The Community Of A High School Football Game

Gramps and I have been going to weekly high school football games recently. Not so much to see the football game itself, but to see the halftime show. You see Mac plays the sousaphone in his high school marching band.

In Texas, marching bands and music in general are a big deal in high school. And this is a competition year, so performance levels are pretty high and expectations are even higher.

So being the good grandparents, we attend every game to support Mac and cheer him on. We wear the school T-shirt and ball cap. We sit next to the band with all the other band families. We clap and cheer at the appropriate times. And we know where our specific child is on the the field at all times. We have this band thing down pat.

Since we arrive early, we watch the football team in action. At the beginning of the season, we thought this was the disposable part of the evening. But we have since learned it is the appetizer to the whole meal.

Gramps and I have become part of an entire village of supporters of high school kids doing their athletic best. We delight with them when they do well. We mourn with when they don’t. We encourage them when they face a challenge. We constantly tell then how much faith we have in them .

Students, parents, grandparents, friends, and family – all one community. All backing a team of teenagers with a ball and one goal in mind. All while enjoying the “great” stadium food!

Then there is halftime!! How much fun can we stand!! We are loving it!!

We get to watch Mac and his band put on a fantastic show with precision marching and a phenomenal musical sound!!!!!

Of course it is followed by more football, to round out the evening. By this time, I feel like I know everyone seated around me and which child is theirs (football player or band member) on the field. I start to care how all the kids are performing – not just my Mac

I love my little football community! It’s a little different each week but the same in many ways.

Can’t wait for Friday night when my village gathers in the stands again for “good” food, good conversation, good fellowship and good cheering.

Go Rangers!!!!!!!!!!!!

How To Become A Granny

Next to being a mother, being a granny is the best thing ever. The relationship has a lot of the perks of motherhood, without all the responsibilities. For example, I get all the hugs and kisses but don’t have to worry about getting the kids to bed on time or giving them a balanced diet.

The grandchildren and I have a lot of fun together and don’t have a lot of rules we have to live with. It’s pretty much a perfect world, being a granny.

OK, so first of all, to become a granny, you have to get a grandchild, somehow. There are several ways to accomplish this. First, there is the old fashioned way. You know – you have a child. The child begets another child.

It’s lovely and very sweet to see the baby of your baby. You fall instantly in love because they remind so much of your baby and when you gave birth. It’s a full circle moment for sure.

One grandson came to me this way. The son of my daughter, Mac, was our first grandchild and is now fifteen years old.

Then God can gift you with grandchildren, as I was when our niece asked Gramps and me to be her parents and be grandparents to her children. That’s how I received five grandchildren in Phoenix, now ages fourteen to twenty-two.

These gifted grandchildren came to me in such a special way. I learned to love them as I learned to know them, each in their own special way.

Then, of course, there is adoption, where you choose the child yourself. How special is that? I don’t have any grandchildren in that way but I would certainly accept them if they came in such a manner.

I love being a granny so much. I would take grandchildren almost anyway they might come to me. If they were for sale in a mall, I would become a retail shopping granny. If they came wrapped in bows, it would be Christmas every day. And if I had to borrow some, I would most certainly get the library card and start checking them out!!!!

I recommend grannyhood to all. For me it is the culmination of all I have learned and loved the past seventy-four years rolled up in six shiny young faces that I cannot get enough of.

Try it! I think you’ll like it!!!

Gramps And Granny Go To Oshkosh

Gramps and I decided to go to Oshkosh this year, which if you are not aware, is the biggest Air Show in the country – maybe the world. I’m not sure, but it’s pretty big.

We have been before and have even taken grandchildren. (See Camping With Teenage Boys 9-5-2013) But somehow, this year was different. We had originally hoped to take Mac, our 15 yo grandson with us, but Summer High School Band conflicted, so we decided to go by our lonesomes.

Off we started in the old reliable camper, now 17 years old! Our first stop was to visit cousins in Iowa for a couple days and of course, eat sweet corn, freshly picked. Nothing is better than fresh Iowa corn!!!

Then straight to Oshkosh, Wisconsin to find a spot in the field designated for camping with no hookups. Good thing we had our generator! It was a huge village of every kind of camper, van, RV and motorhome you could imagine with every accessory known to man.

Bicycles, scooters, golf carts, trams and buses were going by constantly, to say nothing of the stream of pedestrians. Our little village was certainly a busy one.

