Archive for November, 2011

Giving Thanks
November 23, 2011

Think where man’s glory most begins and ends

And say my glory was I had such friends. ~W.B. Yeats (1939) 

At Thanksgiving, I am grateful for many things, but friendship is especially on my mind today. Last week, the “street ladies” (my neighbors) and my “church lady” friends both hosted happy hours on the same evening. I attended both, arriving early at the first and late at the second. How blessed I am to have such fun friends, whom I know would do (and have done) special things for me in time of need. 

Gosh, where to begin? Thinking about the various and random groups of friends that I have accumulated over the years, I made a list that includes (in no particular order): the heathens, IHGLAM, Sunday School class(es), choir parents through the years, the above mentioned church ladies and street ladies, church staff, school friends, extended family (am SO lucky to love my family!), Facebook friends (which include many of the above), office friends, ABA friends, parents of Shannon’s friends over the years and now, some adult friends of Shannon and Kat. 

I’m sure there are other groups of friends that I overlooked, but for sure, I mustn’t forget the special individuals who have come into my life that may not quite fit into a particular group. 

For instance, I have a friend named Dorothy. She is a woman who attends the same service at church that I do, and sits in the same vicinity as I do. Funny how that works! 

Pewpeople are prone to sit in the same place every Sunday, and if someone sits in their spot, well then, it just feels odd to have to sit elsewhere. I don’t get cranky, but I know that others do. (all pewpeople, for goodness sake, just go sit somewhere else and maybe you’ll meet some new friends!)

It began with a simple greeting, and then when I was away or sat elsewhere, Dorothy would tell me she missed seeing me. As we became better acquainted, it just felt right to sit together each Sunday and share the days of our lives. Dorothy is the epitome of Southern charm, and I enjoy visiting with her each week. 

Usually, if we have plans to be away on a particular Sunday, we will make sure the other knows. So it was a bit unsettling that Dorothy was absent last Sunday, and  none of the other nearby pewpeople knew where she was. So I worried a bit. 

The only amusing aspect of this scenario was that when I went into the Sanctuary, I wasn’t quite sure which was “our” pew because Dorothy always gets there first. It was the Sunday before Thanksgiving, and there were a number of folks whom I didn’t recognize (always a good thing to welcome new faces!). I think that one particular couple sat in “Dorothy’s pew”. I’m not sure how she would have responded if she had been there! 

I’m also not sure if Dorothy has any other connections to our church other than attending the early service there. The reason I bring this up is that our church’s new theme is that “no one will walk alone”, to try to plug people into various opportunities to grow in their faith. 

No matter what Dorothy’s other church connections are, she is now firmly connected to me and some of the other people who sit nearby, because we all worried about her last Sunday. I called her afterwards, and she was ok, but had had some allergies that prevented her coming to church. 

Not long ago, a mutual acquaintance told me just how much Dorothy enjoyed our friendship. Lynnda said, ” She looks so forward to her time with you and  just will not miss church, as she wants to spend the time with you.” 

I’ve got to say that the feeling is mutual. She is my friend, and it makes me smile knowing that she feels the same way. 

So here’s to Dorothy and ALL my friends, who mean so much to me. I am grateful for all of you, and I wish you all a blessed Thanksgiving!

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Carry Me Back
November 17, 2011

Virginia is For Lovers~ tourism and travel slogan of the Commonwealth of Virginia 

As many of you know, our son in law, Kat is now a 1L student at Washington & Lee University in Lexington, VA. This is a wonderful thing, because we love W&L, where Joel went to undergraduate school, and we LOVE Lexington. 

It’s been four years since our last visit together. I was there briefly in August, after helping the kids drive their two cars up, but I certainly didn’t have the time to explore and enjoy the town; we were much too busy unpacking! 

So it was with great anticipation that we traveled up to visit them recently. Joel is the best at finding interesting and unusual places to stay, and he outdid himself when he booked the Bayberry Cottage at Autumn Ridge. It was a little jewel box of a space, tucked into the woods, with every amenity thoughtfully provided. It wasn’t exactly a B&B, rather it was just a B… in other words, no breakfast was provided, but with a full kitchen, we were happy to make our own.

 There is no place more beautiful than Virginia in the fall, specifically, in Lexington. Yes, I know that many pewperson readers may disagree (in their humble opinions), but bear in mind that on the one “eye”, we are looking through the lens of shared memories, and on the other “eye”, the lens of being with our precious children (fun to use that plural noun!). 

For example, the Hudson Valley and the front range of the Colorado Rockies are also beautiful places in the fall, but now that Shannon and Kat don’t live there anymore, they have lost some of their luster in my eyes. 

