Our Chef is Back!

Grandson Nathaniel arrived in the wee hours to spend his 10-day Spring break with us. He had a class until 7 pm, and John had a meeting in Asheville. That gave grandson David time to finish work in Waynesville and drive to meet John, so the two of them could go together to Charlotte to fetch the chef-in-training. I didn’t see Nathaniel until morning. He was ready for the day and eager to get a haircut. Barber’s fees are high in Charlotte, so he was quite shaggy. I suggested we do the ritual of the mirror, and then we asked him to do a tall job – freeing a flag that was snagged on the gutter.

Over breakfast I warned Nathaniel to sift the baking powder here before using it. I had gotten a little clump of bitterness in a biscuit a few days ago and knew it was the leavening agent. He launched into a quick explanation, listing the three main ingredients, and the fact that it tends to clump when damp. I was very impressed with the things he already knows.

After lunch Nathaniel served dessert that he had made in school, raspberry sorbet. It survived the three-hour trip and was refrozen. The taste was as intense as the color. Superb! We also tasted the ice cream he brought – Elf’s Eggnog. He not only made the ice cream, but he also designed and printed the labels for it.

Neighbor Logan (8) came over after school. He and Nathaniel had a rousing game of tag. There were shrieks, heavy footsteps, silence as the one who was “it” changed direction, followed by more shouts and running. Once Logan scooted under a chair to evade Nathaniel’s long arm. At the end, they continued the chase, only on their knees. Nate must have been happy that John broke in to ask Logan to read to him. The house was very quiet after Logan left.

I Read a Book!

Despite good intentions, I rarely pick up a book. I read in the blog world, where I lose all sense of time, happily interacting with my friends around the world. When John was away recently, I was determined to read the first of three books friend Nancy sent me — Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe. It was written by Fannie Flagg and published in 1987. The setting of the novel is near Birmingham, Alabama, which is only a few hours away from my hometown. Reading that book was like visiting with friends of friends. I didn’t meet anyone I knew, but many of the characters reminded me of people in my past.

Marking my place was a bookmark neighbor Connie made for me. What a delight it was to use it! I saw it often on my bedside table, but I loved putting it to work and handling it often. Maybe the bookmark will inspire me to keep reading, even if only for a few minutes each day.

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Logan had a Ball

Neighbor Logan (8) was bouncing a ball with a steady rhythm. He dribbled up and down the street, playing by himself. I thought that was a good time to fetch the mail, and I made sure the camera was in my pocket. His handling of the ball was impressive. He could dribble, throw it a distance, and recover it as it tried to escape. I was amazed when he proudly showed me that he could dribble through his legs. Wow! He agreed to trying a video, and he waited for me to say go before he moved. He’s a team player!


Logan’s Pronouncement on Valentine’s Day

We were just going out for our walk at dawn when neighbor Bob pulled the car to the front of the house. Logan (8) came tearing out, wearing a bright red jacket. He was bouncing so much, he appeared to have pogo sticks for legs. John called out to Logan as Shawn walked sedately to the car. Logan thought he asked where they were going, and he shouted mid-bounce, “We’ve got a conference at school!” Jump! Bound! Twist! Jump!

The boy ran over to our yard as John repeated his statement, “We were going to ask if we could catch a ride to the bus stop.”

Logan stood still for two seconds and said, “No! That would be cheating!

Off he bounded to fling himself into the car before his mother could buckle her seat belt.

We are still chuckling.

After school I texted Shawn to see if Logan could come over for his Valentine. He and John graciously posed with the balloon.

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John took David and me out for an early lunch in Waynesville. because David was to start work mid-afternoon. That worked out beautifully. We were the third group to be seated in the Sweet Onion. When we left, people were waiting in the lobby, glad to see us go.

On the way out, we paused to wish an older couple Happy Valentine’s Day. The man wore a red blazer and red bow tie. His wife had a lovely red and black top and wore heels. They giggled and admitted they felt a bit overdressed. They had gone to a funeral in the morning, and he changed into the red jacket which he’d left in the car. What a delightful couple! I wish we could have gotten to know them.

There was just enough time for us to pose with our family balloon before David went to work. We had spoken or exchanged greetings with all our children, as well. What a lovely day it was!



Happy Valentine’s Day!!!

Life Lessons I didn’t Learn

I learned two things this week. One was how to pick up a lady beetle, and the other was what I did wrong with car seat belts.

Lady beetles, the little red bugs that look a bit like lady bugs, were hard to pick up from the floor. Sometimes I used my nails to capture them, but I dropped a lot. I thought about grandsons David and Nathaniel picking up jigsaw puzzle pieces by pressing an index finger on them. It doesn’t work for me, but I could use that technique. To make a bug stick, I lick my finger, gently press on the bug, carry it to the toilet, and flick it in. I’m very pleased with my new method, and I haven’t heard the bugs scream yet.

We began shopping for a new car this week, since the Honda just had its fourth alternator installed. The salesman sat in the back with me, as John drove and David explored the dashboard. The seat belt locked, as it often does for me. The back seats in all the cars we’ve had always trapped me with demented belts. Other people sat in those seats without a problem. It never entered my mind that it could be my fault.

I asked the salesman, “Do you know why a seat belt locks like this? I can’t move it.”

I was shocked when he said, “Yes. Unbuckle it, put it back to the start position, and do it again.”

I followed his directions and pulled the belt out again.

“Don’t pull it further out than you need to. Just buckle it, and it should be fine. It’s a safety feature for baby seats. By pulling it far out, it locks to hold the baby seat firmly.”

Golly Pete! Not knowing any better, I’ve always extended the belt too far. Where are secrets like this hidden? How do you learn life lessons that are so common they aren’t explained? What else do I need to know? Help!!!

Waiting for the Bus

We walk before the sun rises, so we are getting up a tad bit earlier than we did in December. Today the timing was perfect for seeing neighbor Logan (8) as he waited for the school bus. He was so full of energy that a car could not contain him for long. He wriggled up through the window to perch there and chat with John. Having failed to put my camera in my pocket, I borrowed John’s phone to take a shot. We had a win/win situation. Logan posed nicely for me and then made funny faces to satisfy himself. Many children would not have been that cooperative.

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All the photos had a blur on the right side, making John appear to be standing in a personal fog. We found the cover for the camera opening was cracked. This may be the death knell for that phone. Do you suppose there is a ring tone for that?

Video Request

When neighbor Logan (8) returned a sled to our house, he asked, “Did you see the poem?” He was referring to Rooster’s poetic comment on my blog (https://amehrling.com/2019/01/29/it-snowballed/) about Logan and his dad having a snowball fight. I sent the poem to Shawn, and she shared it with Bob and Logan. The adults got a kick out of it, and Logan loved it. His reaction? “I’m famous!”

Today Logan was allowed to come over after he did his chores at home. After playing inside for a while, he asked David to throw a football with him outside. He said to me, “Can you take a video and post it on your blog?” I didn’t have to be asked twice.


When the fellows got hot tossing the football, guess where they hung their jackets. On a mailbox! I’m not the only one who uses a mailbox for short-term storage!

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We were active inside, also. Logan suggested we play Monkey in the Middle with a balloon. Two batted a balloon back and forth, and the other was in the center trying to catch it. Logan evened the playing field a bit by asking David to sit or kneel on the floor. I loved the way David avoided catching it immediately when he was the monkey. The fellows also played an intense game of checkers.

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We went to Haywood Cafe for lunch. The two left-handers sat on the same side of the table and were soon engrossed in watching TV. There were football players in a contest to see who was the most accurate in throwing balls at moving targets. That was very appropriate for our activities of the day.

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