Our Thanksgiving celebration began when we drove to Charlotte to get grandson Nathaniel. Friend Sarah went out to eat with us before she drove to her home for the holiday.

Lise, Nathaniel, Sarah, and John

At our house, we had the ritual of the mirror.. As Nathaniel pretended it was very heavy, Lise helped him lift it. Nate puts the mirror high when he comes and lowers it on leaving.

First up on Thanksgiving morning was prepping the turkey. Son John $pencer provided the bird, and chef Nathaniel agreed to cook it. When it was ready for the oven, Nate posed with it. We all liked his pajamas, so David labeled the photo, “Turkey pose and bed clothes.” John $ let Sadie have a preview.

While the meal was cooking, Lise worked a jigsaw puzzle. This was a special puzzle from a dear friend who took photos from my blog this year to design the collage. John $ and David were spectators.

Nathaniel pronounced the turkey done.

We enjoyed both the food and the conversation. We were too full for dessert, so we adjourned for several hours. After having the sweets, we sat back and let the words flow. It was a magical time, when family stories and jokes began to flow. Hearty laughter and gentle teasing were most enjoyable.

John $, Lise, John, Nathaniel, and David

For the foodies, we ate turkey, dressing, gravy, homemade cranberry sauce, green bean casserole, sweet potato casserole, frozen cranberry salad, pumpkin cheesecake, and cranberry mince pie.

We hope everyone had many things to be thankful for this year.

Helping Older Folks

It’s marvelous to have daughter Lise here to help me. She laughed when I said I’d lost my eyebrows, and she quickly found a solution. My eyebrows didn’t matter at all when I was wearing glasses all the time. People probably assumed I had brows, but mine blended in with my skin. I thought a brow pencil would be the answer, but what color should it be? I am no longer brown-headed, and black would be overkill. Lise found taupe. It seemed perfect to me, forgetting that I couldn’t see to apply it. She bailed me out over the weekend, and grandson David recorded the event for us.

When we were at a restaurant later, David thought it was amusing that the only people at the table looking at their phones were the old folks. Brother Bob and I were comparing apps for hearing aids. I set mine to mute sounds behind me, but I couldn’t hear any change. He thought he didn’t have such a setting, but he found one named “restaurant”. He heard a difference instantly. Our voices were clearer, and the ones behind us faded away.

Lise found a cart for me to use in the kitchen, and she and John put it together. Our freezer is always so full, making it hard to find things. I had been pulling a chair over to pile food on it while looking. This is going to be much easier and kinder to the fingers.

Like most older people, we try to be self-sufficient. It’s marvelous to have younger ones who see problems and solve them.

Pre-Thanksgiving Gathering

My brother Bob and Beth had a Thanksgiving party ahead of the official holiday. They have done this for years, so that their daughters could be free to be with other families. There were 26 of us. Since Sarah and grandson Nathaniel arrived shortly after we did, I took several photos to show them and David with Lise.

Lise took this one to include me, along with John on the left and Bob in the middle.

The family magician Rick and his wife Myra let Nathaniel try out some of the sound effects as they were setting up the show.

Rick had an empty wine glass that suddenly had a goldfish swimming around in it. He wanted us to believe he had the second fish in his mouth and appeared to spit it into the glass. I have no idea how he did any of that. The two fish came from a spring on his property and would be returned there.

I turned the camera on a few members of the audience – Julie, Michael, Bob, Nathaniel, Sarah, Lise, and Myra were watching intently.

Rick had a conversation with Einstein, my brother dressed in a white coat, mask, and wild white “hair”. Rick pointed out that wearing a mask helped tremendously when pretending to be a ventriloquist. The dialogue was amusing, enhanced by Rick’s pulling a string to make the mouth go up and down. All Bob did was move his hands.

I took a quick shot of people in the kitchen after the desserts were put on the counter. Those in the background were Martha, Don, Beth, Nathan, Lise, and Kathie. I missed getting a photo of a number of people, but it doesn’t seem to matter much, with all the faces hidden behind masks.

Following is a short video clip of Einstein and Rick:

A Correction and my Apology

Months ago there was a post in which I quoted daughter Lise as saying there were double “l”s in Philippa’s name. I dutifully changed the spelling, although it didn’t look good to me. In subsequent posts, I spelled it with a double l. This week Philippa herself liked the post on Facebook. Attention, Anne! Philippa would spell her own name correctly!!! You’ve got it all wrong!

Philippa, I do apologize for having your name wrong so many times. I’ve been thinking about it, and maybe I have the answer. I wonder if I misspelled it 40 years ago, and Lise made the statement that I used two “l”s. I should have understood two were wrong, and one was correct.

The marvelous part is that Philippa and Lise reconnected on Facebook, and that lovely girl I knew 40 years ago is alive and well in England. In this photo, Philippa is the girl on the far right.

Sadie Welcomes Lise

Sadie jumped all over daughter Lise when we came in from the airport. There was no mistaking her extreme welcome. By the time Lise went to bed, the traveler had been up at least two full days, if not more. The following morning, daughter and dog were together in a much quieter way. Neither noticed when I took the photo.

We have since been for the morning walk, and Lise gave me permission to post the photo. Family members always have veto power.

