Tongue Tangle

I pointed to a huge decorative item in the Asheville antique mall. My brain started the word chandelier and let the lips finish with the end of candelabra. What did grandson Nathaniel hear? He heard me say, “Look at that chandelabra!”

He asked, “Are you making fun of me and the way I make up words?”

At that, I realized what had come out of my mouth and giggled. Nathaniel knew he had caught me in a major word slip as he doubled over laughing. This is going to follow me to my grave, with major reminders along the way.

Note to self: when you are living it up, you may soon be living it down.

Simple Pleasures

Both grandsons had pleasant experiences the same day. Nathaniel went with us to Asheville on his day off. I had an appointment, so we dropped him off at an antique mall while I saw the doctor. We weren’t sure if there were enough things to occupy him for an hour, but I figured he’d strike up a conversation with someone if he found nothing of interest. My appointment did not take long. I texted Nathaniel to let him know we were on the way. The antique place was much larger than we thought, so we wandered around looking for him. He came toward us with a big smile on his face, and he was holding several records. If we had time, he had things he wanted to show Grandpa. I enjoyed watching the grandson/granddad interplay. John ended up buying a book on trains, several train magazines, and a record. Who knew he would be tempted in that place???

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When David came home at the end of his shift, I sat chatting with him while he ate. My eyes snapped to attention when I saw movement in the pasture. The horses were back!! The owners took them somewhere else for several months. Those of us overlooking the pasture had missed them. I quickly texted neighbors Joyce and Shawn to let them know our hoofed friends were back in place. The male, DW, galloped around the whole pasture for sheer joy. Vixen, the female, quietly munched on grass. We saw both roll around on the ground. David was particularly pleased to see them. I cut up an apple for him to feed them. Earlier this year, the horses would stand at the fence for several minutes after we gave them a treat. We’d talk to them and pet them. Today was different. As soon as they realized we had no more apples, they walked away to continue grazing. I got the feeling that no grass is as good as the grass at home.

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When he got back inside, David said, “My summer is complete. I’m so glad the horses came back before I left.”

I presume John’s pleasure was listening to his new/old record, which Nathaniel put on the turntable when we got home. I’ll bet he has already opened the book he bought, too.

My pleasure of the day was being told I would no longer need a checkup with the oncologist every six months. I’ll go once a year unless I notice any changes. My surgery was four years ago, and I thought I had to wait for the fifth year. The tether has been lengthened. As you can imagine, I am very happy with that.

Fine Dining

Grandson Nathaniel wanted to cook a special meal for us. In joking about it, he said he wanted to give us a fine dining experience. I’ll let you be the judge of his success. He and John picked out the beef roast, which he began preparing the day before he cooked it. We had no deadline for the dinner, but he was working that afternoon and knew he had to have food on the table by 1. He did it easily, with no wringing of hands or histrionics. I gave him 1,000 points for that. He posed for me as he began carving the meat.

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John came when called, wearing a jacket and tie! I ran to change my Tee for a top and added earrings. You can’t see that we still had on jeans. Nathaniel lit the candles just after he poured water for John. Looking at the photo, you can see the slices of beef on the plate – perfection pink! He knew we prefer rare meat.

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The menu:

Stuffed cucumber rounds (cukes from neighbor Marla)

Rare roast beef with gravy

Yorkshire pudding

Glazed carrots

German roast coffee

The behind-the-scene picture shows our chef preparing the Yorkshire pudding.

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What does not show is all the work Nathaniel did to set a perfect table. He took apart the candelabra before polishing it. He polished the silver flatware, trivet, and coffeepot. I wish I had a before and after picture of the coffeepot. It was a wedding gift (54 years ago) and had never been used. I can say that freely, because the giver has been dead for years. John helped him find a tablecloth and make the table smaller. He would have used cloth napkins if I had found them.

Having just seen a video on etiquette the day before, we passed dishes from left to right, did not slouch, and did not put our elbows on the table. I made the egregious error of looking at my phone, thinking it was David letting me know he was on break at work. It was neighbor Joyce. Being proud of our grandson, I compounded my error and snapped a picture with my phone to send to her. Go ahead. Heap shame on my head. I deserve it.

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Ignoring my bad manners, I’ll say we ate leisurely, enjoying the food and the conversation. There was only one moment of twitching when the men’s feet tangled under the table. Smiles in place, they controlled themselves as we finished the meal with piping hot coffee.

Would you care to judge the success of our fine dining experience? I won’t give you a Christmas present, but I’ll still speak to you if you say we failed.

Heavy Heads

It was late afternoon, after David worked a morning shift and Nathaniel wandered around an antique mall with me on his day off. John was watching live cams of a tourist railroad in New Mexico, and we were sitting in the office chatting. David flopped on the floor, laying his head on my feet. Not to be outdone, Nathaniel stretched himself under the desk to lay his head on Grandpa’s lap. There was a great deal of merriment and teasing about our pretended exhaustion. Though the photo isn’t particularly good, it caught the lighthearted moment.

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In May and June, the summer stretched ahead of us, and suddenly we are trying to cram in everything before it’s time to pack them off to college. We wouldn’t hold them back for anything, as they need to get on with their lives, but how tightly we are holding onto the memories!

My Face is a Screen

Grandson Nathaniel asked me a question that I couldn’t answer immediately. As I thought about it, he watched my face.

He said, “You know, Gran, your face is like a computer screen. The icon is there, and the little circle on it just keeps going round and round.”

I laughed, because I knew it was true. He didn’t realize it, but he was in luck that time. I gave him a reasonable answer. If he had questioned me an hour later, he might have gotten a blank blue screen.

Unexpected Exploration

When we set out to have lunch with our son John $, we didn’t know we would be exploring. $ is the transplanted Yankee who has a convert’s love of mountains. He left the sands of Long Island behind and explored the Smoky Mountains at every opportunity. He took us to see petroglyphs or pictographs at Paint Rock, just down the road from his place. The photo shows Nathaniel, $, David, and John peering at the rock face beside the road. David shielded John’s eyes from the sun while pointing to the faint red area.

072518 Looking at petroglyphs at Paint Rock N $ D JC.JPG

Scientists believe the painting and etching of the rocks was done 5,000 years ago. My zoomed photos did not show what our eyes saw, but I found an image on the internet that did. This one object was probably less than 12 square inches well above our heads. My photo shows the rock looming over the road.

Crossing into Tennessee on this back road, we stopped at a popular swimming spot. $ said there were usually lots of people sliding down the waterfall and swimming in the stream. We had it to ourselves. Predictably, David wants to go back to swim there.

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$ knew to take us across the road where a short path led to a tiny waterfall. I was as close as I could get to take a picture of the grandsons climbing to the top.  $ stood on the path with me to keep me out of trouble.

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We had to stop at that point to go to town for lunch, because Nathaniel needed to get home for work. The distance was not far from Hot Springs to Waynesville, but it took about an hour. The twisting road went up and over at least three mountain ridges.  It was a most enjoyable day – seeing new places and spending time with $.