|I missed my chance to take a photo of|
both dogs outside STARING at us wanting
to come in. Oh, those FACES.
This is Clementine.
Once I start telling a story, let nothing stand in my way. Words to live by, friends.
*There must've been less 'cat' in the guest room, and I slept fine and my airway remained open, which was nice.
Uncle's neighbor, Mr. Best, insisted on picking me up from the airport, even though he'd picked up Mike the night before and I offered to take a cab.
The Best couple initially lived 60 miles away from Uncle. Years ago, their 9 month old, Ann, had one seizure after another. They saw Uncle, a neurologist, and everything changed. He provided great care. Uncle continued to treat Ann until he retired.
Eight years ago they moved to Uncle's neighborhood where Mrs. Best's mother already lived -a block away from Uncle. They never really knew Aunt, who passed about 4.5 years ago, but they got to know Elizabeth over the last year or so.
They are COMPLETELY indebted to Uncle and would do anything for him. No exaggeration. They feel his loss heavily and are doing all that they can to support him.
Uncle reserved a private room and invited the Bests to join us for brunch on Saturday, but Ann had a Special Olympics basketball event. We did dinner Friday night instead.
We were a few minutes late because Uncle took a late nap. When we arrived the Bests were seated at a table in the open dining area. Mike politely told the hostess that this wouldn't work. Uncle wanted the secluded space because it was quiet, and that is where we would sit. After assuring them we'd be gone before the next group, we had a wonderful meal in our quiet space. Everyone politely refused dessert, but Uncle has a sweet tooth - clearly my blood relation.
Me to the waitress: WELL, MAYBE JUST TELL US WHAT DESSERTS YOU HAVE.
Thanks to the power of suggestion, we each ordered something. I had pumpkin crème brulee. Aka a little bit of heaven. Uncle's carrot cake looked divine.
The next night we ate dinner at the Best's house. She heated up rotisserie chicken for me while they ate lasagna. I worked all day packing the crystal, china, etc. that Uncle and Dad wanted shipped to Chicago. There was very little I could eat at Uncle's and I didn't want to take a grocery break. I was half starved. I ate so much salad that Uncle teased me.
Ann showed off the gold medal that she won earlier that day. She credited the movie Space Jam for her basketball skills. She is a delightful, witty woman in her late 40s. Mrs. shared a story of when Ann competed in a bowling event. Her bestie was in the same event. Ann got a medal and friend got a ribbon. Feathers were ruffled.
Ann: WELL, SHE SHOULDA REMEMBERED THE SPECIAL OLPYMIC OATHE INSTEAD OF BEING UPSET: if I don't succeed, let me be happy in the trying (I'm paraphrasing).
Ann: (when they talked about a trip to Disneyland) THAT WAS BECAUSE YOU SENT ME THERE FOR ONE OF MY BRAIN SURGERIES, DR. 'UNCLE'.
Mrs. Best turned to me: EVERY SPECIALIST THAT WE WENT TO KNEW UNCLE. EACH OF ANN'S 3 BRAIN SURGEONS IN VARIOUS PARTS OF THE COUNRTY NOT ONLY KNEW UNCLE, BUT WERE IN AWE OF HIM. HE WAS THE BEST DOCTOR AND HE TRULY LOVES MY CHILD.
Mrs. Best's mother, Gran-mare, stole the show. (I now wish my name was Mary so my grandkids would call me Gran-mare. Perhaps Gran-air will suffice, if you know you know). She's almost 94. Think Betty White with a southern drawl. She was as cute as a bug's ear and had us in stitches.
Gran-mare at dinner: I ONLY WANTED 2 PRAYERS ANSWERED (mind you, I have 8 children). 1. GET RID OF LATIN IN THE MASS. 2. LET BLUE BUNNY ICE CREAM BECOME AVAILABLE IN THE PANHANDLE. THOSE PRAYERS HAVE BOTH BEEN ANSWERED, SO I'M A HAPPY WOMAN.
At dessert, she informed me that she's a good Catholic for giving up her Blue Bunny ice cream during lent, and she hoped God would appreciate that, etc. She had pie with no ice cream. When a bowl of Blue Bunny was placed in front of me without warning - who was I to argue despite the fact that I gave it up for lent. I figured since I was staying in a GF food desert, God would let that one bowl slide.
After dinner, Gran-mare turned to Uncle and in her sweet southern drawl: FROM THE BOTTOM OF MY HEART, I APPRECIATE WHAT YOU DID FOR MY FAMILY. ANN IS A BLESSING AND WE HAVE YOU TO THANK. YOU ARE A GENUIS.
