P. S. I'll see you soon--I promise.
To Grandmother’s House They Go
Twice a year our Georgia Connection comes to town. Our older daughter, her husband and their four children live near Athens, Ga. and visit us at Christmastime and in midsummer.
They left for home 3 ½ hours ago. Since cousins like to be together, our four Middle-Tennessee grandchildren spent most of the 10 days at our house as well, forming an ever-moving, ever-eating mélange of adolescents and pre-adolescents — four boys and four girls who range in age from 5 to 17.
The Georgia clan and the two of us filled our four bedrooms and when cousins slept-over, sleeping bags covered every floor.
Do you remember how much food adolescents consume? Elephants put away 200 of food a day, an amount easily matched by our four grandsons and approached by our two older granddaughters. Where the calories go is a mystery. Not one grandchild has an ounce of excess fat. One hundred forty cans of soft drinks, 10 gallons of lemonade, three gallons of milk, 1½ gallons of ice cream and 72 popsicles disappeared in 10 days. A turkey breast, a pot roast, half a ham, a three-pound meatloaf, eight pounds of barbecue, eight pounds of shrimp, seven large pizzas and 15 pounds of catfish are missing.
We cooked three pounds of white beans from the grocery and four quarts of green beans, four quarts of peas and 40 ears of corn from the garden. Homegrown tomatoes, cucumbers, squash and blackberries rounded out their diet.
Lucky Charms and Pop Tarts suddenly appeared on the breakfast menu. Breakfasts ran from 8 to 11 a.m., lunches from 11 to 3 and dinners from 5 to 8 p.m. Of course, there were snacks in between.
Ten to 15 people ate most meals with us but last night we fed 22 as nieces, nephews, great nieces, great nephews, boyfriends and girlfriends swelled the guest list.
Carolyn never left the kitchen for 10 days. I spent most of my time in the grocery store. I haven’t seen the statistics yet but I expect to see an upward blip in the national retail sales figures for July.
Six bicycles of various sizes, two tricycles, a motorized toy jeep, a croquet court and a shuffleboard court provided outside diversions but the most popular activity was hide-and-seek played at night with “it” armed with a flashlight. They call it “German Spotlight” for reasons that escape me. Other entertainment included golf for the boys, horseback riding for the girls, movies and Nashville Shores for them all.
Our house has a computer, four television sets, three bathrooms and a washer and a dryer. All were in continuous use throughout the entire 10-day visit. The upstairs den seemed always to hold grandchildren, one on the computer, some watching TV, some playing board games and all were eating. Now that we are alone, we are considering just raking out the den and hosing it down.
After teary-eyed farewells were over, I watched the final round of the British Open golf tournament and reclaimed my computer. These simple pleasures were somehow less satisfying than I had anticipated and the house seemed far too quiet.
Thankfully, we will see them again in six short months and Carolyn is reasonably sure that she can restore our house to its pre-visit state by then.
Retired pediatrician Bill F. now spends his days working with wood (“mostly making sawdust”), fishing (“but not very well”), puttering around his garden and writing.