Wednesday, December 21, 2011

A Winter's Solstice

Some of us write

Some of us dream
Some of us sing
Some of us see  through the flash
  of a camera's lens.

Some of us view
  the sun rise
Some of us marvel
 at the sun set
Some of us listen to the chirps
 and clucks in nature's songs.
Some of us listen to winds whistling
 the changing of seasons.

Some of us greet each day with a
  sun salutation.

Some of us bow our heads in
  Thanksgiving for another day.
Some of us count our blessings in the
  love of friends,
  the beauty of God, and
  the nurturing of our family.

Some answer, "I do."

Friday, December 16, 2011

Ice Cream for Birthdays

Ice Cream is perhaps the single most deliciously satisfying food  available most anywhere within walking distance in the Midwest.  When I coached high school girls golf in Oklahoma I could always find the golf course and after 18 holes of competitive golf I could sniff out  a Braums or Dairy Queen without a map or GPS.  So, yes, ice cream soothes the soul ever so sweetly.  Black Friday found the Watt family celebrating in Madison, Wisconsin in an ice cream store filled with colorful containers of pinks, oranges, turquoise,  and green ice cream, along with a few traditional flavors such as Moose Tracks and Rocky Road.  
Isaac loves his colorful ice cream.

Jack's big birthday weekend with his sons was a delicious celebration for all of us.  In our attempt to practice for retirement we slept late, at least till 7am, and took it easy gathering ourselves for the day.  A long walk through the tree laden streets of Madison with Isaac, Ann, Mike, Matt, gave us an excuse to take a second walk up Midvale to a corner shopping area where we first enjoyed pizza and followed it up with ice cream, of course.  
Matt, Jack, Mike

To top off a big birthday our evening was spent enjoying the lights of downtown Madison with the capital building lite up like a white castle.  The restaurant was called "Grazzing" or maybe that just what we did?  After our sons tugged and pulled then "picked up the tab" we walked again.  This was a lazy walk around the square peeking in windows and bundling ourselves against the cool winter breezes and thinking about retirement in another short year of our lives.  What will it feel like?

If it hadn't been for Alleen and Albert Watt delivering a tiny bundled little boy into this world on Thanksgiving Day 1946  this birthday celebration during Thanksgiving with Papa Jack, his sons and grandson, Isaac, would not have happened, and six happy people wouldn't have been eating ice cream and making more memories.  So a thank you to all of our parents for giving us this life.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

A Family Thanksgiving

Lucy wants me to write a story about her trip to Wisconsin, even though it is our story, but I'll let her know she's in the story, too.  The story is also about a big step we took in practicing retirement.  Jack actually took several days off work, just practicing, you understand, how it would feel to wake up and spend time with family and friends.  Lucy wanted to go along for the ride.

So off we three went to Madison, Wisconsin for Thanksgiving.  Going North in the winter is against my nature because it's cold.  I've often asked our two sons, "Why didn't you move south where it was warm?"  I just get that look.....  Ok, I will travel to the North to see our family, through blizzards and rainstorms, just like I did when I walked to school back in the old days.  

A ball just dropped at my feet while typing to remind me to describe Lucy's trip, too.  She had the entire back seat to herself with a furry bathroom rug covering the black leather interior of our white Lincoln MKX.  Night one we stayed in West Des Moines, Iowa,  in a motel for people, not dogs.  Poor Lucy.  She spent the night in the car, alone and cold.  (Actually, I don't think she even knew it was cold.  Her little body has plenty of hair to keep her warm, and remember she did have a furry bed and pillow.)   We were thoughtful doggie parents and made sure all of the food was removed from the interior of the car since she has a keen nose for foods, especially donuts, but that's another story.  The hotel did have a nice yard and walking path, but golly who wants to walk when it's dark and cold?  People with dogs, that's who walks when the temperature is frigid.

We awoke Thanksgiving morning to sunshine and a warmer forecast than expected.  Yeah!  We allowed plenty of time to travel through Iowa, it's a big state if you've never noticed.  I just love to cross the Mississippi at Dubuque.  The bridges and views are fantastic, even Mark Twain would agree.  Up into the highlands we meandered through Platteville, Arthur, and Livingston on our way to Montford, Wisconsin for baked turkey, dressing, desserts of delight, and family.  Ah, relief sighed Lucy, land land land.  Mark and Tracy live in the hilly dales with views of trees, farmland, water, deer and more deer, and one dead deer lying in the pickup bed in the drive way.  That grabbed Lucy's attention and mine.   Three children met us at the door, Ellie, Luke, and our grandson Isaac plus our daughter-in-law Ann.  Hugs and more hugs, how wonderful.   Once the running of the wild dog was complete and the deer was deemed dead and not a threat, we went inside, leaving poor Lucy in the cold car only after she'd had some cold dry dog food and water.  It was then that I learned that Ellie had shot the deer (a buck).  Congratulations Ellie, I was impressed! 
Isaac, Ann, and Mike

The children played while the adults talked and watched a little football on TV (big Packer fans here).  Our two sons arrived shortly after we did.  I looked at the three children running around the house and then at our two sons and felt a yearning tear.  Oh, not so long ago they were the ones playing Star Wars and hide-n-go seek.   Michael and Matthew, or as we say in the family Miatthew or Maicheal, had traveled in together from Madison because Matthew was making the loop of friends from Chicago, to Quincy, Ill, to Madison, Wisconsin.  Isaac and Luke played rambunctiously up and down the stairs.  I watched.  Being distant grandparents sometimes has a touch of loneliness to it, but I know with Isaac to watch and wait.  He warms us on his own time.  

So now our families gathered to give Thanks for another year, for love, for good health, for friendship, and for years to come.  This year the turkey seemed to be in charge of the dinner time, how can that be you ask?  In reality, perhaps, it was the broken thermometer that set back our dinner time not the cooking turkey, but no matter what it was imagine the delight as fourteen of us sat down for a feast of turkey and pheasant with dressings galore. All this time poor Lucy sat in the car looking forlorn out the back window!  With our bellies full Luke and I went out to play fetch the stick and toss the ball with Lucy.  Isaac, much like his uncle Matt, was an observer when it came to Letty and Lucy.  

Sometime after dark the cars were loaded with families leaving for homes.  Michael and Matthew followed by Ann and Isaac drove back to their home in Madison.  Jack, Lucy, and I drove to Middleton, WI (Madison actually) to a hotel that took people and dogs.  The new Residence Inn in Middleton even had a place for "doggie check-in."  Really, for an additional charge your dog, cat, bird, gerbil, hamster, pig, etc. could stay in the room, enjoy the outside doogie playground, and walk the community jogging path.  So along with many other grandparents our age we proudly took our "Pet in Room" magnetic sign along with our Lucy dog on a lease to our room.  That night we all three slept soundly.