Summary: Making a long story shorter proved to be a monumental task for the diaryofanut blogger. Faced with countless stories of travel, inclement weather, soccer and volleyball games, birthdays, a bridal shower and a new baby (not in that order and……two different nieces…..ha, ha, ha), TGIFridays, “Ryan” Thursdays, mishaps and comedy…….there was just so little time and so little brain power that the diaryofanut blogger succumbed to……………Cliff Notes!!! The reader will therefore, be spared, as perhaps he/she once was many years ago during literature class, the agonizing trial of perusing over layers of seemingly insignificant details in order to arrive at the key points. Pictures have been included for those who choose to really cut to the chase LOL……oh, and BTW you will find captions to the photos if you hover your cursor over the pics and clicking on the pics will enlarge them!!
September brought a celebration of birthdays galore……Josh and Mayce turned five, Ryan turned two and the diaryofanut blogger turned………well………let’s just say she ain’t what she used to be!!!! I must say that it is quite a coincidence that my last three grandchildren were all born in the month and week leading up to my birthday! How lucky am I to be able to share all of their birthday joy with them, not to mention the cake and ice cream too!!
Toward the end of September Kathy, Cecilia, Jo, Carole, Christine and I headed to what we thought would be a week of sun and sand. What we got was something entirely opposite………clouds and rain!! Apparently a similar low pressure system that hovered over Ohio most of June chose to hover over North Carolina the month of September. Prior to our arrival at the beach in North Topsail, they had already experienced over a week of drenching rain, then the low pressure system coupled with the blood moon created dangerously high tides which, as the picture above shows, eroded much of the beach which the locals told us had just been replenished last year. We counted ourselves lucky to eek out almost two full days of sun mid-week, but by Thursday, the local weather reports were predicting more exceptionally heavy downpours. And so it was that Friday morning we decided to check in with the N.C. State Highway Patrol who advised us to head home as coastal flooding might make some of the outgoing roads impassable. All in all, I must say that it was a most eventful week as we mid-westerners were able to experience both the awesome fury (remember…..”It’s not nice to fool Mother Nature!) and the wondrous beauty of God’s creation. We witnessed white-capped ocean waves that stretched all the out to the horizon and when the high tides came, they slammed against the dunes and the walkways, destroying many of the steps thereby making many unusable for the week. As we walked the beach during the brief respite from the rain, we actually saw what we declared must be the “stairway to nowhere”…….for suspended high above the dunes was a walkway where the tide had taken out the lower half of the stairs leaving only a few steps suspended in mid-air. Fortunately for us the weather miraculously cleared just in time for the rare “blood” moon appearance. The picture above can not do justice to this amazing phenomenon. The house in which we were staying had a telescope and some binoculars which brought our experience up close and in person. I kept thinking all the while that night about how excited Crick would have been to be on the deck with us peering through the telescope, feeding us bits and pieces of his extraordinary knowledge of the stars and the planets.
Four days after having returned from North Carolina, I jumped back into the car and headed once again to the Tar Heel state…..this time for a little get-away in the Blue Ridge Mountains with the Schultheis sisters. What a ruckus we caused upon our arrival (well…..okay……that would me “I” not “we”!!). The house we rented was situated at what (to us) could have been the top of the mountain, but was actually the bottom of the mountain and had a key-less entry. I made sure to have my email handy which contained the key-code so that we would be all set to gain entry into the house. Once the door was safely opened, I closed out of the email and started to bring in my luggage. Suddenly the security alarm began sounding (you know the sound of the prison alarm when an inmate escapes???? that was the sound!!!!!!) and Joy, who was standing near the alarm box, was anxiously waiting for me to provide her with the code to deactivate the alarm…..at the same time reminding me that we only had a minute or two to shut it off before the “big guys” would arrive. Of course, the code was in the email which I had just closed out of, and not being known for keeping my cool while under pressure, it took me a few minutes to search my emails for the one which contained the security deactivation code. Needless to say, it wasn’t long before the sheriff’s posse showed up, quickly apprised our predicament and instinctively seemed to know that they were just sent out to deal with a group of “dingbats”……..okay, okay…….so there was really only one “dingbat” (Crick had many such nicknames for TGW!). Obviously, they were kind enough to pose for the above photo-op with a few of us and to also provide us with some much appreciated advice on how to keep the bears away!! During our stay in Asheville we visited the Biltmore Estates…an extraordinary display of history and an educational look back at the ingenuity, the vision, the craftsmanship, the labor of one very wealthy man and his very talented architects. Vacationing in the Blue Ridge Mountains was not on my “bucket list”, but I would definitely recommend adding it to yours.
