Catherine and Lars (niece and nephew) invited us to their place to see an old chair John had given to Lars. Lars had it reupholstered, and it was lovely. When our grandchildren were young, John would sit in the chair and hold them to watch train videos. Good posture was not possible in that put-you-to-sleep chair. It was almost guaranteed to knock you out in 15 minutes. I took a turn sitting in it, but I got up before sleep overcame me.
John’s sister Barbara and Thom were there, too. Barbara took her grandson Thomas out to swing. Nathaniel went out shortly afterwards and was soon swinging the four-year-old. I stepped outside to text grandson David who was sick as a dog back at our house. I told him where to find medicine and how to make Jell-o. I overheard Nathaniel ask Thomas what he liked to do. The boy replied, and then he asked Nathaniel the same question. Nate answered that he liked to bake and said he’d make Thomas a cake or some cookies the next time they were together. This shy little boy was having a real conversation! I was amazed. There was give and take, with questions asked and answered. I know teenagers who can’t do that!!! The two stayed outside most of the time we were there.
Inside, Lars showed us the illustrated manuscript he did. He assigned his students a project of doing an illustrated page, giving them three months to finish. He wanted them to know first-hand how time-consuming it was. How long did it take for him to finish the big one? One whole year! Catherine had it framed for him as a gift. Lars has been interested in history almost all his life. [He has published four books: Lost to the West: The Forgotten Byzantine Empire, The Normans: From Raiders to Kings, The Sea Wolves: A History of the Vikings,and In Distant Lands: A Short History of the Crusades.]
Before we left, I asked for a group picture. Barbara and Thom posed with Lars and Catherine. Barbara is holding Ellertsen, the baby whose christening we missed. We nabbed Nathaniel from the swing set and continued our drive back to North Carolina.