Our Table at the Creek

For the third week in a row, we took Sunday’s take-out dinner to Richland Creek and ate at the same picnic table. Our smiles were big, because we had Italian food from one of our favorite restaurants. Grandson David and I shared a meat-loaded calzone, and John had mushroom ravioli in white sauce topped with candied pecans.

Note the travel mug with the WordPress logo.

Airborne seeds were floating everywhere. One landed on John’s shoulder for the duration of the meal. We were sitting near flowering plants that began to stir up John’s allergies. We urged him to go back to the car while we finished eating. David and I checked the labels on the plants – all lilacs. There was Carolina Lilac, Mr. Baker’s Lilac, and common lilac.

We drove on the Blue Ridge Parkway, stopping at an overlook with a large cascade across the valley. I asked David to pose with it. There was enough water that even I could hear the sound of the water hitting the rocks.

The cascade is almost in the center, coming down below a gap in the mountains.

We drove to the place just above the cascade and got out to see the stream where it began. We were fairly close to this little waterfall. It may have been small, but it was pleasant to trace the course of the water that divided and came back together at the base. The stream flowed under the Blue Ridge Parkway and must be joined by other streams to make the impressive cascade visible above.

Home Church, Week 3

We took our positions before the computer with David at the controls. I think we’re beginning to get the hang of this.

Singing parts is fun for us, so we had a hymnal for the music. David was either more prepared than we were, or he still had a foot under the breakfast table. His gnawed-around-the-edges bagel is above the hymn book.

Just before the service began, we greeted other people in the congregation in the sidebar. I realized the comments were active the whole time. Just think, we could have whispered to each other during the sermon!! On the other hand, Pastor might have been watching it with us. The service had been taped ahead and was streamed at the usual times for early and late services. To our credit, we listened quietly.

I thought you might like to see what we looked like as we went to church. David was the photographer because he has the longest arms.

I laughed when I looked at our feet. We were not as polished as we could have been. Socks and clogs in church! Tsk! Tsk!

Would it matter to you what you wore to watch a taped event?

Talk is not Cheap

Talk is not cheap these days. It’s very precious, especially when you can be with neighbors outside, six feet apart. Neighbor Joyce was the one who thought of porch sitting. I failed to get her photo the first time, but this week I did. Sharing the sun is easy, since everyone seems to love the warmth. They sit in the sun, while I sit in the shadows.

The next day neighbors Shawn, Bob, and Logan arranged themselves in the sun, along with their little white dog Abbie (Abigail Adams). The boxer, Dolly, was out of sight near Logan. Their chicken almost joined us. We heard the chicken making sounds, and Shawn stood up to call her. She’s the last chicken left and craves companionship, though she never came across the road to be with us. We were interested in how the home-schooling was going. The connections were not good at the beginning, but things have evened out now. Shawn and Bob take turns overseeing Logan’s work on the computer.

Neighbor Holly, next door to Shawn, came and stood in the yard so that we could all talk. We waved to her for years, as she was driving to work when we were walking. It was lovely to get to know her. If anyone is looking for a silver lining to the virus restrictions, this is one of them.

Connie came the week before, and this time her daughter Marla was available to come with her. It works out quite nicely to have two visitors who live together. They sit in one clump on the porch, and we are in another, the required distance apart. We enjoyed hearing about their upcoming move. They have just booked a moving company, and they talked about the layout of the house. I saw the photos on line, but I really need to see it in person to get everything straight in my mind. We will see it when the restrictions for contact have been lifted.

Last Mailbox Warming

The temperature was only three degrees warmer than the previous day, but the windbreaker and hat I wore both days were too much. I left them to warm Connie’s and Marla’s mailbox as we walked on to the creek. With warmer weather coming, this was probably the last time I would use their mailbox as a coat rack. They are moving at the end of the month. We’re thankful they will be only 28 miles away (15 miles as the crow flies).

Marla didn’t realize her car was posing for the photo as she pulled out of her driveway. It seemed fitting that she was on the scene for this historic moment. When she stopped to chat with us, Albert added sound effects by barking from the porch. We will miss him, too.

Hat by Karen. It is perched on the post.

