’t feel like pulling rank to demand a group photo. Not a single one of them would have jumped up and exclaimed, “What a good idea!”

Logan came over Mother’s Day Eve (not that there is such a title) and shared a luscious strawberry-chocolate cake for Easter/Mother’s Day. He readily agreed to pose with the cake. He will likely grow up to be a photo-hater, so I am going to take advantage of his willingness as long as it lasts. John, David, and I ate large slices of the cake that evening and enjoyed every bite. Thank you Shawn, Bob, and Logan.

                                             Logan posed with the cake

The day after Mother’s Day, son John $pencer showed us his singing bowl from Nepal. It is a hand-hammered metal bowl, shiny and quite heavy. He put it on the table on a holder that looks like a chocolate-covered donut. He struck the bowl with what looked like a lint brush – a wooden thing covered on one end with felt. Quickly he began moving the felt end around the edge, making the bowl hum softly. I don’t know how long one would be played in Nepal, maybe until everyone is hypnotized.

Son John $ played his singing bowl

$ let me try, and I couldn’t make it sing like he did. I shrugged and turned to David. David was a natural. He used the alternate way of holding the wooden thingy, using the wood instead of the felt to rub the rim. The tone was higher and louder. Bless him, David didn’t smirk at having succeeded where I failed.

As he put the bowl away, $ told us a player in Nepal would often sit Indian-fashion, cradling the bowl in his lap to play it. Several people might play their bowls at the same time, but he didn’t know an average number for a group. The instruments come in all sizes.

Even though there is no photographic evidence, I had a lovely Mother’s Day. Thank you, one and all.

Delayed Birthday Celebrations

One and two months after their respective birthdays, we got together to celebrate with John’s sister Chris and her husband Steve. We both drove a couple of hours, meeting halfway between our homes in North and South Carolina. It’s always a delight to be together and visit. We met in our usual spot for lunch, Olive Garden. The staff has always let us stay as long as we wanted to. It is marvelous to not be hurried. Niece Chrissie (their daughter) and I had texted before we drove down. She sent greetings to her parents and asked for a photo. I sent one of John and her parents from the restaurant, and she commented that I was missing. We took another, using a mirror, to get the four of us together. This has been edited and cropped, but it’s for you, Chrissie.

Anne and John; Steve and Chris

We had a long goodbye in the parking lot, because we still had a lot to say. I figured we stayed long enough that we needed another photo.

A Day with Nathaniel

A summary of our day is this: we drove to Charlotte, spent the day with Nathaniel, and came home. Those of few words could quit reading now and be satisfied.

The first half of the morning drive was in heavy rain. John had to concentrate on driving, and I could see little of the beautiful mountain scenery beyond the mist and fog. Thank heavens the day improved, with only intermittent showers the rest of the day.

Parking for the uptown church was in a garage next door. By scanning the ticket inside the church, the fee was waived. The skyscrapers of the city center are only a few blocks from the university campus, so Nathaniel walked around the area to pick out a church to attend when he started there last September. Walking in the church made this grandmother’s heart warm, as people greeted Nathaniel. They knew him. Think of it! He began going there when he was 18 years old and far from all his family and friends. The clergyman Nathaniel introduced to us commented that Nate was more regular in attendance than many of the other parishioners.

I took a photo from the back pew, Nathaniel’s usual seat, before people began to come in for the service. Immediately behind us was an aisle, a slightly raised section for the choir, and the beautiful organ. After the service, several choir members and the choir director greeted us. One man in particular spoke of chatting with Nathaniel from time to time.

I realized the photo Nathaniel sent me a few weeks ago was not the front of the church, but a gorgeous view of the back. I should have noticed which way the pews were facing.

I took only one photo of our brunch venue. What a typical family picture it was! I announced I was going to take it, stood up beside the table, aimed the camera, again asked people to look at me, and pressed the shutter. One was paying attention. The other two are constant punsters. I’m sure they assumed I was pressing the shudder button.

