Face (or back) Recognition

Because I was waiting for an exterminator and a painter to come, David’s plans for his day off were affected. Instead of eating out and grocery shopping, he took me out to brunch at the Buttered Biscuit. Yummy! As we were leaving, I suggested we go two doors down to Dunkin Donuts to get breakfast for the next day. He wasn’t overly enthusiastic, but he held out his arm for me to twist. He said I used an Indian twist, meaning I used both hands.

We gazed at the two large display cases, making our decisions carefully. You’d be forgiven for thinking we were considering risky investments! A couple at a table next to the exit had plenty of time to see my back. As I opened the door, I thought the man asked if we had walked there. As I fumbled for an answer, the woman clarified it. She wanted to know if I regularly walked on a street in our area. Wow! They recognized me from my morning walks! What a thrill!! We introduced ourselves, but I didn’t hear the names well. David thought she was Erin (I heard Aerie), and he might have been Dan or Ned. I said I couldn’t see faces inside cars, so they pointed out their car sitting outside. I tried to memorize the tag, but I’ve forgotten it already. Tomorrow I shall give an extra big wave to all black SUVs.

“How is Anne?” Day

What a wonderful start to the day! Perhaps all the neighbors got the memo to ask me how I was doing. I waved at Harmony as she was getting in her car, and she said Lisa was walking Rosie to the creek. Those were the next two I met. I would have been able to walk with them if I’d not had a slow start, putting the hummingbird feeders back outside when it was still just below freezing. Joyce stopped her car on the road to give me a thumbs up on her household. Everyone except the new baby caught the ailments of the week, and most were recovering.

As he waved, new neighbor Nate turned his head so that I could see his face clearly through the window. He stopped to introduce himself last week. He came from the northeast and moved here for work.

Woodman, so named by me because he prepares firewood for sale, came to the edge of the road while exchanging pleasantries. He currently doubts that Spring will come, and if it does, will rush right into Summer without pausing.

Ray stopped his truck to ask how I was, and his lovely black poodle joined him at the window. I haven’t spoken to Ray for a year or two, although we always exchange waves. The way he asked questions let me know he was aware that John had died and wanted to make sure I was getting along alright. What a kind thing to do! When he mentioned getting back, I asked where he and his wife had been. He said, “We always travel in our RV in the wintertime, below the snow belt. We might have come back a little too soon.”

A neighbor I’ve not talked to before stopped his truck and said, “I’ve noticed you’ve lost weight, and you’re doing really well.”

He remains nameless, because I didn’t want to interrupt his praise just to trade names. I noticed his face seemed almost gaunt and said, “I’m surprised you noticed. You don’t need to lose weight.”

Laughing, he replied that he used to weigh 300 pounds and got diabetes II. He researched foods and diets, quit eating junk food, and began to take care of himself. Our conversation turned into a mutual admiration society. What a boost that was! I hope he was as pleased as I was.

Most days I wave at a dozen neighbors as they pass me going to work or school, and I speak to one or two. This was a true bonus day, to wave at the commuters and talk to seven people, eight if you count Rosie.

End of Lise’s Visit

There was no stopping the days, but we did as many fun things as we could while daughter Lise was here. We walked to the creek almost every day when it wasn’t raining or we didn’t have an appointment. One day we went down to the water’s edge, picking our way carefully on the big rocks. For the first time I walked under the road bridge, a favorite place for fishermen.

  • We drove by for a quick sandwich at Burger King, where grandson David served us.

Here is the scene Lise could see from her bedroom.

The day before Lise’s departure, we met brother Bob and Beth at a barbecue restaurant halfway between our homes. It was a lucky find. Not only was the food delicious, but they didn’t mind that we sat there chatting for several hours.

I liked this shot of them. Beth looks normal, but Bob has a halo in the style of a medieval painting, as well as a small Pentecostal flame above his head.

