First, I’ll show you the cast of characters.
We’ll go back to the beginning of the day to get a proper start. It was supposed to get cold in the night. Often the weather doesn’t get as dramatic as the weatherman wants, but I took the new fountain in, anyway. Before we went walking in the morning, I stepped on the deck. The hummingbird moat was frozen, and so was the birdbath. I pressed down with a thumb as hard as I could, and the ice didn’t even creak. A dove tried to get a drink, so I filled a watering pot with hot water to pour over the ice. By the time we got home from walking, the temp had already risen ten degrees. We wore jackets after breakfast as we started out for the next lowest southern state.
John’s New York sister Barbara and husband Thom flew to South Carolina to be with the other sister Chris and husband Steve. For about 50 years we lived near each other and celebrated birthdays and holidays together. We were delighted they thought of meeting halfway, so that we could share a meal and visit for several hours. There were two things that I thought were significant. I don’t want to disprove NY friend Al’s theory, but he says you can’t have a group of older people without a discussion of ailments and medications. Never once did we bring up those topics! In all fairness, we talked about those things via telephone when they were pertinent. My other observation is that our phones were not out except to check a couple of things and to take photographs. Wait staff at the restaurant took the picture of the six of us. There were no silences to be filled.
Steve talked about an air show and some of the amazing things he saw. I was most happy to have heard about it and not experienced the three-hour wait to get out of the parking area. We asked Thom about his upcoming installation as a deacon, wanting to be there to participate at the end of his two-year course.
If we had an agenda, catching up on news would be considered new business. I had recently seen or texted Chris and Steve’s daughters and didn’t need to ask about them. Before we sat down, we asked for a quick comment about Barbara and Thom’s recent babysitting of their youngest granddaughter near Boston. A few days before, we had talked on the phone about the grandchildren who are in walking distance of their house in NY. Missing were accounts of the twins and their six boys in Maryland. That was a big hole, left unfilled.
Barbara asked about two of our children, Lise and John $. I’m kicking myself for not asking about our daughter Kate. Barbara and Thom see Kate every other week, which is about ten times the amount of time we see her.
In our imaginary agenda, I put questions about childhood under “old business”. Any number of times, John has said he should ask his sisters about their memories. Just recently he wondered about what they had for breakfast growing up. He thought they had orange juice, bacon, an egg, toast, cereal, and milk on weekday mornings. I questioned it, knowing his mother did not particularly like to cook. John was right! They had that every day! I always admired Mom, but my view of her went up another hundred miles. Chris talked about “egg nog” that Mom occasionally prepared. She beat the egg whites and yolks separately, added milk and chocolate sauce, and served in a glass. This was visually exciting when the liquid formed layers in the glass.
In reviewing our marvelous mini-reunion, I’m thinking I need a written agenda. I missed too many people I really wanted to know about.