Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Taking the Boys Visiting

Our boys, newly back from summer visitation with their father, got to spend time with both their grandparents & mine over the weekend. Friday, we set out for my grands' home as soon as J got home from work. We stopped for dinner at Bob Evans, then hit the road again. By the time we reached our destination, my grands had gone to bed & so did we.

In the morning, we had breakfast & watched the birds just outside their windows. My grandmom is teaching Pie all the different kinds of birds. We see blue jays, finches, cardinals, woodpeckers and all sorts of others, close-up. Pie's favorites are the hummingbirds. After we'd had a bit of a visit, we headed down to Cincinnati to visit J's folks. Her dad came to the nursing home with "swag bags" stuffed with fruit & candy for the boys. They love that! We ordered LaRosa's pizza & ate it in the room while we watched the original "Dr. Doolittle" and chatted.

On the way home, we stopped, as promised, at the flea market for Boot to drool over Nikes...and get a pair. For some reason, he really wanted them from the flea market. He & J are fascinated by the place. It's an interesting little parking lot fixture, a blend of old white men with card tables full of produce & young African men speaking a French-based patois & selling things like sneakers & clothing. Boot got a pair of Air Jordans that he spends a great deal of time gazing lovingly at and even petting. We also went to a regular store to buy school clothes for both boys. Pie was less than enchanted with this stop. He has no interest whatsoever in clothes, while his brother adores them. He will happily wear his brother's cast-offs, or anything we pick for him, provided it has no prominent logo.

We spent the evening visiting with my grands & had a great summer dinner. My grandmom had been to her favorite produce stand for tomatoes & sweet corn. We had Russian sandwiches (open-faced sandwiches with tomatoes, bacon and sharp cheddar, broiled until the cheese melts) & corn on the cob, my grandparents' long-time summer staples.

We skipped Sunday school in favor of bird-watching, then went to church. I was really unhappy because our pastor was on vacation. Then, we heard the sermon & I was blown away. It was all about how very important love is, how love is the core & center of everything Jesus was trying to teach & do. She talked about how congregations & presbyteries get to arguing about all kinds of things, from stewardship campaigns to what marriage means. She talked about different kinds of love, the romantic kind you share with a life partner (her term...hurrah!), the kind between close friends and the kind within communities like the church. The scripture was the famous, famous Corinthians passage about love that's used at nearly every church wedding. It was nice to hear a fresh take on it & it was really nice to hear love being preached. We stayed for coffee hour, of course, and visited with everyone. Pie was disappointed because his friends weren't there. His disappointment was compounded by the fact that they were supposed to be acolytes & Pie & Boot had to fill in for them!

After church, we stopped by our house. It really is a lovely house. I am so surprised that no one has snatched it up, especially since it's under $200,000. Oh, well, the right buyers will come along & fall in love with it. I want the new owners to have as happy times there as we did. It was a wonderful place for us while we lived there. I miss the deck & the big rooms. I don't miss not having my own tub & only having 2 burners & a small oven.

After checking in there, we started for the Golden Jersey Inn, where we were meeting my grands for lunch. However, we had a little excitement first. I was driving along & suddenly, what I thought was a HUGE grey spider appeared by my rearview mirror, in the open window. I screamed bloody murder & flailed about, scaring J half to death & probably amusing the kids greatly. I am always the calm one. Pie is forever disappointed that I don't startle easily. Well, I was beyond startled. I realized, though, that it was only a moth & calmed down...until I realized it was actually a toad! I managed to get the car pulled over & Pie hopped out to rescue the toad (well, me).

Once we got to the restaurant, we had a wait. Anything affiliated with Young's is guaranteed to be a wait on a summer Sunday, for reasons which escape me. During the wait, I ran into a classmate of mine, a very kindly man who was part of the whole homosexual ordination debate in my Old Testament class last fall. He had stated on the class forum that he was opposed to "them" being ordained, although he "has no problem with them". Afterward, he assumed, like many, that I was terribly wounded & wanted me to go to lunch with him. Pissed off is a better descriptor of how I felt about that whole thing, but I wasn't pissed at him. He just doesn't get it. He means no harm & I think he will learn. It was nice to see him, at any rate, and he got to meet my wife & kids. Lunch was good, even if Boot got revved up & the rest of us could hardly get a word in edgewise.

We packed up our things back at the ranch & headed out, the goodbyes easier knowing that we'll see them this Saturday at my cousin's housewarming & baby welcome party. On the way home, we stopped twice, once to complete football shopping with cleats, cup and mouthpiece, and once for dinner, again at Bob Evans.

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