Who would have thought it would be difficult to find a place to chat on a Sunday afternoon? If there were a free place to park a car in the business district, we didn’t find it. We looked for a park, but it had metered parking on the perimeter only. We found a former church, now housing a charity, with a parking lot in the shade. We sat there to visit. After several minutes, I realized I could see Nathaniel’s face in the outside mirror, the mirror that tells you objects are closer than you think. Duh! His long toes were wedged under my seat. I would have squirmed if he had wiggled them under me.

The boys posed for one closeup as we said goodbye on the campus. We had a wonderful time together and hated to see the day end.

Easter Egg Hunt for Logan and Lily

Neighbor Logan (8) and his niece Lily (6) asked to come over to visit a couple of weeks after Easter. As they looked about for things to do, Logan suggested playing with a balloon. Knowing where we keep them, he ran to fetch one. We batted it about for a while, then they spotted two Easter baskets John had put out for decoration. The children wanted us to hide them. We had not hidden eggs for years, but the eggs were there and willing. Lily opened a plastic egg or two, asking if there were anything in them. All 15 were empty. We set no rules, so the children ran back in the room, grabbing eggs as fast as they could. Logan had the advantage, finding three times more than Lily.

Lily and Logan

When Logan first began coming to our house, he was not tall enough to see things on the kitchen counter. He is now. While hunting for eggs, he spotted a tiny glass container holding M&Ms and immediately knew how to get permission to eat them. He asked if they could put one candy in each egg and if I would hide them again. He specifically said there were not enough candies for two in each egg, so there were fewer than 30 pieces there. Both children opened the eggs and loaded them up. I hid them again, but there was a new rule in place as they began to hunt. Lily would find the first one, and they would take turns until all were found. When the candy was eaten, the children decided it was time to go home. Before they left, I requested two photos – one with silly faces and one with smiles.

Silly faces by Lily and Logan

I laughed later when I saw the M&M container was empty. The children must have disposed of the few extra ones after the eggs were loaded. I don’t know that children keep us young, but they do inspire mental diligence.

Mountain Events and Sights

While I chatted with neighbor Shawn, she said, “With your husband and Dawn’s away, we ought to get together on the porch and chat. The next morning I sent texts to the ladies of the neighborhood. All but the clown could come. (Marla was dressed as a clown for an event in Cherokee.) There was one more person to include, because Joyce told me that Frankie had come back after being away for several months. The gathering morphed into a reunion and a black-out party. Our power went out mid-afternoon, because high winds knocked down an oak tree in the mountains, severing lines to our town. I told everyone to bring their cell phones to recharge, since our generator was on. It was wonderful to be together again to catch up on news. During cold months, we don’t see each other outside very often.

Joyce, Connie, Dawn, Connie, and Frankie

Neither John nor I noticed the Jeep until neighbor Nancy pointed it out as we walked by. It was her husband’s vehicle that died. He was only a few miles from home when the transmission broke. It wouldn’t go forward, but it could back up. Their sons went to help him, and they drove it backwards all the way home. That included a stretch on the four lane divided highway! She said they were laughing and took photos and videos of the event. Her husband said, “I’m gonna put a fork in it and call it done.”

The looks of the Jeep and the story made us laugh. John said, “I’d tell people I came to a fork in the road.”

The defunct Jeep: ” I’ll put a fork in it and call it done>”

After church on Sunday we went to Pearson’s Waterfall near Tryon. I was thinking of grandson Nathaniel, knowing he was flying back to NC after having competed in the J&W Iron Chef event. A quick text brought a reply; he was in the airport waiting for his flight. David agreed to pose by the stream on the way up to the falls, and we sent the photo to him. On the way down the mountain, we lost all bars, but we were together in spirit.

We had the official photo of David and John to prove we were there at the falls. I laughed when I saw the picture on a larger screen, because it looks like the water is falling over the rocks and continuing over David’s shirt. David was not wet, but we all enjoyed the cool mist coming off the falls.