Forever humble, Uncle said: WELL, I'M A SLOW LEARNER.
Not true. He's a genius. He wrote a book and was struggling to respond to the questions raised by the publisher/find the document on his computer, etc. While I packed boxes, Mike spent the day reviewing emails from the publisher and helping Uncle address everything. It's a book about Uncle's interpretation of a specific poet. Mike also handled financial stuff, picked up Elizabeth's original will from the lawyer, and met with Uncle's estate planner.
Needless to say, I embraced my packing duties. I also bagged up all of Aunt's clothes that were still in her closet. Those are being donated to a battered women's shelter.
Uncle is donating their collection of Navajo rugs to an art museum in Colorado Springs. The museum will create an exhibit in Aunt's name and they've asked Uncle to contribute his commentary on the pieces. The rugs needed to be appraised for his taxes. Mike and I stayed up after Uncle was in bed, unrolling each rug, taking a photo, writing a description, and measuring it. We were told there were 17 rugs.
|Most rugs were zig zags. I celebrated a little |
when we opened this one. "It has people on it.
Native American people, that I can appreciate.
All those zig zags were making me dizzy."
When we got to #17, Mike nodded towards a bed sheets where the rugs were stored. There was another still rolled up.
Mike: OMG. (groan - that was me in the background) HEY, THEY ONLY EXPECT 17 - I SAY WE SELL THAT ONE ON THE BLACK MARKET AND SPLIT THE PROFIT.
It felt good to laugh. The photos, memories, and Uncle's grief - he sometimes softly sings Swing Low, Sweet Chariot or will just mumble POOR ELIZABETH, POOR POOR ELIZABETH, are enough to break your heart.
Do you have Blue Bunny ice cream where you live? Is it your favorite? I didn't have the nerve to tell Grand-mare that I prefer Edy's ice cream over Blue Bell. I thought it wise to stay on her good side. I look forward to seeing these delightful, grateful, loving people on my next visit to Texas. Did you know people there really do where cowboy boots ALL.THE.TIME? It's like being in another country.
That’s nice that you were able to see friends in Dallas. I love that the Navajo rugs will go to an art museum for all to enjoy. No, we don’t have Blue Bunny ice cream that I’m aware of, but I’m not huge ice cream eater. It sounds like overall the trip was a success.
Oh Ernie. It sounds like a wonderful, emotional, necessary trip. So glad you were there for your uncle.
I'm so glad you were able to be there! It sounds like a healing trip for everyone.
I have never heard of Blue Bunny, so I guess that's a no!
So I have Gran-Mare to blame for the Latin mass going away?? Ha jk she sounds adorable! I don't think we have Blue Bell up here in New England, but Tillamook's our favorite store brand currently. You are so nice to go help your uncle with all that, seriously I am inspired by your devotion.
So, my parents had Blue Bunny when they lived in Tennessee and they still miss it. We were in Florida for a short trip last weekend and there was Blue Bunny, but we didn't get any. 😒
It sounds like you had a soul-healing visit. ❤️
We do have Blue Bunny in Arizona. We have Dreyer's (which is the same as Edy's one's West one is East). Now that I think of it, we have a ton of ice cream brands available, and I don't even like ice cream that much.
Bijoux - It was a nice perk to see my friends and get caught up. His donation is incredibly generous. I think it is great that after talking to Uncle on the phone for a few minutes, the man asked him to include his commentary on the rugs to enhance the exhibit.
Not really into ice cream? What now? ;)
Suzanne - Uncle didn't want us to come initially. He's overwhelmed. Didn't see the point. In the end, he enjoyed our company I think. Plus we managed to accomplish much on his list.
Nicole - The trip was nice. It was hard to leave him there all alone. Mike and I told my dad that we think he needs someone at the house all the time. He fell once right before I got there. He races to get to the bathroom sometimes and we were worried about more falls.
I was not overly impressed by Blue Bunny. It makes me wonder what the other brands are that they have available.
Colleen - I knew someone would say they missed the latin mass. Ha. She was such a sweet little thing. And hilarious to boot. It was Blue Bunny - not bell, so you definitely don't have it. I've seen that Tilamok brand or whatever. I'm honestly not too fussy, but ice cream without gluten would be my fav.
I only wish I could've done more for him. Such a difficult life he's had. It breaks my heart. We liked when he would visit because he was so chill, my dad could not get worked up in Uncle's presence. We all relaxed when Uncle was in town.
Kari - I think it is only recently that I've seen it available in our local grocery store. A short trip to Florida sounds all wrong at this time of year - stay LONGER next time. And enjoy the ice cream.