Rejuvenated at the Supermarket

The whole world is concentrating on COVID-19, since it has affected everyone in some way. Because it was raining at the time we usually take our 2.5-mile walk, we did our grocery shopping at the tail end of senior-time. Since our state now has rules about staying apart, our store set aside two days for seniors to shop between 7 and 8 in the morning. At 77, I’m probably in the middle of the older category. I was impressed that the atmosphere was pleasant. People moved at their own slow rate, calmly making choices. Most were aware of other shoppers, so that there were few clogs in the aisles. There were no loafers or sneakers there, either. We oldsters have honed our coping skills, helping us to be patient and friendly. We would rather be known as patient in the grocery than the hospital, so we were careful with each other. I can’t say I always feel good about being old, but today I was thrilled to note that I had more speed than most. I was walking upright on my own, not using the cart as a crutch or a walker. Not using a motorized cart, I could reach everything we needed. Both John and I could read the grocery list, no small wonder since I had written it. Shopping was a great experience, because I came out feeling 20 years younger than I did going in. That kind of regression was a heady experience, one worth repeating on a weekly basis.

We hope all of you are coping easily and managing to avoid contamination.

A New Pew

We found a new place to worship at our church. A week ago we watched a video of the service in the dining area using a laptop. This time we saw the service streamed at the usual hour, and we were using a desktop. We could hear it without straining, and even better, we could sing at our usual volume. Whispering to sing is difficult! Grandson David grasps electronics faster than I do, so he was in control. People around us conjecture what life after COVID-19 will be like. I think we’ll have to install recliners in churches instead of pews. Some will have lift seats to help us oldsters stand up at the proper times.

Note John’s white shirt. He dresses for church, even if it’s in a bedroom.

Son John $pencer and Rose found a place to rent for a short term where they can more easily control their environment and lessen the chance of getting the corona virus. Our service was over when they finished packing and said goodbye. I’m always thrilled to have a good likeness of people I love, even if it is taken when they are leaving.

Sunday dinner was at the same venue as last week – Richland Creek near the rec center. In fact, we had the same table and sat in the same places, though Nathaniel was gone. This time we brought food from Haywood 209 Cafe. The wind made it a bit challenging to keep things on the table. We managed to keep it all under control and back in the car, following the camping protocol of “leave no trace”.

You can’t see the strong wind here.

We enjoyed a long drive on the Blue Ridge Parkway. This time there was no heavy fog, and we could see the long views that are so lovely here. We went to Looking Glass Falls, always impressive in every season. David went down to the base, but I’m glad to say the daredevil near the falls in my photo was not David.

Rose sent a picture of $ and Sadie, showing man and dog enjoying their new home after unpacking. The house is on a hillside overlooking a country road and a creek as large as our Jonathan Creek. If I begin to get jealous, I must find my CD of a mountain stream.

Sadie and John $pencer

COVID-19 Days

The first displacement of the virus brought grandson Nathaniel to us for a week after his university closed down. He recovered from his head cold, lowered the mirror the night before he left, and he and John got up at 3 am to get to the airport in Charlotte. His dad picked him up at Newark Airport, and they drove to his house upstate New York. There he will have a room with peace and quiet to do his online classes.

I enjoyed the birds feeding on the deck and tried to refill the bird feeder to keep the show going. I dropped the feeder, attempted to put it back together, and dropped it a second time. Cute though it was, the feeder could not take that abuse. The birds landed on the roof of the feeder and could see all the spilled seeds on the deck. Other birds went straight to the railing to peck at the suet cakes. They adapted quickly, I’ll say that for them. It was almost time to quit feeding them, anyway. Neighbor Joyce is tracking the migration of the hummingbirds and thinks the males will be here soon. None of the birds realize we are not as free as they are.

Roof left hanging and feeder on the railing

Joyce was the first to think of perching on the porch. We are not supposed to go in each other’s homes to visit, but we could be in the fresh air outside and stay six feet apart. She was the first to come to my porch. She basked in the sun, while I sat in the shadows, and we had a most satisfying chat. Someone commented that I should take a photo of porch-sitting, but I forgot to do it.

The next day neighbor Connie took a break from packing to move, and she visited with me on the porch. Bless her heart, she was willing to pose, so our visit was documented. Wasps kept circling close to her, which was unnerving. Son John $pencer found wasp spray and hit a few of the critters. Connie and I saw one die on the floor. I was armed with a fly swatter and the spray, but I didn’t kill any of them. At least the spray served as a warning, keeping them away from us. In the photo you can see the spray bottle on the small table and my chair beyond it. Our chairs were over six feet apart at that point. There is nothing like face-to-face conversation, even if your faces are required to be far apart.

Connie on the porch

I got my revenge on a wasp the next day. Opening the mailbox, I found a large one sitting on some letters. I gently pulled the mail out, but the wasp went toward the back. Using a piece of daughter Lise’s junk mail, I raked at it and poked it. Luckily it was stunned. I swatted it down and ground it to smithereens with my foot. I didn’t know death could bring such pleasure. Oh death, where is thy sting? It’s in the gravel where it can’t hurt me.