I got new tires and a gift certificate for new rear brakes for Christmas. We just went for a drive and it felt so smooth I almost dozed off. The new tires even made the old brakes sound better. This is a great gift, so much better than a necklace or something that might look good but wouldn’t keep me from sliding off the road and into a ditch on a rainy night. Thanks to Stef for knowing how to make me happy (and safe.) JS
A couple of people on my FB feed are now wondering, WHAT’S ELDON UP TO?
Well, he and Joanie were gone the other day so Eldon could play golf with their grandson, something he enjoys IMMENSELY.
Yesterday, he came over and brought us a late lunch, some pasta thing Joanie had made, which was so filling we didn’t have to bother with dinner.
He’s such a dear man. It’s always good to see him. JS
Our 84 yr. old neighbor, Eldon, is a very active man, always working on his house or yard, and plays golf like I think we all wish we could. He loves it that we keep our yard nice and that we don’t back down from big tasks.
When he first met Stef, she had just moved into this house and was taking down a dying GIGANTIC oak tree in the front yard, pulling the rotting roots out with ropes attached to the bumper of her Volvo. “I’ve never seen a woman take on the projects that Stef has,” he told me. Of course, necessity is the mother of invention, and, when you’re raising 3 kids on your own, there’s very little money left over to hire someone to fall a tree for you so, with the help of friends, she took that big thing down without professional help. Eldon was impressed.
He and I are buddies. It distresses him, I think, to know that I am sick or hurt. When he came over the other day, my new knee still had the price tag on it, it was so new. Eldon looked at me. “So, how long you think you’ll be down?” he asked, “a week, maybe?”
I shook my ahead. “Not sure, Eldon,” I said, “It’s a whole new knee.”
He looked down at my leg all covered in bandages and ice packs. “Okay,” he said, “ten days, then.” I think it makes his world feel safer to know that we are on the road to recovery and not getting out of his sight for too long. He is a very dear man.
So, on this Thanksgiving, as I think back through all the memories of the Thanksgivings of my life and remember who and what I am thankful for, I want to say that I am also thankful for the older friends in my life – people like Eldon and Joanie, like my friend Marjorie who just left us – people who are kind enough to lend their wisdom and experience to me as I bumble and hobble along on this journey.
If you have older people still in your life, give thanks for them on this Thanksgiving Day, and give them a hug for me, too. JS
Goodness in my life all afternoon. Stef came home and made me some lunch, then Bob Jarrett came over to figure out what was wrong with my laptop. We spent the afternoon yapping about music, performers, families, communities and other things important to us all. As we were talking, Eldon arrived with some pieces of cake Joanie had made to share, kissing me on the forehead before he headed out.
With the computer fixed, Bob rearranged me on the sofa with all my ice machines and various accoutrements for healing, then headed home. Stef has one more night to work until 8pm so they can have Wed. off, and she won’t be home until later, so I’m sitting here typing, watching Toby watch for Stef out the front window. All of us who love her watch for her with this same dedication, knowing our lives are always better when Stef shows up. JS
Eldon, our 84 yr. old neighbor, always manages to yank my large ass out of the fire at least once a year. He just did it again while ago.
The city sends a big truck around through the neighborhoods in the fall to suck up the leaves we have raked to the curb. This usually happens the week of Thanksgiving and again the week of Christmas, so I certainly didn’t expect to see it today but, THERE IT WAS, just a couple of houses down from us, sucking and grinding away. I grabbed a rake and was furiously raking piles and piles and PILES of leaves toward the curb, trying to talk myself into being moderately satisfied if they only managed to pick up half of the four tons of leaves covering the yard today.
Beneath the growling noise of their machinery, suddenly, there was another noise. I looked up and here came Eldon across the street with his leaf blower blasting into action. Between the two of us and, adding to what Stef had raked to the curb the other day, we managed to get it all out into the street before the truck drove up. Of course, a strong wind or rain storm will coat the yard again with more leaves but, for the moment, we are feeling under control.
Eldon is such a dear man. I love this guy. And, he loves being the hero, I’m sure of it. Sometimes, I think he stands at their picture window just watching for an opportunity to race out and save me with some sort of equipment he loves to use. I’ve not spent a lot of time in my life being a damsel in distress, but rescuing me from havoc and doom seems to bring Eldon quite a bit of joy. Luckily, I don’t ever disappoint him. And, then, I get to hug his neck. JS
I saw a sign that read, “I’m in the mood to receive a check for $600,000.”
Yes. After taxes, even. I’d buy an adult tricycle and cruise around the neighborhood and Toby would trot along beside me. We would both smile in the sunshine. Our vitamin D levels would soar. Stef would take our picture and post it on Facebook. We would win a contest for “Cuteness.” I love it when my imagination runs away with me. JS
I power-washed the other half of the back fence today. Dear God, somebody shoot me now. I don’t think I can raise my arms ever again.