And may I add, a very pleasant one. Families, children, elderly, disabled all gently mixed with no cross words, no grumbling, no shouting. Everyone used kind language, humor and smilies at every turn.

Gramps and I felt safe and among friends everywhere we went. Young people were a polite as the mature and the old were having as much fun as the kiddos.

I’ve never seen such harmony in such a large group in my life. What a treat!

To Gramp’s delight we saw wonderful planes, planes and more planes. Some of the old WWII planes flew in huge formations that may never be seen again, It was very stirring to see.

The most fun was the WW II encampment where everyone was in uniform and stayed in character, even the USO girls and Nurses. How they found all the equipment and paraphernalia appropriate to the times is amazing.

We walked a lot, carried our lawn chairs, drank gallons of fluids and tried not to get sunburned. It all seemed to work pretty well.

Day two, a nice couple moved into the area next to us in the field. We met them, Mary and Tim and found we had a lot in common.

Mary loves quilting – like me! Mary is a retired nurse – like me! She has two children – like me! A boy and a girl – like me! Tim is a pilot and loves cars – like Gramps! So we did the logical thing – we went to dinner. For TWO HOURS!!! We talked, we laughed,, we touched. (Nurses touch people – it’s a thing!) We felt like we had known each other a lifetime.

And to make it even more special, it was our 53rd Wedding Anniversary. Gramps and I agreed it was one of the best in many years.

Now I have a new friend. That’s worth any kind of trip in my book.

The trip ended a day early due to a storm coming to Oshkosh. The prediction of strong winds and 2-3 inches of rain is more than this gal can tolerate in a camper, so home we came. Sad to miss the big night Air Show and fireworks, but practicality prevailed.

Two days on the road to get back home to record-breaking temperatures. Oh boy!

But I have always said that coming home is the best part of every trip.

A Funny Thing

A couple weeks ago, I was ready to make some chocolate chip cookies. It was a cold day and we needed some good old-fashioned home cooking to warm us up.

So I got out all the necessary items – flour, sugar, chips, mixer, beater blade. Oops! No beater blade. You know what I’m talking about right? The beater with the rubber on one side that scrapes the bowl as it turns. Yeah, that one. It wasn’t in the mixer bowl, where it always is.

I looked in the dishwasher, in every drawer, every cupboard, in the pantry, the stove, the refrigerator. Not there. So, I branched out to other rooms – the dining room, the living room, the office. It could be there! Well, it had to be somewhere! I could not find it!

I looked in the trash. Yuck! I even checked in the car. I know! It was nowhere. I mean gone.

OK, so I went on Amazon, ordered a new one and made the cookies with the old mixer. Harder but got the job done.

Now yesterday, I came home from an appointment, walked into the kitchen and there is the beater laying on the counter. It is dirty but otherwise okay.

Gramps is smiling and says, “You’ll never guess where I found it!”

(He’s right. I’ll never guess.) “So where was it?” I ask.

“Outside in the garden,” he cheerily answers.

Well, that’s the one place I didn’t look, so it seems somewhat plausible. But how in the world did it get there?

We finally figured it must have accidentally gotten thrown out in the garden with some of the composting material from the kitchen. Problem solved!

Just then I noticed a package sitting on the counter. Yup!! You guessed it!! The new blade had just arrived!!

And now we have two that we can lose.

How To Watch The Super Bowl And Not Gain 10 Pounds

So that day is here. You know that day. That day of eighteen hours of straight football watching for one game – the Super Bowl. It started yesterday – all day. I mean really! What can they talk about hour after hour? You’d think they were, oh I don’t know . . . women! (Did I say that ?!)

And don’t forget the snacks. We have to have chips, salsa, dips, sliders, wings and popcorn. And then the pizza, cheeseburgers, fries and tacos. Pretty much anything with cheese and/or BBQ sauce on it.

And beer – don’t forget the beer. I can’t imagine how many gallons will be consumed. Oh my!!! (The good thing is they will only be driving from the sofa!)

Oh my hips are groaning and I haven’t taken a bite. What’s a gal to do?

I can’t serve Tofu and cottage cheese. Gramps is a Texan and he wants “real” food.

So here I am in pre-game stress. I see nothing but about 10,000 calories ahead of me today. I must have a strategy.

OK, so every time I hear the word “touchdown,” I will take a big drink of water to help fill me up and keep me hydrated.