A summary of this chapter discloses the more predictable day-to-day situations in which the “diaryofanut” often finds herself immersed. For example, usually when I am a coming out of church on a weekday morning, the school kids can be seen enjoying their morning recess. One particular morning I noticed a very small young boy sitting on one of the benches with his head bowed down, and sitting near him was another little guy and a small girl. There seemed to be a conversation going on, but the one boy with the bowed head appeared to be rather upset. Within a moment or so of watching this, I observed a small group of students (see photo above) cautiously approach the bench and before long, they all appeared to be expressing some concern over the one who looked to be so inconsolable. It seemed to me as if they were attempting to give advice or to encourage him to join in their play when suddenly the bell rang, signalling the end of recess. As they broke away to line up with their respective classmates, I noticed that they all appeared to be heading toward the line of the youngest students, the kindergarten. I thought to myself…..what a touching display of Christian charity so innocently and considerately given by the youngest among us. Oh, and by the way, to all of you Moms and Dads who so confidently send your children off to school wearing their jackets and hats in this cooler weather…..I can assure you that by the time recess rolls around all of that warm gear has been rebelliously abandoned LOL!! Just sayin’!
Now that the school year is well under way, the TGIFriday grand-kids have returned. I recently purchased a new basketball backboard and hoop which Christopher mounted to the garage so that the future NBA wannabe’s (don’t you worry….this “dreamcrusher” Nana has already given the grand-kids a good dose of “crush”). And please don’t feel too sorry for them…..they have been giving it right back as they offer up some pretty harsh critique of my awesome (NOT) jump shot!! LOL The TGIFridays have also been learning the fine rules and the skills of the game of croquet, a game played many times, and many years ago, in the backyards of the homes on Oakland Park. I was only to happy to share with them the best part of the game…..”blackballing” an opponent! I took great pleasure in instructing them how to go after an opponent by intentionally hitting the opponent’s ball giving them the option of placing their ball next to their opponent’s, putting their foot on the top of their ball and whacking the ball as hard as they can with the mallet, hopefully sending the opponent’s ball soaring across the yard! (FYI this did prove to be a bit tricky as the grand-kids quickly learned that their foot can also come in contact with the mallet!!……ouch!!). Ryan has also recently joined the ranks of Nana’s protege. In helping Jennifer and Jim out with childcare this school year, I have acquired a “Thursday” child in Ryan, who has become a regular Thursday churchgoing buddy of mine, having learned to bless himself with the holy water, to genuflect and to light vigil candles!! Hey….making the NBA is definitely out of reach, better to guide at least one of them toward the Pontificate!!! Ha, ha, ha!!! He really is a very compliant child and has learned as his Papa eventually did that life is much easier when you just let Nana call the shots……..otherwise……..well, you know “Main Street” happens!!!
And then there are the “dynamic duo” of Mayce and Josh, with whom I am granted impromptu childcare privileges :). I have discovered that they are very working oriented and so I decided to tap into that mindset one day while they were hanging out with me. I was busy cleaning the house and they wanted to know what they could do to help. As I was mopping the floor, I suspected that what they really wanted was to somehow be involved with the bucket of water, and so I found two old toothbrushes and told them that they could help me clean the grout and then work on the wainscoting. They had a great time……..I got my work done……mission accomplished!!!
Olivia and Sam have retained part-time membership in the TGIFriday grand-kids’ club while they are busy pursuing their high school education at Crick’s and my alma mater, Bishop Watterson. A few weeks ago, they both went to homecoming, an event which Watterson neglected to incorporate into its football season “way” back in the 60’s (BTW….the Eagles made it into the second round of the Ohio high school football playoffs). My how time flies and how times change and how grateful I am to be witnessing this 3rd generation of the Clark/Schultheis families as Watterson Eagles!!
