Having been absent from my blog for almost three weeks, I was thinking (danger, danger!!) about how to begin this entry. Then from out of nowhere, this childhood tune entered into my head and I began to play around with the lyrics just a tiny bit and it came out like this :
Oh where, oh where has she been?
When the power went out and the family moved in
Oh where, oh where did she go?
If, as they say, “a picture is worth a thousand words”, then these few pics tell the whole story of the past several weeks.
A day after the last post, we had a thirty minute violent storm pass through central Ohio bringing with it 70-80 mph winds which toppled hordes of trees and brought down power lines all over the area. Within minutes, nearly every single family member with the exception of my brother Tommy & my sister Kathy had lost all power. Up until the “great” snow/ice storm and power outage of Christmas, 2004 in which power was out for days, and in some cases, weeks; we had never worried too much about losing electricity as the power was usually restored in a matter of hours. Then, in September, 2008 we had the effects of Hurricane Ike bring hurricane force winds into Columbus and all electricity was again lost for up to seven days. When we lost power at that time, Crick had gone on craigslist and purchased a generator, because I moaned and complained that I just had to have my hair dryer!!!! (Heaven knows I could have cared less about not being able to “boil” that pot of water LOL). Now here is the great question I have been pondering, was Crick pleading with God on my behalf so that I was spared the loss of electricity and the use of my precious hair dryer, or, was there some serious bargaining going on between him and God, so as to make sure that each one of our adult children, as well as Christine and Mike, lost their power, thus making my house the “go to” place for refrigeration, laundry, showers, electronic charging station, television & video viewing, eating a hot meal and hanging out (Stephanie, Joe and the 3 grandkids……..were there really only 3…..were here for five days………..was it really only five……..Joe, I am just kidding!! ????). Is Crick really getting the “last laugh”????!!!! It remains a great question :).
Eventually, Stephanie, Joe and kids moved out (LOL) as the AEP crews, having worked long hours in incredible heat, restored power and returned everyone back to the 21st century. We were then able to celebrate the birthdays of Olivia, Katie and the USA before heading to Kure Beach, North Carolina on July 7th with a contingent of 27 family members (unfortunately, Steph, Joe and the kids had to pass this trip up as Stephanie is in her next to last quarter of nursing school………..I do believe Joe was silently breathing a sigh of relief………having spent five days living under the same roof as his “nutty” mother-in-law, another seven days may have sent him over the edge!! LOL). We were fortunate to find an affordable 12 bedroom duplex which accommodated our large group very nicely. There was access to both sides off of the upper deck and so all of the younger kids found great pleasure in playing hide and seek between the two sides when they had had enough of the sun and surf. The pier was just up the road from the house where the kids could get an ice cream cone and play arcade games in the evening. Everyone was free to come and go as they pleased and sort of “do their own thing”. No matter the time of day, there always seemed to be someone who was ready to ride the waves, search for seashells, play some beach volleyball or a game of wiffle ball, sit down for a game of euchre, “pass the trash” or catch-phrase. On Tuesday, Todd, Tom, Mike, Leah and Erin got up early to embark on a four-hour fishing trip during which time they caught over 50 Spanish mackerel, some of which then became our dinner for that evening. As they were all discussing the events of the morning, I couldn’t help but remember how Crick loved to fish, although “catching” fish was something that often eluded him. I used to say that it was a holiday for all sea life whenever Crick headed out somewhere with his tackle box and fishing pole :). He did manage to bring back a little “surprise” for me when we were at North Topsail Beach a couple of years ago. He had apparently been waiting very patiently for me this particular day to come up the stairs, and then when he heard me open the door. he presented me with his “catch” of the day (someone (Jessica) just happened to have her camera ready)…………….it was only a little old sand shark, but it was still alive and wiggling, and as you can tell from the picture, I wanted nothing to do with it! You see, sand sharks are but one reason why I don’t venture very far out into the ocean water…….squishy, gritty sand under my feet, sand in my suit and in my hair, and salt water on my lips are several others. My bird phobia also served to provide a bit of family entertainment as I tried to relax in my comfy beach chair while gazing out at the beautiful blue and aqua water, for I was continually startled and tormented by low flying sea gulls. This may seem quite inconsequential to more seasoned beach goers, but I nearly