(note: I’ve got to hand it to them; they have lived in some great places to visit over the past 7 years!)

 

 The weather was glorious in Lexington, cold and sunny by day, with brilliant stars in the night sky. We enjoyed watching the deer, wild turkeys and other birds around our cottage, and loved exploring our old haunts downtown. Joel commented on how strange it was to be in a place so little changed from the way it was 35+ years ago. Well, except for the fact that now women attend W&L as undergraduates and there are such things as lingerie shops in Lexington… unheard of back in the mid 1970’s! 

Of course, the best part of our visit was hanging out with Shannon and Kat, enjoying meals together and just catching up. We do miss them, but know they are in a good place and enjoying married life in their farmhouse cottage. Walking with their dog, Lucas on a brisk Saturday morning was especially fun as we explored a nearby public garden with a rambling trail and quirky art objects.

 

 Lucas LOVES the cold weather; after all, he is a Great Pyrenees, so what else would you expect? I noted that he doesn’t drool or shed nearly as much in Lexington than he did in hot old Houston. And he certainly was more frisky… what a lovable fellow he is!

 

 We’ll be traveling back to VA next spring for Joel’s 35th college reunion. It will be extra special with the kids there, and I can hardly wait! There is no place more beautiful in the spring than Lexington…

Tucker Tidbits
November 10, 2011

There is only one smartest dog in the world, and every boy has it. ~ Anonymous

What a special little dog Tucker is! We have been having so much fun with him. Here are some recent anecdotes and observations about him: 

Barking: Tucker is actually a pretty quiet dog. Even on Halloween, he never barked once at the doorbell or at the kids yelling “trick or treat!”. Yard man? He wants to help him dig or blow leaves or sprinkle water from the hose. Trash man? No reaction. Thunder? He perked his ears up, but that’s about it. What a blessing. He is just so laid back. 

However, there are times when he does “vocalize”. He uses his “big boy voice” now, and his is an interesting, unusual bark. While not as mellow as Shadow’s “barkitone”, Tucker’s voice is in a lower range than Bailey’s, and a tad gravelly. Only when he senses danger does it go into the upper range. 

But the funniest sound Tucker makes is when he tries to engage the cats in play. He lays down on the floor by them and emits a high pitched yipping sound that he never does at any other time. It finally occurred to me that he is trying to meow like they do. 

There is no other explanation for it. So I let him meow all he wants to.

 

Kismet: When Joel and I traveled up to VA to visit Shannon and Kat last weekend, we took Tucker back to Kismet Kennels (from whence he came). Guy answered the door, and Tucker marched right in as if he had never left. Thelma asked him if he wanted a cookie, and well, he did his happy dance and never looked back. I left him sitting happily in Guy’s lap. We knew he was going to have a good time. 

Upon our return, I went to pick him up. After visiting with Guy and Thelma a bit, I gathered up our stuff. As we were preparing to leave, Tucker went and sat down by Guy and looked up at him as if to say, “can’t I just stay here with you?” Finally, after the two of us were outside, Tucker promptly made a beeline back to the front door. He wanted to go back in! 

This is all good. It means he had a good time while we were away, and will enjoy return trips there. I don’t have any travels planned through the end of the year, but am thinking I might take him for a visit in December once the party season kicks into high gear.

Bag Woman. There is a strange woman who often walks along Bunker Hill Road; I think she may be going to the Catholic Retreat down towards Memorial Dr. but I’m not certain. She always carries a substantial number of shopping bags and stops to look in people’s trash for “stuff”. Recycler? Hoarder? Who knows? 

She loves dogs, and would always want to pet our Bailey. For some reason, this bothered me. I can’t quite put my finger on it, but she is just one of those people who make me uncomfortable. Maybe I thought she would snatch Bailey away and put him one of her bags? 

It helped that Bailey felt the same way; she was scary to him. I think it was something about all those bags. He would take one look at her and struggle to get away from her. I began to avoid her, but if we were unsuccessful, I’d try to breeze by her quickly, explaining that Bailey didn’t like strangers. She would always look a little disappointed, and mumble something (probably about how rude I was!). 

And you know what? I always felt bad about that. Not to be trite, but WWJD? Or for that matter, Mother Theresa? 

Well, I’m no Mother Theresa, and Tucker is no Bailey. For you see, on our walk this morning, here she came. I saw her from afar, and thought I might duck down a side street to hide from her. But I didn’t. What do you think happened next? 

You guessed it. Tucker did his happy dance for her, and she just beamed. Something hard in me melted, and I found I didn’t mind if she petted him and asked all about him. The ice was broken, and now it won’t be an issue if I see her again. If she’s ok with Tucker, she’s ok with me. 

Interesting how the happy heart of a little dog is so infectious.