What doesn’t change however, is the directionally challenged DNA of a few of the Clark family female descendants. To further explain this legacy, one only has to have been a fly on the golf carts of Christine, Stephanie and “Moi” on a Wednesday morning in early October. We had just finished the third hole and as everyone was playing pretty well, we were feeling unusually confident. BIG MISTAKE!!! When we reached the fourth hole, we checked out the distance to the green (you know, just like everyday golfers do so that they can judge which club they want to use!), and I remember commenting that the distance from tee to green did not seem to match what was on the scorecard. Of course, not having questioning minds and being mathematically challenged, we blew off this discrepancy, teed off, reached the green and putted out. On to the fifth hole…………or so we thought. As we got back into our golf carts, we noticed a few cart paths going in different directions and a couple of signs indicating the ninth and twelfth holes, however we could not see the sign with the arrow pointing us to the fifth hole!! Puzzled and not knowing which cart path to follow, I spied a young man hard at work aerating one of the nearby greens and decided to ask him who stole the fifth hole!!! Upon hearing my question, he broke out into this huge grin, asked us what green we had just played and when we pointed it out to him, he broke into this exuberant laugh all the while explaining to us that the hole we had just finished playing was the eighth!!! Now I have to tell you that to this day, I do not understand how we skipped from the fourth green to the eighth tee, but I know it has something to do with some golf course architect who just wanted to play mind games with a few scatterbrained females LOL!! In the picture above, if you zoom in you might just see ahead of the golf cart a John Deer-like machine leading the way for us….over the cart paths, across a grouping of trees, through the rough, past a few sand traps, over a couple of fairways and leading us right up to the elusive fifth hole!!! I only wish I knew how he described this incident to his greenskeeper buddies!! It is a good thing that the three of us do not take our golf games too seriously!!
I am making use of this most cherished Mickey Mantle baseball card, thoughtfully purchased for me by my brother, Tommy (a die-hard Dodger fan), to illustrate a point made in a recent homily given by our parish’s deacon. As has been mentioned in previous posts, Deacon Campbell, or Bud as our family knows him, has been a friend of many years and whenever Bud speaks at church…….people listen!! In his homily, Bud was explaining the meaning behind the readings of the day, one of which was the Gospel of St. Mark 10:35-45. This scriptural passage touched on the subject of ambition. James and John, thinking that Jesus was going to set up a political kingdom to overthrow the Roman rulers, asked for assurances from Jesus that he would make them first and second-in-command of his messianic rule. Jesus then called all of the disciples together to explain once again to them that greatness comes not from what we have, nor is it in what we can get from others, but in what we can give to others. True greatness Jesus tells them consists in loving, humble and sacrificial service…..service means putting our gifts at the disposal of others. Rather than promoting our own honor and glory, we must put ourselves in the humble and demanding role of becoming a servant to others, to intentionally seek the happiness and fulfillment of those we love regardless of the cost to ourselves. With regard to the act of humbling ourselves before others, especially our leaders, Bud gave the example of the athletes of today who feel the need to excessively celebrate their own accomplishments when they do one good thing even resorting to mocking their opponents. He then recalled a story he had heard about Mickey Mantle. (I was sitting next to Joe and Luke, who immediately threw a smiling look my way!!!). It seems that after hitting a home run (of which he hit many….wink, wink!!) Mickey had a habit of keeping his head down as he ran around tagging all of the bases. A curious reporter once asked him why it was that he always kept his head down and Mickey’s response was that he felt that the pitcher felt bad enough that he had just given up a home run, and Mickey didn’t feel the need to rub it in his face. Thank you Bud, for sharing this small yet shining example of what we are all called to be……humble servants of our God. (and also for reaffirming my childhood hero!)
Well……there you have it…..the “Diaryofanut” Cliff Notes. I will accept your grateful sighs of relief that these 2,792 words really and truly spared you the full-blown version of the life of this nut. And trust me 2, 792 words are far easier on the mind than 2, 792 pages!!!
I will sign off with one final thought from C.S. Lewis:
Humility is not thinking less of yourself, it’s thinking of yourself less.