Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Two Heroes and a Flash Flood

Tonight I have two stories to share. I can't decide which, so why not tell both? 

Would-Be Heroes
A week ago today, I went walking in the park with Lizzette, my most frequent walking companion aside from Jesus.

We didn't look this good on that evening. 

We got off to a very late start, so it was quite dark on our way back. Thus my usual wonder at the fireflies' magical pinpricks of golden light was tempered by fear of catching the Zika virus from the mosquitoes who also inhabit the thickly wooded creek bank.

Deep in conversation, we'd nearly made it back to the main road when we both stopped short, arrested by a plaintive cry.

"What was..." Lizzette began.

"Is it a..." I started to say "baby," but then we heard it again.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Just Part of the Family

Allyson's family birthday party was delayed a bit this year because she wanted Aunt Amy to be there, and the logistics were a bit difficult to arrange. Mom, Dad, and Rick recently passed the wheelchair transfer training at Amy's rehab center, and that meant Amy could now go on family outings. So when I found out that Amy was coming to our Father's Day celebration at Rick's house last night, I asked if we could celebrate Allyson's birthday at the same time.

Four Generations of Dads:
Rick, Dick (Dad), Miles, Mitchell

For this third birthday celebration, Allyson requested Aunt Melody's strawberry Oreo Cool Whip pudding dessert. I told her we might have to find another recipe since Aunt Melody was traveling in Japan, but imagine my delight when I found the recipe in my email inbox a few hours later. Turns out, text messages work in Japan, too. Some days I just love technology.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

It Seemed Like a Good Idea at the Time

Tonight I only have time for one story, so I'm going to tell you about Allyson's birthday. 

Her first little celebration was on Monday the 6th, the night before her birthday. She shocked me this year by deviating from the dinner request that both she and Ethan have made every year for as long as I can remember: yellow rice and chicken. This time, she wanted pierogies, those little Polish dumplings filled with mashed potatoes. Instead of cake, she wanted homemade apple pie.

Now, I've only ever made pierogies once in my life, and the memory of that day carries a complicated mix of emotions. It was several years back, on one of our semi-annual trips to visit Bill's family in Canada. While the rest of the family went on a fun outing, Bill's mom and I spent nearly the entire day making pierogies. We mixed and kneaded the dough by hand and then rolled it out thin. We cut little circles, stuffed them with seasoned potatoes, folded them, and crimped them. Sandi folded hers neatly by hand, and I used a little pierogi-making gadget which someone had given her but which she did not trust. The truth was, nothing could make that task easy for my fumbling fingers.

But what I remember most about that day was chatting and laughing with Sandi for hours, and then savoring the sweet success when we tasted those first dumplings. In-credible! Sharing in the lavish praise that evening when the entire family devoured hours' worth of labor in minutes was also pretty gratifying.

Looking back, I'm torn between nostalgia, loneliness for my other "Mom,"and a little dread at the idea of ever doing all that work again.

So when Allyson asked for pierogies, my first question was, "From scratch?"

"Well..."

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