Wednesday, April 28, 2010

There's No Place Like Home

Jerry and I made a long weekend trip home to Illinois this past week. We were both born and raised in Streator, Illinois. When you haven't been "home" for a while, some things may look different. A few years ago, for instance, we saw a couple of wind turbines for the first time. This time there were hundreds of these tall, graceful, hypnotic icons of the future -- rising up out of the corn and bean fields of farms that have been in the same families for generations. That was new...and fascinating.

But going home is more than just seeing what physical changes have occurred. What old, familiar buildings have been well maintained and which have been allowed to decay. Home is about people. On Saturday, we saw lots of my relatives as we gathered to say goodbye at a memorial service for my Aunt Leona. Cousins from Florida, Georgia, Missouri, Arizona, Indiana and Illinois got together and it was wonderful to see them all. This aunt was on my father's side of the family, but some cousins from my mother's side of the family showed up as well and it was great to seee them, too.
Since we were in town for only a short time, we also wanted to see other family and friends. On Sunday, Jerry's family got together and, as is usually the case, there was lots of good food and lots of laughs.

We also got to spend some time with our good friends, Bob and Joan. We got to eat a pork tenderloin sandwich, go to Steve's Bakery to bring a cinnamon roll home for Jess, and get some Cunningham's Whips. Ahhh...the good things of "home".

Even though it was the shortest visit in the history of vacations, we went to Sheridan to see our BFFs Ken and Shirley and spend the night with them. Yes, it's a little father drive in the wrong direction...but I couldn't be that close and not see their faces and hug their necks. Sheridan is the "home" where we lived for 12 years before coming to Georgia and where we raised our children. There is something in my soul that requires a visit there whenever possible.

But after all the driving, visiting, eating, more driving, more eating, winery stops, still more eating and much more felt really good to get back "home". Our yard is still at it's blooming peak and strawberries are waiting for us to go pick them with the grandkids. So what -- or where -- is "home"? Is it wherever you hang your hat; is it where your heart is; is it where everyone knows your name; is it where you get your mail; is it where you were born? I think for me the second definition fits. And if home is where my heart is, then I have been so blessed to have so many places I call "home" and so many wonderful and important people in each of those places.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Holy Smoke

Last Thursday was a regular, busy day. In the morning I met Jodi and the kids at a local consignment sale. I like to keep a few sets of seasonal play clothes at my house for the kids when they come over, so we went to get some. They were each excited to get a new toy to take home, too. Then, the rest of the day, as the Tea Party members protested the tax situation, we went on about our business. For both Jodi and me that meant, among other things, packing for a weekend retreat with our friends. We enjoy an annual getaway weekend of quilting, in my case, and scrapbooking, in hers. After dinner, she made a cute video out her kitchen window of the kids riding their scooters in the driveway while she cleaned up dinner. She said how she enjoyed that time of day now that the weather was getting nice and the kids could play outside while she cleaned up the kitchen. You can check it out on her blog:

Twenty-four hours later, the spot where she was standing to take that video looked like this. I got to the retreat about 10:30 Friday morning and was getting settled in along with others. By early afternoon I was expecting Jodi to show up at any minute. Her babysitter was coming around lunch time. Then, when I called her, I found out that she had been gone from home about 30 minutes when she got a call from the sitter to come back home. The house was on fire.

Christin, the sitter, did everything right and got everyone safely out of the house and for that we are eternally grateful. There are so many things -- large and small -- that we can find to thank God for. The fire gutted the kitchen as you can see. But the majority of the rest of the house, as well as all their belongings, were lost to smoke damage. This picture was taken of Emery's bathroom...upstairs.

So as we are coming up to a week later (tomorrow is Thursday again), things are still busy. But this week Jodi is busy with making phone calls, decisions, arrangements, etc. Jeremy is busy -- not with the fishing tournament he had planned on, but with getting bids, talking to insurance companies and all those particulars. Life does go on even when it can be drastically altered in a matter of minutes or less.

One of the things I noticed in the house when I first went through it just an hour or so after the firemen left was this plaque on the wall. Jerry and I bought it for the kids as a house warming gift when they moved in about 5 years ago. This granite-looking center had been matted and framed. The mat and frame had burned off from around it, but the engraving was still as clear as it had been when it was new. And it pretty much says it all.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Laundry Mishap

As I was tossing in a load of laundry this morning, I was thinking that this is a picture perfect day to hang it out on the line to dry. I love using my clothesline...I'm being ecologically responsible and the clothes smell wonderful. Today looks like a great day for that -- sun shining, low humidity, nice breeze. But looks can be deceiving. We have also just really started pine pollen season. Anyone who lives with pine trees knows what I'm talking about. A light yellow powder covers everything! I laughed to myself and said, "Not today. I don't want my undies coming in looking yellow!"
Then I proceeded to toss yesterday's new bright, sunny yellow Easter table cloth into the tub. Well....same result as hanging outside. I did have a split second thought, so I also tossed in a dye magnet sheet. I guess I didn't realize how much yellow dye was in the table cloth! So now one of the nice, white fluffy towels in the guest bathroom is a very lovely pale shade of yellow. Actually, it matches the room quite nicely. And if I knew how to get a very pale purple one and a very pale green one I would go for it. But I don't, so it just looks goofy.
If you see a guy running around in tighty yellows -- as opposed to tighty whities -- just send him this way. He's mine.