Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Funny Farm

Husband and I are spending an extensive ten days with his family on their farm. Here, they raise grandchildren, wine, houses, and dogs. 

Seventy Five. Seventy five acres is where the Cagles call home. All five. Each child has two acres squared off for them to use at their discretion. Eventually, we will move an ancient farm house to Will's two acres. On his (our) two, he (we) has (have) beautiful long leafs, a pond, and a winding trail ready to be made into a driveway. Don't get any ideas-- this will be our farm house, and a home away from home for when we visit. And it won't be any time soon. We dream. And we plan.
Fifty. Fifty catfish in the pond fished by nephews, nieces, and uncles. Notsomuch on the aunts, daughters, or daughters in law.
Forty Six. Forty six months since Will has had this kind of time off. (April, 2007.)
Forty Two. Forty two months since we have been here for longer than two days. The excruciating time when Cathering & Charner almost lost their baby, John. We packed our bags in fifteen minutes and made the drive in a scary short three hours. We stayed for days and prayed for the little guy who is learning the letter "G" today.
Thirty. Thirty pecan trees on Uncle Floyd and Aunt Bobbie Grace's farm where we ran around with metal detectors searching for buried treasure. Rusty nails and old tin were all we found.
Twenty. Twenty miles of dirt roads around here that Tommy, Will, Rachel, and Eileen rode. No Miller Lite was involved. Promise.
Fifteen. Fifteen cookies Addie & I made yesterday learning about fractions. 
Twelve. Twelve chickens that produce one to two eggs a day.
Nine. Nine miles from town.
Eight. Eight grandchildren live here. One on the way. Catherine is pregnant with her precious fourth and I am already in love.
Seven. Seven dogs. Eleven when the baby comes to town from Athens. 
Four. Four houses. The Cagles, the Montgomerys, the Tauntons, and the Rouses decided to make their roots with the live oaks and spanish moss covered trees next to siblings, in-laws, cousins, and parents.
Three. Three cows purchased and waiting to find their new home here come March.
Two. Two grandmothers who will break ground on their new home this spring. Tommy's mother (Miss Lucille as I am lucky enough to call her) and Debbie's mother (Miss Bonnie) will be roommies out here in a comfortable two master bedroom home. 
One. One very ancient live oak tree in the front yard of the original house that we have our picture taken in front of when all five children are together with the ever growing family. It is always a disaster rounding up the grandchildren like herding cats, smiling for Abby the photographer and keeping the dogs out of the way. But, for a micro second as Abby snaps, we are all smiles on this compound that grows more than flowers and vegetables.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

To Strike, please, Lightening

I confessed today to a friend that my road block of writers block was getting the best of me. A blog was hammered out shortly thereafter, and the thought was there, but the heart was not. Little did I know, that my block was really quite pale in comparison to my family and their battles. 
My sweet cousin, Tara, and her husband, Turner, have just made a commitment to their son, Brennan, and his fourth transplant, this time with Tara’s cells.
So, tonight I sat down and put words to an email in a note to her. With the confessions they share to thousands over the CarePages, I do not think she will mind me sharing my secret message to her:  

Oh the weight on your shoulders must be such a heavy burden. I've been thinking about this 4th transplant and that they saved the best for last. 
While you and Turner conceived your boys and they carry the combined blood of the two of you throughout all 3... You carried him, you grew him, you fed his brain, his organs, his heart, and his soul inside of you for nine months. And you gave him life. 
Let's hope and let's pray that lightening strikes in the same place twice.
I’m praying. I’m praying for so many things right now. I used to be so quiet about my faith, but now- two friends have lost their fathers, one was buried last week and one is being buried tomorrow. My SIL lost her baby. My husband needs strength, courage, and an even keel as he holds strangers and their most precious gifts in his hand. Several of my sweet girlfriends are carrying their next generation.  The new babies. The beautiful new babies.  And here I am, praying for all of them, holding my sweet gift as we say our prayers each night and hopes that The Lightening Thrower sends a bolt this way. 
Or that way.
Maybe I should just pray for lightening.

I'll have the veal

It’s been cold. Cold like too-cold to go outside. Eileen is not a fan of her new stroller (she hates the damn thing) and refuses to get in. The only thing she hates more than her stroller is the foot muff/sleeping bag/lime green snuggle that keeps her toasty warm.  Hates it. So, we spend a lot of time indoors looking at the sunshine from outside.
We have had minimal snow. Really, a depressing amount. Not enough to pile up, but enough to create icy sidewalks, which does not make a difference to these Georgia girls, as, aforementioned, we do not go outside.
Husband has just come off an incredibly difficult schedule, so we actually get to see him for more than 20 minutes a day. It’s a nice change-- no longer being a single-parent. The other day I was complaining (no other word for it-- complaining) to a friend in a similar boat as her husband has just started up a new insurance house in Greensboro. We both live in tight quarters with babes who are weeks apart. Lucky for her as my glass is eternally half full, she is pregnant with their second due in May. Digress-- complaining about being a single parent and her husband spreads his seeds of wisdom with two facts:
  1. If I was truly a single parent, I’d be living in subsidized housing and not getting a check every two weeks. (I kindly told him that I would be getting a check every two weeks: welfare)
  2. Everyone likes veal, but no one wants to see the calf. Right now, the husbands are the calves, but soon- they’ll be veal. 
Petra & I decided to bide our time, enjoy our small quarters and relish the times when clipping coupons was how we spend our Sunday evenings until the waiter says, “The special this evening is veal. Would you like that with red wine?”