And every time a team makes a first down, I will get up out of my chair and do five jumping jacks.

Ops, there’s the cupcakes ready from the oven. Oh, they’re going to be so good when I frost them.

Oh, and every time my sweetie Mahomes carries the ball himself for yardage, I will jump up and yell. (That’s worth calories, right?)

Oh gosh, the BBQ sauce is bubbling. Gotta go stir it.

OK, where was I? Oh right. Now every time Kansas City scores (Can you tell I’m a fan?) I will do my happy dance. I wish you could see it. It’s pretty cool!

Gotta go get those sliders done. Be back in a minute.

Whew! I’m getting exhausted! Can’t wait til I can sit in my recliner, put my feet up and watch my Patrick perform.

Now, back to my strategy. I have hand sewing I am going to be doing to keep my hands busy . . . but I’d hate to get BBQ sauce on it. Better re-think that one.

Well, anyway, I plan to stay busy – if I can, if I remember. Best laid plans and all.

OK, for certain I will be yelling and laughing a lot. That’s worth a couple wings, isn’t it?

Oh, this isn’t going to be as easy as I thought.

And now I have to go. The pizza just got delivered.

Family

The one thing I always wanted was family.  I loved the thought of having many cousins, aunts and uncles.  I always wanted a sister.  I thrived on large family gatherings.

Having said all that, family is the one thing I was never blessed with.  I don’t relate to either of my brothers.  One just doesn’t respond in any way.  The other was in the prison system most of his adult life and died early.

My mother died at age fifty and none of her family has spoken to us since then.  My dad’s family has never related to us in all these years.  I have cousins I have never met, seen or talked to.

Because Gramps is a genealogist, I know more about my distant relatives than I do about relatives my own age.  It broke my heart as a child.  Wanting what I couldn’t have and having no way to fix it.  I had no power to get the family I wanted, when I was young.

When I got married and had children, I thought now I had the family I was looking for.  I had a devoted husband and two children.

Except now our son is not speaking to us.  Our daughter and her family live nearby but we only see them about once a month.  But lucky me, I have our niece who has become our daughter and her five children, who have become our grandchildren.  We see them a couple times a year and those times are so special.

Still there are no large family gatherings.  No extended family to relate to.

So I have devised my own way to have a family.  I have friends that care about me the way a relation would.  Some of these friends have been in my life for many years and some are recent acquaintances.  But all of them fill a hole in my heart and my life.

My friends share my love of sewing and quilting.  We love to sit together with fabric, needle and thread in our hands, sharing our thoughts about everything.  We care for each other in good times and difficult times.

My friends call me.  They check-up on me.  They ask me if I’m okay.  I do the same for them.

My friends invite me for dinner and holidays.  We have lunch together.  We share potlucks and buffets.

My friends share my good news and are happy for me.  They hold my hand and cry with me if the news is bad.  My friends do not abandon me – ever.

My friends are my family.   My lifetime wish has been fulfilled.  I have many sisters now.  I have gatherings large and small.  I have the equivalent of dozens of cousins.

The one thing I always wanted, I now have to my heart’s content.  I couldn’t be happier.

Inappropriately Dressed

The invitation said “casual” dress.  So Gramps and I took them at their word and arrived in jeans and T-shirts.  The only other couple we knew, besides the hosts, were also dressed as we were.

Everyone else had on slacks, blouses and button-down shirts.  We four looked like the country bumpkins of the group.

How did they know what “casual” meant?  How did we not?

At first, I was just embarrassed.  I felt I had somehow let our hosts down, that I had embarrassed them in some way.

Then the four of us began to be treated as if we were inferior to everyone.  As if we did not understand what they were talking about.  As if we were confused children.

Even our hosts were rude to us and shamed us in front of the others.  If it hadn’t hurt so much, I probably would have found it interesting what a difference our clothes made in that social situation.

Because we were underdressed, we weren’t allowed to fit in the group.  We were laughed at, ignored and talked down to – because of our attire!

By then, I was angry and wanted to leave.  But the other three of our little foursome didn’t want to give up so easily.  So we four formed our own small party.

We partook of the food, the drinks, the lovely home and our own companionship.  We found our own little spot and had a great conversation all to ourselves.

I have no idea what the rest of those people did or talked about.

But when Gramps and I left, we could honestly tell the hostess, “We had a great time!”