To accomplish this task, Stef and I had to move about half a cord of firewood plus about 8,000 boards of various lengths Stef Neyhart somehow can’t bear to part with, some we have had so long they are now petrified, which means they are now heavy as rocks. Every few years, we actually have a need for a board and she races to that pile and, after several hours of figuring, pulling, un-piling and then re-piling, she comes up with the perfect board to use for some project, waving it in the air and cheering like she’s headed home from the hunt. To her, this proves that a big pile of rotting boards is a good thing to have and to keep forever. And, so, we do.
Power-washing is one of the most satisfying and filthy things I think I ever do. Years of grime and dirt fly off those boards or off that concrete and plaster me with so much ook I’m fairly certain I’ll never again be clean. I love the look of things, though, once I’ve knocked all the dirt and moss off of them, and I feel pretty much the same way about myself when I get out of the shower and realize I DID get clean, after all. It feels like a miracle.
We were both just about to run out of steam, so we threw together a quick, but delightful dinner – grilled chicken breasts which had been marinating in olive oil, fresh rosemary from our garden and some sliced garlic. Grilled asparagus and a salad completed our meal which made it all so lovely to see but, really, it’s so darned healthy, I hope it doesn’t make us sick. Guess we’ll have to have some ice cream later just to make sure.
Our beautiful granddaughter, Ruthie, will be arriving on Sunday, so we are excited about that. She’s amazingly talented in so many areas it’s hard to keep up with them all – singing, gymnastics and dance are the big ones, I think. Nana (Stef) is going to teach her to kayak – what fun.
Well, that’s all the news fit to print from this end of the country. I would wave to you, if I could lift my arms. Since I can’t, I’ll blow all of you a kiss. JS
An elderly cat died in our bathtub this morning. He belongs to our neighbors who are out of town and, clearly, not very aware of how sick their cat was.
Stef brought him home from an alley-way last night where he was dying, wasting away, and very, very old. We had him resting on blankets and towels in the family room, but I insisted we put him in the tub last night so I could get up and check on him or give him water if he cried out, which he did, a couple of times.
I talked to him about the Rainbow Bridge and told him that this house was a safe place from which to make that launch. I told him to look for Riley (who would show him the ropes) but to watch out for Tinker (who could get kind of snarky) and how much fun it will be to feel his body young and strong again and out of pain.
He made hi.s transition about an hour ago at 8:30am. I had gone in there about a half hour before to give him a little sip of water, stroke his head and talk to him. He has always been an outdoor kitty, so this might have been the most affection he’s ever gotten in his life, and I’m feeling really sad and weepy, reactivated in remembering all the animals I’ve carried in my heart and had to say good-bye to. I’m glad we were the ones to do it, though, the ones to be kind to him right at the end of this life, the ones to remind him that this is what we are here for – to love each other, to care for each other gently, and, when the time comes, to wish each other well as we strike out for the next great adventure. JS
We are heading down to the beautiful Rogue River today to go on a hovercraft ride up the river for an hour or so, then we will have a scrumptious dinner at one of the lovely lodges up the Rogue – only accessible by boat – before we head back. Should be a fabulous day on the river.
I’ve only been on the Rogue once before, and it’s one of the most powerful and gorgeous rivers in Oregon, really something to experience. I was with a bunch of friends there about 20 yrs. ago and we all really got clobbered on that last kayak run – boats and paddles everywhere, my Chapstick swirling ’round and ’round in a whirlpool, people having to be rescued (no names mentioned) by others who actually knew what they were doing. When we stopped for lunch, someone noticed a slice in my leg and blood running down to my ankle, plus a giant bruise on my other leg. “Wow,” she said, “you really got smacked!”
I wiped the blood off my foot. “Oh, this?” I asked. “Well, this is where I had to save Robin and Nanbo from drowning while ago (which, as we all knew, was a totally false, humorous joke.)
She pointed to my bruise. “What happened here?”
There was no time to think up something as heroic as I wanted to, so I just told the truth. “Oh, this one? Well, this one…uh…this one…this one is where I hit my leg on the car door at the Taco Bell on the way down here.”
I don’t think today will be nearly so exciting or adventurous, but I bet it will be fun. And memorable. JS
Stef’s son, Sam, arrived late yesterday with his girlfriend, Trish, whom we’d not met before. Clearly, we wanted to impress her with our tidiness and flair. So, we have cleaned and scrubbed like maniacs for the past week, sprucing up the whole place with new lamps, comforters, pillows, etc.Since parts of our house often look like a grenade just went off in a laundry basket (no names named here) you can understand that this has been an INTENSE process. Indeed, right up until Stef left to go pick them up at the airport in Eugene, we were up on ladders hanging baskets with gorgeous flowers tumbling out of them.
While ago, as I was sitting in here perusing Facebook, Stef stuck her head in the door and asked, “Did you really mean to leave your underpants there on the bed?”
I looked up, perplexed. “Oh!” I said, “I actually DIDN’T mean to do that.”
She cocked her head, like a puppy. “So, then, you just got distracted?” she asked.
“No, not really,” I replied. “I was in the process of putting them on when suddenly – and, for no apparent reason – I wandered off.”
She snorted and headed down the hallway.
“At least, they’re not on my head!” I shouted after her.
And, they are NOT on my head, although I’m not entirely sure why I’m wearing this cap right now. Oh well. JS