Wednesday, August 26, 2009


Yes, we had a hot German time in Freistatt a couple weeks ago. Mom, Dad and I drove up together, and we were able to meet Dad's sister, Ina, from Springfield as well. Erntfest is always something Mom and Dad have enjoyed and they have gone several times, twice when I was a kid, that I remember. Dad enjoyed the meal and mentioned more than once how long it had been since he'd had such good sauerkraut. (I'm not sure that I've ever had good sauerkraut, but to each his own.) We opted for the water rather than the beer, (as if we don't have enough issues to deal with, without the alcohol,) and spent the evening listening to polka music and watching couples dance. Mom enjoyed herself, tapping her feet to the music and clapping now and again. As the evening wore on she wanted to walk around more and more. I have to walk her holding both hands, sometimes, because she wants to touch everybody, whether she knows them or not. We get some funny looks, but it is clear that Mom isn't thinking too clearly and everyone is very kind and understanding. One young lady even took her hand as if she was her dearest friend and said, "Well, hello. How are you?" smiling, looking into her eyes, but not expecting an answer. So convincing was she that I had to ask, "Do you know my Mom or are you just being friendly?" She smiled and said, "Just being friendly." I think that is just so kind. I thought, "She must be a nurse or something." Anyway, it meant a whole lot to me that she did that and Mom loved the happy greeting, nodding and giving her clear eye contact with a big smile. What makes people so nice?

Anyway, Mom and I walked while Dad and Ina had a chance to visit. While we were there, on two separate occasions, young men she had taught in the 5th grade, 15 years ago, recognized her and she recognized them. Each gave her a big hug and the guy in the photo, Scott Perkins, whispered to her, "You mean a whole lot to me, Mrs. McCleary." I bit my lip. He is now 28. I thought of the countless children she has meant so much to and I was proud. It made me want to take my own teaching career and my students more seriously. Sometimes it's hard to get past their orneriness and keep in mind that someday, these kids will be young men and women. I wonder if someone will want to give me a hug someday and say, "You mean a whole lot to me, Mrs. Stebbins." I hope so. I want to make Mom proud back.

The End of Oxford

Well, Dad cancelled the Oxford Care lady's weekly visits. His argument was that it was "too damned much money," (as I said previously,) and he definitely "was doing fine and could handle it himself." However, I think he did get used to the idea of having someone else watch Mom so he could work outside which was, of course, the whole point. So, he is having my cousin, Carla, come in now and then so he can cut brush or whatever. She does a good job with Mom and it doesn't matter to me who helps. I just want someone to give him a break through the week since I can't. He tried Oxford for actually a month before cancelling, which was our agreement. So I just said, "Ok, Dad, but if you go crazy, don't blame me." Heartless person, I am.

I did have fun with him yesterday, (at least it was fun for me.) I can manage his Jitterbug phone account online and was on there getting him a better deal. While I was there, I did a little "switcheroo-ing." I changed the ring he hears from me to chimes, the one from Christine to "music box," and the one from his brother Norman to harp music. I also alphabetized his phone list which was previously in no order whatsoever. Then I gave him a call---actually about five calls, before he finally picked up (I could envision him walking all over looking for the source of the chimes.) He answered with a little bit doubtful voice, "Are you trying to call me?" Then more adamantly, "I don't know what's the matter with this damn phone---it's gone crazy!" haha After I explained the whole idea of being able to manage an account online, (not sure how much of that he understood), he said, "You're messin' with me, aren't you?" I laughed and told him I amuse myself by twisting the minds of the elderly.

I will also report that Dad's walk-in cat, "Mae Belle," delivered a bundle of fuzzy joy in the floorboard of his truck yesterday (Dad called immediately to make the announcement.) I guess that means he can't drive the truck now for at least six weeks.