Kara- I had no idea there was an east and a west version of Edy's. Hmm. Interesting. I'm stuck on the fact that you don't really like ice cream. How does that happen?
Are you sure she didn't mean Blue Bell? That's big in Texas. And yes, they do wear cowboy boots (and sometimes cowboy hats) ALL the time in Texas.
It was kind of you to fly in to help at such a difficult time.
Gigi - Well now I'm confused. Was it Blue Bunny or Blue Bell? I'm going to have to confirm that. I didn't know they were both ice cream brands.
The cowboy boots and hats give the place a foreign feel. I love it, but it never ceases to amaze me.
My dad was not sure we should go, but Uncle was struggling with his health issues and felt overwhelmed. Dad eventually talked him into it, which was good because I won't have another free weekend till the summer. I hope I can go back then.
We even have Blue Bunny here in Ohio. It's pretty common, so I wonder if you mean Blue Bell, which is far more regional and probably a bigger deal (and better).
I used to have an actual NA blanket a long time ago, given to the family by my grandparents, who traveled all over the place. It was smallish, and I used it in kindergarten for my nap rug. I wonder now whatever happened to it.
Nance - I might be interchanging the names. I will have to do some fact checking and get back.
I remember the nap rug days. I wonder where it went too. Some of Uncle's rugs are REALLY valuable. He knows so much about them.
We don't have Blue Bunny here in NC but we have Blue Bell which is delicious! It's our favorite ice cream from the grocery store. I would love to try Blue Bunny one day and see what all the fuss is about.
I'm glad you got to go on this trip and help your sweet uncle!
Ernie- I also didn't know this until I moved, but yeah, there are multiple companies who have different brand names in different parts of the country. Hellmann's is Best Foods. Hardee's is Carls' Jr. Orrowheat is Brownberry is Arnold (and they're all owned by Bimbo Bakeries). Dreyer's is Edy's. It's so weird!
Whew! Sounds like you were busy every minute of everyday. Glad you got some good visiting time on top of all your duties. Never heard of that ice cream; but it's not something I buy very often so it could in fact be in my grocery store without me knowing it. I'll have to keep my eyes open next time and see.
Good luck getting everything done.
Beth - I do wonder if I have mixed up Blue Bunny and Blue Bell - we have Blue Bunny here and it is pretty generic. I think it was Gigi who pointed out that I might be confusing the two. Updates to follow. ;)
I'm glad the trip happened too. I'm also pleased that I was paired with my brother, Mike. Same wave-length as me. Translation: he's a good egg, no agenda, just a worker bee who has a big heart.
Kara - Look at you with the inside scoop on what name goes with which product, why so secretive and duel identity stuff? Bimbo Bakeries, come on? If they have duel names for so many products, did they not want to come up with a better name for the company?
Sandy - I've been home this weekend and as much as I enjoyed two weekends with kids and a weekend helping my uncle, it is good to be home. Not like things slowed down to a stand still though. We had a wedding last night. Curly had 2 travel games in the am yesterday. Today we have a lunch for my mom's birthday and I had a haircut. I asked Coach to change the bedding. Time to delegate.
You and Mike are such a huge help to your Uncle; what a blessing while he's dealing with so much loss. I'm glad your visit sounds upbeat and nice, considering all that has transpired.
The rugs sound awesome, and I'd love to visit them one day.
I don't eat much ice cream, or purchase it, so I'd say any brand is good. No? It's ICECREAM!
The bulldogs look cute, but yikes, your poor allergies.
Suz - Uncle was in a funk the day after we left and he really fought my dad - not wanting us to come. He said we were helpful and when Mike put him to bed the 2nd night he said OH, WHAT A NICE TIME WE'VE HAD THESE LAST 2 NIGHTS. That did my heart good. After we left and we was so down, Mike and I agree - it must be so hard to go from having a few visitors in the house to being alone again. Although I know his neighbors are a constant presence. Bless them.
I don't disagree - ice cream is ICE CREAM. Can't go wrong.
I feel the same way - my kids and my kids' kids will be able to go visit the collection of rugs at the Colorado Springs art museum and know our connection to the generous donors.
I think the cat was to blame for the allergies, more so than the bulldogs. I kick myself for not snapping a photo of the dogs staring intently at us through that door. It was a hoot. When I used to babysit they had a really big fur ball. A mountain dog - breed is escaping me. Then an English Mastiff. Bulldogs are their latest fav.
I hope you are feeling well and recovering faster than expected - still, milk it.
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