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Straight Plagiarism, take two....

Our dear friend Boone Knox passed away today. Boone wore his Brennan Bracelet loyally and with pride throughout his own fight with cancer. The last thing he said to me was, “I’m going to put in a good word for your boy when I get up there.”
I know you will Boone. We love you and appreciate you.
For those of you who read this carepage tonight, I urge all of you who believe in the power of prayer to join our prayer of gratitude for Boone, and for countless others we love who have gone before us. Thanks for the love that they shared with us, and which we now have to share with our families, friends and the people we will meet down the road. May this love that lives forever guide our hearts and our minds to make the right decisions in all that we do. And while you are at it, please say a prayer for Brennan's ANC to kick in. Feel free to pass this request along.
Love from Memphis.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Monday, January 3, 2011

A little research...

So, some of these names have struck me that we visited yesterday...

Remember Lt. Mitchell? The one who wanted the juice? Well... it turns out...

He's kinda a big deal...

Oh, and those codes that looked a little crazy?
Well... that guy is a great American...
LM & 2 OLC means Legion of Merit & 2 Oak Leaf Crests
BSM & 3 OLC means Bronze Star & 3 Oak Leaf Crests (or clusters, I can't remember)
AM & 19 OLC means Award of Merit & 19 OLC!

I tip my hat to him and his patriotism.

Charlotte? The woman I want to be like-- beautiful, kind, and beloved? She christened the USS Grampus. Her husband served in the navy for five wars... not five years, five WARS totaling fifty years and sixth months. When he retired, his speech to Annapolis concluded with, "The first fifty years were the hardest."

hah. I want to learn more about the woman behind the man, but we all have to start somewhere.

More as I have more time...

Sunday, January 2, 2011

A beautiful day in the neighborhood.

William E. has a project due tomorrow, so the Rachel P. & Patricia E. packed up on this cool late morning and headed to see Arthur C., my great grandfather, Elise S. (doesn't roll off the tongue quite as well), and Annie D. (great-great aunt?) at Arlington Cemetery.

We are special folks by getting to actually drive into Arlington and wind our way to the oldest part of the cemetery to greet the Ducats. Patricia E. leapt out of her car seat and beelined straight to him. She has squeaky shoes and wanted to show them off.

Some children learn their letters and numbers with pen, paper or Sesame Street. My kid? Oh, we learn it the old school way, literally. "That's right, Eileen, that is a 'D'. Do you see the 'A'?"


They say that babies (and animals) can see and hear things that we can't, like angels. When E had free reign running around her great-great grandfathers grave.... wait, am I a generation off? Is Arthur C. my great? or my great-great? 

Woody is my dad
AJ is his mom, my grandmother
Reggie is her dad? my g'grandfather
Arthur is his dad? my g'g'grandfather?

(stream of consciousness, that's what this blog is)

Getting back on track.... babies and animals can see and hear things that we, as adults, can't. Car parked, Eileen out- she bee-lined for Arthur C. and hopped all around his granite post with no direction from me. Dancing and singing, she raised her right hand and started waving to something I could not see. Secretly, I envisioned an old man with a goatee waving back in an antique uniform with gold fringe. Not much thought of the old birds that are his wife and daughter. 

After 15 minutes of hopping around and dancing for those that I could not see, Eileen decided it was time to meet the neighbors.

The McMillans seemed nice enough, there were seven little houses in a large square around this big one. And, see that patch of granite to the right? That says....

Next trip back, I will wear scuffier shoes, so I can see what his twin brothers name was.

Eileen and I have no idea what all those codes mean... but once we hit up google, we'll happily let you know.

Eileen thought Horace might want some juice, he politely declined.


Purple Heart Lt. Mitchell said he'd like a little, so Eileen returned thanks for giving to his country so that we may remain free.

Arthur C. has some pretty high class neighbors. Like this guy....

And this congressman....

Col. Regan interrupted our neighborhood jaunt and asked Eileen to sit down and told her a story...

So, she did.

But, then it started to look like rain, so we went to tell Arthur C. goodbye...

And she showed off her number/letter skills one more time...

Before she sat, like this, for almost a full minute- mesmerized by something I could not see.

We said our thanks to the modern soldiers of Iraq and Afghanistan before heading home...

Arthur C. tuckered out Patricia E. and was asleep before we even left the neighborhood...

Arlington, it's our favorite neighborhood.

Oh, and a final thought... I want to be remembered as Charlotte should be remembered: