Our grandsons were happy to play with neighbor Logan (8), but the summer flashed by with little contact. Logan was busy, and our boys were working. Finally, the day Logan went to school to meet his third grade teacher, he came over to visit. After sitting with us while we ate, Logan discussed the merits of toy cars with John and grandson Nathaniel. We noticed he had grown and matured over the summer.
Logan joined our twitchit family! I noticed bodies shifting and looked under the table. You have one guess to identify Logan’s feet.
Logan asked if I had an apple he could feed the horses. DW took his half easily, but Vixen repeatedly knocked the apple out of Logan’s hand. The camera made the catch. Can you see the apple in midair?
Logan rode with John to take Nathaniel to work and came back to play games with us. We couldn’t find the checkers, so the boy beat me playing Tic-tac-toe. David told me years ago that he knew how to win the game if he went first and played in the middle square. Logan learned that this afternoon. I insisted he go first all the time. After a few rounds, he explained the strategy which went right over my head. We played a few more games so that it would be set in his mind, no matter where I played. I never realized I would measure success by how often I lost.
Our Hyundai Sonata, otherwise known as Snot, has a habit of shedding door handles. The following is a list of losses and people who were left holding the hardware:
son John $pencer – driver’s side back door
Anne – front passenger door
grandson David – driver’s door
grandson Nathaniel – front passenger door, second round
The first replacement was covered by the warranty, and you can’t tell that it was repaired. The next three were visible scars, because they were black. We didn’t feel like paying an extra $50 each to have them painted to match the car. We told Snot to wear them proudly.
David used the car most weekdays to get to work, so John couldn’t take Snot to the dealer in Asheville for the repair. The person impacted most was Nathaniel. Whenever he and I went somewhere, he had to scramble to get in. Nathaniel, being resourceful, found the broken handle would work if he jiggled it into place. His routine was to open the back door, retrieve the handle from the seat, rattle/jiggle it in the front door, open the door, pull the handle off, sit down, and toss the broken piece to the back. I had to control my giggling at the scrabbling sound, not wanting to try Nathaniel’s patience. It was also amusing to watch him fold his tall self into the small car, something he did with alacrity. I felt like the driver of the clown car in the circus. I swear he could do that door-opening, scrunching routine in five seconds flat.
I would like to be known for my problem-solving ability, which is not going to happen. You see, after enjoying Nathaniel’s prowess for three days, I thought of the solution. All I needed to do was lower the window so that he could flip his long arm in and open the door from the inside. The laugh is on me, and it won’t be the last.
The day before grandson David went back to college, we had a family excursion to the Biltmore estate. David and I particularly wanted to see the Chihuly exhibit. Dale Chihuly is an American artist who creates works of art with blown glass. Our first close view was at the entrance to the mansion, both outside and from the inside.
The winter garden held the only indoor exhibit, for which John and David posed.
My favorites from the Italian garden show David and John near the lily pads, a boat filled with glass creations, and a long view of the largest piece in that area.
Nathaniel and David agreed to stand with a display just outside the conservatory.
My favorite framed shot was in the walled garden.
On the opposite side of the walled garden was the display I voted most colorful.
After our long walk through the mansion and around the grounds, we went for a late lunch at the Moose Cafe. The meals there always start with a huge biscuit for each person, to which you can add sorghum molasses or their special apple butter. It is messy, but oh! so good! We chose chicken with dumplings, fried mountain trout, pork chops, and fried pollock. The young men fell asleep on the ride home, while I was glassy-eyed. They didn’t wake up when John and I stopped at the local produce stand to buy a huge heirloom Cherokee tomato for ‘mater sandwiches for supper. We ended with a juicy local watermelon, one of David’s favorites. We could have used showers after that messy meal.
John got up from the lunch table, leaving his shoes behind. When I saw grandsons David and Nathaniel smiling at each other from opposite ends of the table, moving only slightly, I knew there was twitching going on below. The camera caught them.
This has been a summer of rain. It’s surprising to me that we didn’t see more rainbows. It wasn’t for lack of looking. Every time I noticed sun shining on rain, I’d peek out the window in hopes of seeing one. I’d almost stopped looking when I spotted this one. It wasn’t any old rainbow. It was one hill over from the pasture. Dim and homely? Yes, but it was almost in our backyard! The wicked wisteria on the pergola was reaching for it as I pulled the camera from my pocket. I won! I caught it, and the wisteria didn’t.
The mist on the mountain was stunning as we walked to the floor of the valley. A chink in the clouds allowed the sun to shine on the mist without hitting anything else. The white mist seemed to glow from within. I waited to take a picture of it until we were away from the service station. By then the scene was not as dramatic, but I aimed the camera at it, anyway.
After we stood listening to Jonathan Creek gurgle, I told John I wanted to sit on the wall around the firehouse flagpole to see what was irritating my foot. I took the sneaker off, found nothing, and put it on again. Before I stood up, a car came toward us. The passenger window opened, and a wizened old man asked if we were okay. The driver, a younger woman, explained that they see us walking all the time and wondered if we needed help. I felt the light of human kindness shining all around us. They saw a possible need and responded to it. I still feel a warm glow every time I think of them. Have you had anyone offer you help recently?
While we were texting, brother Bob and Beth realized that we were running out of time for them to see our grandsons David and Nathaniel. After a meeting in the morning, they drove from Winston Salem and had dinner with us. Using the props left from our “fine dining” experience, we ended with Nathaniel’s Brownies with ice cream on the side.
For the foodies, we had cucumber with cream cheese, fresh dill, and lemon on crackers, shredded chicken with Mornay sauce over rice, peas, grape salad from neighbor Connie’s recipe, and the Brownies. I thought we had served this salad to them before. One of these times I’m going to take a photo of it, because it always disappears before the end of a meal. We knew we had not served it to them when Beth asked, “What is this that looks like eyeballs?”
The fellows worked on a jigsaw puzzle while waiting for the slide show of Beth and Bob’s recent trip to Europe. They had taken their oldest grandson to celebrate his graduation from high school.
The next morning we enjoyed breakfast on the porch while it was still cool. I wanted a photo that included Beth without showing her face. She recently had surgery on her nose, which we were not featuring. For the record, she was wearing a band-aid that matched the bright blue of her top! Foodies, we ate summer oatmeal, bananas, and chocolate chip coffeecake.
Nathaniel grilled hamburgers, hot dogs, chicken-apple sausage, and Bavarian brats for lunch. I prepared slaw and served homemade lemon curd over bought pound cake. We also had time for a little music. Bob played the French horn for us. He has practiced daily since he began learning to play the instrument, and his diligence is showing results. I enjoyed accompanying him on the piano, because I sight-read the music and didn’t have to practice. With these few pictures and words, we will hold the memory of their special 24-hour visit.