My Favorite Possessions

I think about the things I would try to save if there were a fire in my house.  Those objects that are precious, have memories attached to them and can’t be replaced.   Those possessions that can give you a hug and a good feeling just by being there, being seen and being touched.

I have several of these irreplaceable items Some are out to be seen.  Some are safely tucked away.  And some are used daily.

My quilts are very important to me, but one is especially precious.  It’s hanging on the wall in our guest bedroom.  It’s so valuable to me because it is made from linens stitched by my grandmother and mother.  There are tablecloths, towels, napkins, dresser scarves and doilies in the quilt.  Then it is bordered in colorful handkerchiefs.

I can just feel those women around me when I am in the presence of that quilt.  It’s like a great big hug.  It speaks to me through its stitches and linens.  I would definitely grab it first, if there was a fire or a flood.

My great-grandmother’s bedroom set is in our bedroom.  Gramps and I have used it since we were married.   My grandmother was born in that bed.  It is made of cherry wood and is very ornate – very Victorian.  It has a tall headboard and footboard.

I can’t even tell you how cuddled and comforted I feel in Gram’s big bed.  I can just imagine the generations of women dusting those wooden boards and changing the linens and fluffing the pillows.  It’s an honor to keep up the tradition of loving my bed.  My dilemma?  I’m not sure I could carry it out in a disaster.

Now my mother’s silver tea set is very portable in case of a calamity.  It’s tucked away in a cupboard because we never use it anymore.  That’s not to say I don’t get it out and pet it periodically.  My mother had it sitting on the buffet, always polished and always shiny.  It reminds me of her in many ways.  She too was always polished and shiny.

I have some of my Daddy’s tools, which also are not very useful but are a treasure to me. He was a carpenter in the CB’s during WW II and was a general all-around fix-it kind of guy.  To have those tools that were used and touched by him so many times is a gift for me.  When I see them, I can almost hear him working and banging away on some project. Thinking of it now almost brings tears to my eyes.

Then there’s the diamond ring that Gramps gave me many years ago as a birthday present.  I wear it all the time.  It’s a daily reminder of his love and devotion to me. Coincidentally, the large diamond in the center is surrounded by six smaller diamonds, exactly the number of grandchildren we have.

The whole ring is a little remembrance of my entire family – all three generations.  I don’t go anywhere without it.

So obviously, all these possessions could not be gotten out of the house very rapidly.  But they could in a slow evacuation.  And you know what?  It doesn’t matter if I have any of these items really.

Because I carry all the people and memories in my heart, where they are safe from every disaster and can never be lost.

My Neighborhood

Gramps and I moved to this neighborhood almost eight years ago.  We loved it from the start.  It was exactly what we were looking for.

First of all, it had sidewalks.  We had gone without sidewalks for about twenty-five years and that was the most important thing in our move.

Sidewalks make neighborhoods friendlier and closer.  They connect all the houses and make them safer.  The people in neighborhoods with sidewalks know each other and spend more time talking to each other.   It’s a proven fact.

Our neighborhood has great sidewalks.  Gramps and I walk them every evening and run into numerous neighbors and their dogs while we are out.  We stop and chat with them each time because we know our neighbors – all of them.

Our little village here is very safe because we all check up on each other.  We know when someone is gone on a trip or when someone is sick.  We know when a strange car enters the neighborhood or when someone has visitors.

We feel very comforted and cared for right now in these hard times.  Our younger neighbors have checked in on us and made sure we have everything we need.  Gramps and I know for certain we could go to anyone for assistance and get it with no questions asked.

Gramps and I are the unofficial grandparents of the neighborhood and used to be almost the only ones home all day.  But now during this health crisis, a great majority of the folks are home.  Our village now looks like Saturday, every day.

Everyone is out doing lawn work, washing cars and odd jobs around the house.  We are still visiting with each other and the dogs are still running up to greet us.

All the neat lawns and well-kept homes attracted us to this neighborhood.  We could tell that everyone was proud to live here and worked hard to keep their homes looking nice. Such a good neighborhood without an HOA!

Gramps and I love the diversity of our sweet neighborhood.  There are elderly, young families, children, teens, singles, people of color and lots of pets.  I think we would be bored if we were living in an all-seniors environment at this stage of our lives.

Now that we have found the neighborhood that is so perfect for us, we plan to never move again.  This is our last home.  We will stay here and be part of the best neighborhood for the next person who moves here.