CAT’s Car Caper

CAT, a neighbor’s animal that often walks with us, had a rather exciting morning. She joined us in front of her house. John turned back at the big bend, still not quite up to walking to the stop sign after his cold. I didn’t look back until I heard him talking to her. She must have had a moment of indecision when we walked separate ways. From now on, I’ll remind John that she chose him over me.

When coming back from the stop sign, I was aware of a car backing out of CAT’s driveway. What a shock to see CAT on top of the car as it came toward me on the road! She jumped off, landing right at my feet. Being a cat, she landed upright, but forward momentum rolled her to the ground. She was up in an instant, casually walking away as if that was an everyday occurrence. The owner got out of her car, saying she hadn’t heard the cat jump off. Evidently this is not an unusual thing! I reassured her that all was well, as neighbor Bob drove down the street. I don’t think Bob saw the action. As I turned to go home, cars resumed moving, and all was right with the world. I coaxed CAT to look at me so that I would have a portrait of her before she gets run over.

COVID Test Negative

The day after John and I had our COVID booster shots, he had chills. We thought this was a reaction, even though he had not had a reaction from the other two jabs. During the day he developed symptoms of a head cold that worsened for several days. He felt so miserable that he went to the doctor, who treated him for a bacterial infection and swabbed his nose to test for COVID. Two days later the result was in – negative. Whew! Lise is coming from Denmark to visit, and the virus could have wrecked our plans. I realize millions of people around the world had plans disrupted, many permanently. We are grateful for this great favor.

Meanwhile, I continued to walk with Sadie in the morning. This quirky tree, one I have walked past for seven years, seemed to be grinning at me.

John was waiting at home for results of the COVID test, so David and I drove on the Blue Ridge Parkway. The trees were past peak, but the scenery is always beautiful, no matter what the season. As the sun went down, it shown on a mountainside and high-lighted the clouds. It was about that time John texted us, letting us know his personal COVID cloud was not a threat.

New View of an old Cookbook

On Sunday I was concerned about hanging three things about my ears – mask, glasses, and hearing aids. John arranged for me to hide in the balcony to avoid having to wear a mask. For the last few months, I was able to follow the service and see the hymns using cheap reading glasses. I couldn’t see anything close without them, and the world tilted if I looked up. They were on and off my face constantly. That worked well until I added hearing aids. Without my realizing it, the wire tangled with the glasses, digging a hole in the ear. Pain! The throbbing continued to increase after I put the glasses away. Thankfully, it receded so that I could enjoy the afternoon with grandson Nathaniel and Sarah.

Glasses are out now until the hole heals. In order to refer to a recipe, I put a page-magnifying sheet on two plastic containers, with the cookbook flat on the counter. This was even better than pulling glasses on and off. I could read the amounts without touching anything.

The cookbook is 57 years old and also feeling its age. I’m glad I’m not literally falling apart, as it is. Still, we are both somewhat useful, and with care, will last a few more years.

Lovely Autumn Weekend

It was neighbor Bob’s birthday and a time of lovely colors and solid freezes. I took a photo of Bob and Shawn’s burning bushes from our deck, as well as frozen roses in our garden.

Happy birthday, Bob!

We hadn’t seen grandson Nathaniel in ages. On Sunday, John, David, and I drove to Charlotte and had dinner with him and friend Sarah at the restaurant of his choice. Sarah is from North Carolina and is studying hotel management. Conversation was lively and so much fun. The portions were generous, but that didn’t stop every one of us from cleaning our plates.

John, David, Sarah, and Nathaniel

To prolong our visit, Nate chose a public park with a steam engine for us to walk and talk. The engine shows behind us in the distance, and there is a quick shot of John and David looking closely at it. I asked Sarah if anyone in her family had unusual interests. Without throwing anyone under the bus, she said one is obsessed with Legos and another is restoring an old car. Would you have an easy answer for people in your family?

We sat at a picnic table to chat until we were chilled. The observer behind us was a great blue heron, which flew away when a small child ran toward it.

My favorite photo of the bunch was not particularly good, but it showed enthusiasm and joy in the moment of Sarah and Nathaniel.

Modern Miracles

Two thousand years ago, Jesus said, “Go back and report to John what you have seen and heard: The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is proclaimed to the poor.” Luke 7:22

I haven’t had leprosy yet and haven’t died yet, but I’m living proof of the rest of it. Walking two miles yesterday was easy, thanks to total knee replacements years ago. In September I had 20/20 vision for a day or so. Today I can hear!

After I put the hearing aids in yesterday, I noticed the beginning and end of every word John spoke. For years it was a guessing game. Family knew to laugh with me when my replies made no sense to them. The next revelation was how much noise computer keys make. They say actions speak louder than words, but my words are LOUD as they flow through my fingers!

When my hearing was tested, I was told I needed clarity more than volume. Thankfully, my ears work together. Some don’t. Also, I didn’t know there was a genetic component. It seems appropriate that I could hear again on what would have been my dad’s 107th birthday. I inherited hearing loss, as well as macular degeneration, from him. Happy birthday, Dad! I’m sorry your hearing aids were not as good as mine and your sight was never restored on earth.

Please rejoice with me that I can hear again. To me it is a miracle.