The day Lise left, we had lunch on the porch. We let go gradually, texting from here to Asheville airport and Atlanta before her departure to Amsterdam and Copenhagen.

The Search for Kitchen Chairs

Daughter Lise was rather appalled at our routine before sitting down for a meal. David and I checked the rungs beneath our chairs, upended them if necessary, and banged a rung back into place. The four wooden chairs had been with us in New York and were old, even then. John had glued them back together several times, but the glue had dried out. None of us wanted to hunt for the glue or find the vise that held the chairs together while drying. Only days before the end of Lise’s visit, the hunt was on.

We drove an hour to a thrift shop where we had bought dining room chairs a year or so ago. I knew they would have many chairs to choose from at a reasonable price. Only they didn’t. The whole section was closed off, because the furniture had been sent to a warehouse sale.

We drowned our sorrows in frozen yogurt on the way back to the car. The taste of various flavors were as vibrant as the colors.

Lise and I went to a thrift shop in Waynesville on a day when David was working. I told Lise there was only one kind of chair I would rule out before looking – ladder back chairs with rush seats like ones I had grown up with. There was a set of chairs that would have worked, but a matching table was included in the price. I had no place to put another table.

When David had a day off, we went to a different thrift store. Lise spotted six chairs and immediately crossed them off. They were ladder back chairs, ones she was sure I wouldn’t look at. Having seen no other chairs in the store, I wandered over to them. Golly! Each chair was $7!! I sat on one. It was sturdy and straight. The seat was not too deep, unlike the dining room chairs that were designed for tall men. Lise reminded me of my words as she tried one out. We made David test drive one, also. The photo shows David unloading the first of the four chairs I bought.

Did I buy them because I’m a miser? Yes, but the chairs were not uncomfortable. They will likely last the rest of my lifetime. My children can donate them to a thrift store if no one wants them. Here they are in their new home.

Pisgah Inn

A family favorite is eating at Pisgah Inn on the Blue Ridge Parkway. We always take a photo inside to show that we have a fantastic view of mountains and clouds, although they never show up clearly. For that matter, we don’t show up well, either. It just proves we were there enjoying ourselves.

After eating, we went out to the viewing deck to admire the scenery and take photos. Daughter Lise is good at selfies. The wind is always blowing and was rearranging our hair that day.

I thought it would be fun to record Lise’s taking a selfie and the resultant photo.

I don’t see well, so I didn’t notice cause and effect didn’t match. Sharp-eyed people might see that in one she is wearing a jacket, and in the other she isn’t. Both were taken the same day near the parkway, one at Pisgah Inn and the other at an overlook. Would you have noticed if I hadn’t told you?

There was joy in being together there, with no hint of sorrow. I never thought about closure until I looked at the date of the photos. It was ten months to the day after John, grandson David, and I had reservations to eat at the inn. Making a call to cancel was the first thing I did after the hospital told me John had died. Our being there in April was fulfilling a desire a different group of three had in June. David and I thank John for thinking of it and Lise for making it happen. Life goes on, still filled with joy from God.

Easter Time

Daughter Lise and her friends in Denmark often make wraps with rice paper when they are together. She set out the fixings for us the day before Easter. We dipped one rice paper sheet in water, laid it on a plate, filled it, folded it up, and made a mess of eating it. It worked better with the second one. The fillings we had were lettuce, mango, cucumber, carrot strips, bean sprouts, chicken, shrimp, and a peanut sauce Lise made.

David and Lise posed with the rice paper package. After Lise went home, David and I had another round and felt we were getting better at handling the wraps.

I was amused that the three of us were taking photos of the food we had for Easter. It was a break with tradition, since they voted for the casserole we usually have for Christmas instead of ham. Lise wanted the standard green bean casserole, and I added neighbor Connie’s grape salad.

It was colder than usual the day after Easter. Here is a photo showing ice in the hummingbird feeder. I probably did not see it right, but I thought I saw the jagged bottom of an iceberg hanging down into the cold water.

