Home Alone

John was enjoying train-steeped days in Tennessee, leaving me (by choice) home alone. I’m not counting the day son John $ was here. He treated me to lunch at a Mexican restaurant, and we chatted, watched documentaries on TV, and laughed without restraint. After that I had four days, four whole days and nights, hugging an unmarked calendar.

You wouldn’t think a retiree would generate much excitement, but I had more than I bargained for.

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I was taking one item out of the refrigerator, and I swear the little containers of barbecue sauce jumped out at me. I’m sure I didn’t touch them. Four big splotches of sticky sauce were plastered on my black jeans. The spots didn’t really show, but I reeked of hot, red sauce until I went to bed.

There was implied excitement at the firehouse. On my daily walk to the creek, I saw one empty bay through the mist. Two vehicles were parked in spaces reserved for first responders. Someone was dealing with a situation he would not have chosen, helped by two volunteers.

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There is no video of me almost falling near the creek, not once, but twice! I stepped off the concrete parking lot right onto a fallen walnut. The ground was coming up to meet me. In only a second or so, I thought to myself, “I’m going to fall. Can I catch myself on the guard rail? No. This is bad. John isn’t here to rescue me. Golly Pete! My old knees moved enough to catch me! Glory be!”

The very next day I was watching out for those lethal walnuts, but I stepped on one, anyway, maybe just for the fun of it. A video would have shown me with one knee lowered, doing a wobbly curtsy. That wasn’t as heart-stopping as the first roll.

One creepy thing happened. I was trying to move MP3 files using a computer and a tablet at my desk. There was a funny little sound that came every once in a while, and I thought it was generated by one of the devices under my fingertips. I woke around 3 am and heard it again. Something or someone was trying to get my attention. The four-toned sound was tiny, like a mere whisper of a steam engine whistle in the far distance. Surely John wasn’t trying to reach me from another world! I got up and walked into his office. Oh! There it was again! With that, his old flip phone screen began to glow in the dark. It wasn’t John, after all. I was being haunted by young Logan. One of the days he was here, I saw him pick up that phone and open it. John told him to put it down, which he did. I’m guessing the phone was turned on and losing power from that moment on. What I heard in the middle of the night must have been the last gasp of the dying phone.

I responded to an inquiry about my vacation doings to SIL Barbara. I wrote, “I went out with neighbor Connie for coffee this afternoon. We shortened it this time. Instead of staying at the coffee place 6 hours, we stayed only 4. We went to the Lake Junaluska conference center and sipped iced coffee on the porch in comfortable rocking chairs. This is the place that Rus and Elizabeth go to once a year. Next time we hope Shawn is mobile and can go with us. The day is gone! I finished looking at blogging emails before we went out, and I hope to get a few music files transferred before bedtime. This was the big project I wanted to do while John was gone. I began last night and could not get the systems to talk to each other. It worked well two nights, but last night nothing worked. My brain is not the sharpest now, either. I could use another day or so of vacation! Hmmm. I’m hearing shots being fired. The sound seems to be coming over the next hill. It’s too rapid to be hunters and not fast enough to be target practice. The sun is going down, so maybe they will stop soon.”

Two things surprised me. I made my bed every day and twice a day if I took a nap. Normally my genie of the kitchen (John) does clean-up in the kitchen. What would I do on my own? Dishes were loaded in the dishwasher and pans washed and put away after every meal. I can’t stand starting a meal with the remains of the previous one staring me in the face., and I made sure that didn’t happen.

My final vacation breakfast was a surprise. I’d left half a bagel on the counter for a day or so and found mold had grown on it. If John had been here, we would probably have had cereal as a substitute. That wouldn’t do for a vacation meal! I had a Southern breakfast with a TexMex twist. What might have been cheese grits with eggs and sausage turned into corn tortilla tacos. The extra special ingredient was gift eggs from Logan’s chickens.

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What might you do with four days all on your own?