“Life is better with a positive outlook.” ~ Unknown
We had a big time tonight. UK offered seats at an okay rate to its employees, so I got three. They were nose bleed seats; so high in Rupp Arena that Mom and I both had a hard time with vertigo. Nevertheless, we had a blast. It was mom’s first UK Wildcat game at Rupp. Dad used to go when he was a younger man. Tonight, instead, he periodically reminded us that you can see the game better on TV. This he repeated in between his chanting “Go Big Blue” and “BOO,” which was said a lot during this game. Mom said going in that they’d lose because she was going. She was right. An LSU buzzer shot, despite goal tending, lost us the game. Still, we had a great time, crappy seats and all.
Yesterday was Groundhog Day. It was also Hero and Shero’s 56th wedding anniversary. Today, we met for a delicious brunch. Dad liked telling the waitress that this was their one year anniversary. We all laughed, because it was such an obvious lie, as if the twinkle in his eye didn’t give it away on its own. We saw a lot of people we knew so we had great visits with all of them and with each other. The weather was stunningly perfect, too. Don’t they look good? They’ve had a bad couple of years of late, but they’ve both been feeling pretty good recently. Winter months can be hard for the older generations, especially if they’re prone to illness, but these two have weathered the cold exceptionally well. I, for one, am exceedingly grateful to celebrate them once more. They give me hope that one day my hair will be a beautiful white, too.
Marie Dale’s birthday is July 4. We’re never at work for her birthday, so I’m lucky if I even remember to wish her happy birthday let alone do something for her. I’m absolutely terrible remembering important dates like that. So, tonight, I fixed that when she took mom with her to get her nails done. And after the ladies had themselves a little spa time, they joined me and dad for a birthday dinner because tomorrow is mom’s 77th birthday. Bless ’em both for dealing with my forgetful self. Happy birthday to two of my favorite people!
What a busy day this has been. Lots of business to be done in Lexington, then it was off to the homeland of Eastern Kentucky where more business got done. But in amongst all this business busy-ness was a lot of great visiting. Like when Jill LeMaster and her nephew, Jacob, dropped by. They brought delicious foods to mom, and they also brought a selfie-stick. I’d never used a selfie stick before. Here’s my first try. Everyone I ran into today was happy and helpful. Such joy.
Before the Nutcracker, mom and I went to Union Terminal to enjoy the art deco and the train exhibit. Duke Energy (formerly CG&E) has a train exhibit that used to be set up in the windows of Shilito’s Department Store in downtown Cincinnati. The first (and only) time I saw it was in those windows, and boy, did it set the Christmas mood. Now, at Christmas, the train is set up in Union Terminal. I’m not sure why the change, but it gave us a chance to enjoy the renovated terminal and obverse the whole set from a birds-eye view.
Below, Mom found an old ’57 Chevy, which happened to be a police car in the set. It was the first car she owned. We really enjoyed the trains and Union Terminal. It made Christmas extra special.
Sometimes Christmas doesn’t happen on Christmas Day. Today was just such an occasion. Aunt Lois came for dad at 10am. They went off for a day of Christmas services at church, dinners, fellowship, and more. Meanwhile, Mom and I also set out on a day-long adventure that ended with the Nutcracker performed by the Cincinnati Ballet in newly renovated Music Hall. Mom had never seen the Nutcracker before, and neither of us had been inside Music Hall. It was an absolutely perfect day start to finish. Christmas, I am reminded, is not about gifts, no matter how much our capitalist society would have you believe otherwise. Christmas is about this. Take joy in your loved ones and go have adventures as much as you are able.
Mom and Aunt Mabel have been friends for decades, even before mom married dad. They shared an apartment together in Louisville after mom got out of the Army. She went to work for Blue Cross & Blue Shield while she dated dad when he was stationed nearby at Fort Knox. I think Mabel was waiting tables, but I could be wrong about that. The point is you can tell the two of them had a good time back then. They both loved to dance and cut up. Mom can’t cut up like she used to, but I believe in a pinch she could still cut a rug. I don’t think Mabel’s ever stopped cutting a rug. It sure makes mom happy to see Mabel. It makes me happy to see her, too.
We all had such a good time yesterday that I caught not one, not two, but three smiles from Tony Adkins. He’s the sweetest man ever was, but he rarely smiles even when he’s super happy. So, when I caught the first smile I thought it was an anomaly. It wasn’t. Tony was smiling throughout the day. That just tickled me to death because I love him very much and want him to be happy. I’m sure to catch more smiles as the years roll on.
We had our fall family gathering today at Uncle Harold and Aunt Phyllis’ farm in Morgan County (that’s Eastern Kentucky for those unfamiliar). Fall’s brisk weather finally swooped in and made the day crisp and overcast. Perfection. We ate hearty foods, drank hot coffee, had our annual hay ride, shared birthday cake for Dad and Aunt Linda, and told ghost stories. In fact, that may have been the most fun of the day, sitting in a room surrounded by the elders telling stories of visitations and haints galore; the fantastic and the believable. There was something very, very different about this gathering from the others we’ve had. I sensed a calm in the air. The bittersweet thirst for those no longer with us while reveling in their memories in unadulterated happiness. Perhaps Cousin Brian was on to something during the hayride. “We are the age our parents were when we went on hayrides,” he said as we sat sandwiched between first and third generation Terrys. It happens to every generation in every family, in slow, often imperceptible ways until one day Cousin Brian sees the culmination of time in a single moment. The realization that the changing of the guard is fully underway. This is just one blessing of this family; to have sustained multiple relationships over decades that can come together and celebrate goodness. To be truly grateful for the gifts in spite of the sadness, to me, is a mark of great faith. That is something this family has in spades.