For those of you who celebrate Easter, do you have a traditional meal for the day?

Creeks and Waterfalls

I try to get a photo each time a new person walks to the creek with me. This time it was a new group – daughter Lise and neighbor Lisa, with Lisa’s dog. Rosie is a St. Bernard/poodle mix, a beautiful dog and really full of life. The young women climbed down to the edge of the creek so that Rosie could get a drink.

The same highway I cross going to the creek goes past Looking Glass Falls. The difference is that I am in a valley, and the falls are across a mountain from here. I’ve lost count of the number times I’ve been with visitors to see the falls. I always stayed up on the road, being concerned about the number of steps to get to the base. This time, with David’s and Lise’s encouragement, I walked down there. I took this photo of their backs.

Lise turned a camera on me as I walked up the steps. It was remarkably easy, but then I wasn’t trying to run up, as many young people do. Yes, I did have a feeling of satisfaction, knowing I could do it again if I wanted to.

The next morning I saw Kacey on Lise’s bed. She might have been “helping” Lise finish work for the day. When Lise is here, she often works starting at 4 in the morning, when her co-workers are in the office in Denmark. She takes her lunch hour at 8 am to walk to the creek with me. It works out well.

Lise’s Spring Visit

Daughter Lise lives so far away (Denmark) that we try to make every moment count when she is here. The first photo was taken at a favorite restaurant in Asheville.

Below are Easter breads Lise brought from Italy. She worked in Milan for several weeks and loved the people and the food there. The first was a small one, almost an individual serving. A broken tulip indicates the size. The chocolate covered one was huge, resting on a large dinner plate. It was filled with tubes of soft chocolate. Both were delicious.

Bread on a small dessert plate
Chocolate bread displayed on a large dinner plate

I remembered to have Lise take a selfie the first time we walked to the creek. Walking is an exercise we both enjoy.

Sunburst is my favorite waterfall. For the first time, I didn’t stay on the bridge, but went out on the rocks that line the stream. For some reason I started the video. I don’t know what I wanted, but result has amused me. It shows how people get in place when asked to pose together This took longer for them, because the rocks were uneven and slanted. The still shot was routine. When you put the two together, you have the brief history of the photo.

Arranging themselves

Kacey LIED to Me!

I stayed up late Saturday night and planned to sleep through David’s leaving for church. The streamed service I planned to watch wouldn’t start until 8 am. Kacey started to bark at about 6:45, going on incessantly. When I came out, David was gone and Kacey danced a jig to tell me she desperately needed to go outside. I threw on clothes in a rush. That lying dog ran to the side yard, then she sniffed every blade of grass in her usual path, while pausing to sniff the air and look all around. There was absolutely no need for us to rush out. If I spoke enough “dog”, I would have reprimanded her.

I did check the cam footage from the front porch. I could see where David’s car was turned on at 6:47, and he would have driven off soon after. What I didn’t see was dog and man walking in the front. David must have taken her out in the back, but it was certainly enough to take care of her needs for several hours.

This was a very long Sunday for David, and one that Kacey and I didn’t want to share. He was at church for a brief rehearsal before the early service, and I saw him on the screen with the bell ringers and sitting in the congregation. After that, there were rehearsals for bells and choir then performing again in the late service. I’m fairly sure most of the ringers would have left after performing, but David ran the sound board. He helped the choir director move bells back to the music room and left church at 2 pm. He kindly did the week’s shopping near church and headed home. Last week he was caught in stopped traffic on the interstate, so this time he remembered and had me check the map. There was another massive tie-up, so he knew to get off two exits early. He got home at 3:30, gone for a total of 8 ¾ hours.

Later in the day Kacey heard me tell David that she tricked me. She insisted on her innocence for demanding to go out. “I HAD to sniff everything carefully in case something had changed. It’s my duty to protect you.”