fell out of my chair ducking and weaving to avoid being in their flight path. Not only did these sea gulls seem to single me out on the beach, they also targeted me while we were dining out on a pier one night in Wrightsville Beach. The particular sea-gull in the picture seemed to delight in circling our table as we were eating, occasionally landing precariously close to us on one of the umbrella tops or wooden posts, and at other times vigorously flapping his wings as he hovered over a nearby railing. He did this so many times that I would have sworn Crick had come back reincarnated as the pesky, annoying sea-gull :). I admit that I really am a big beach sissy, but perhaps a few more trips to the ocean and I may actually conquer my fears and wade all the way into the ocean up to my waist and bring along a picnic lunch for the birds! I do, after all, consider myself to be still a work in progress!! Wait…………………..did I just say p-r-o-g-r-e-s-s…….. that sets off a little bell in my brain, as in p-r-o-g-r-e-s-s-i-v-e, which leads to the dreaded “p” word! I will apologize right now for continuing on this hazardous path, but while I had “Oscar” (laptop) with me and internet access, there was always too much going on to devote any time to keeping up with the “outside” world. Now that I am home and have re-engaged with the blogoshpere……I find my “obsession” has reignited. I just want to let you all know, that as I was quite innocently walking down to the pier one evening with the grandkids, I was taking note of all of the various beach homes and as I came to this particular house what do you suppose stared right back at me????? Not just one, not just two, not just three, but 5 Barack Obama posters and signs strategically placed in the windows on all three levels of the house…………….they could hear my “ranting” all the way back to our duplex LOL!!
I do have a little confession to make…………I donated to Obama’s campaign……………G-A-S-P!! Better make that a double G-A-S-P!! I think the devil made me do it. You see, I received an e-mail from the Obama campaign stating that if I donated to the campaign, I would be entered into a raffle and if selected, I would be invited to have dinner with the President as well as select his dinner partner. I just could not pass up this opportunity and so I clicked on the donate icon and entered in my $1.00 donation………………….it was rejected!!!! Apparently, the minimum donation is $3.00, and so I mulled that over for a moment, held my breath, waited for lightening to strike, and then clicked “donate”. The “deed” was done, but then the fun part came as I was directed to a page with an insert designated for typing in the name of the person being chosen for the President’s dinner partner. Very carefully I began to type in…………………………..G-L-E-N-N B-E-C-K!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Oh yes, that $3.00 was a very small price to pay for the momentary pleasure that one act provided to me!! And now, that I have managed to sneak that name into my blog, this seems to be a great opportunity to give a “shout out” to Chris, Jessica, Sophia & Sydney who decided to take part in Beck’s National Lemonade Stand & Bake Sale Day in June which raised almost $400.00 and was split between two charities (Mercury One, provided 600 pounds of food to feed the needy and the Peletonia/One Goal, a bike tour which raises funds to fight cancer). It was so encouraging to witness so many people willing to give generously on behalf of those in need – one gentleman handed Christopher a crisp $100 bill!!
The simplest acts of kindness are by far more powerful than a thousand heads bowing in prayer. Mahatma Gandhi
Looking back, as I am want to do these days, over the past few weeks especially, thinking of all of the recent family moments………….the birthdays, graduations, showers, weddings, the lemonade stand, t-ball, baseball & softball games, the beach vacation and even the power outage……..it gives me pause to reflect yet once again, how very blessed I have been and how very grateful I am for all of the wonderful people in my life, be they family or friends. When I close my eyes at night, I can truly say that I am at peace knowing that I have my Faith, I have my Family, I have my Friends and I have Hope :).
Have courage for the great sorrows of life and patience for the small ones; and when you have laboriously accomplished your daily task, go to sleep in peace. God is awake. Victor Hugo
P.S. I owe a great, big thank you to Jay for insisting that I bring my car into his shop to have the oil changed (one of those jobs Crick always took care of and one that I definitely will not be taking on), and while checking over the tires, he found a large bulge in one of the rear tires. He set me up with a brand new tire which made the journey a safe one :)………..if you are looking for a trustworthy mechanic, I highly recommend Jay’s NASCAR Garage!!
P.P.S. Another first for me was that I drove the entire way home from North Carolina, something I would never have needed to do with Crick around……it was always much more fun for me to be the “backseat driver”………… and I could sure “drive” him crazy without ever touching the wheel!!! LOL