Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Our Family and the Cubs

We have five generations of Cubs fans in our family. It started with my grandfather. We don’t know at what point he became a devoted Cubs fan, but we’re safe in guessing it was early. He was 28 when the Cubs last won the World Series in 1908, and he was 65 in 1945 when they last played in the World Series.

Devotion to the Cubs started early in his family, too. A letter in the family-history files was written by my grandfather’s son, our uncle, during his overseas service in WWII. Even from the battlefront he was asking about the Cubs!

Grandpa lived another eleven years after that ’45 World Series, and that is where my memories come in. During the mid-50s, shortly before he died, I have a clear picture of him leaning over his little radio at the kitchen table listening and being vocally animated. I even remember his being enthusiastic over the fairly new player who was doing good things for the Cubs—Ernie Banks!

My dad, Grandpa’s son-in-law, was also a devoted fan. Though he was dignified and generally on the quiet side, we who knew him remember how he too could get vocally excited about the Cubs. Some of his grandsons and great-grandsons still do.

A few of us in the family like to see the Cubs win, but we don’t always keep track of what is happening with them as much as some of the others. There’s even been some disillusionment with things like the huge sports salaries of today—which of course would totally blow my grandfather away! But there’s definitely enough enthusiasm among us to claim the five generations.

My closing story happened late this summer. My son’s two boys, now in college, are members of that fifth generation. This summer for their dad’s birthday, they pooled their funds and took the three of them all the way from Tennessee to Chicago to see a Cubs game in person. One of them had already stated on his high school graduation card that his goal was to live long enough to see the Cubs win the World Series!

Despite what may or may not happen in the next week, I’m counting on his living a lot longer than that!

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Saying Hello to Fall

I’ve long heard people report enthusiastically that fall is their favorite season. There are many reasons, like a break from the summer heat, kids going back to school (some mothers are sad about that), and of course the vivid fall colors.

I’ve tried through the years to agree with them, but it just doesn’t happen. That could be because I’ve lived a third of my life, including my childhood, in the tropics, but that’s not all it is. With air conditioned homes and churches, I don’t mind the summer temperatures that much, and I’ve always been more on the cold side personally. (I use the little bathroom heater for my showers even during the summer because of the AC vent in there.)

A big reason I can’t get excited about fall is that I love color and I love flowers so much, and I am so sad to see them wilted and dead after the first frost. Our community landscaper has done a terrific job this summer with three rows of tall blossoms in three solid colors at the entrance to our subdivision. These days I’ve been sadly anticipating when they would be hit and laid low by frost.

It turns out, apparently, that professional landscapers don’t wait for frost to bring on that sad sight. We haven’t had frost yet, so I was surprised this week to find the colored flowers gone and three rows of two-inch, drab little pansies in their place. What a letdown! In a couple of days, however, I started thinking of the pansies as brave little soldiers who are going to have to sit there and endure the winter, whether mild or severe. Yes, they too are God’s creation, and I need to respect and appreciate them, though not in quite the same way as the brightly colored ones of summer.
What helps the most is to remember that all this has been clearly planned by God.
           “While the earth remains, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat,
            summer and winter, day and night, shall not cease” (Genesis 8:22)."
Yes, it’s all part of a divine plan, and we (including me) are the beneficiaries.

But I imagine you won’t be surprised to hear that spring is still my favorite season.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Starting Anew

I’ve been looking back over the last four years since I wrote in this blog, thinking about things worth remembering. The most important is that my husband and I have celebrated five more anniversaries since then (58 now), and we are both so thankful we still have each other. We’re in the same home we moved into new when we made the move from Dallas in 2003, making this the second longest time we’ve been in one place in those 58 years..

Not surprisingly, some things have changed. We no longer have the two sweet pets pictured on this blog. Of course tears have been shed, and of course we have a couple more—a dog with short hair who doesn’t need to be washed and cut and a fat kitty who loves to tip things over (even water glasses), pull things down (dishtowels from their rack), and hates closed doors.

The biggest highlight of the last four years took place in late summer of 2013. Ever since we were young, Fred and I had agreed that “someday” we wanted to make a trip out west. In early August it occurred to us that “someday” had probably come, and we quickly made plans. We got a great tour of Rushmore with friends who retired there. We loved Glacier Park even without snow. During the first half of the trip I enjoyed saying I’d lived on four continents but never been to Yellowstone; can’t say that any more, and we topped it off at the beautiful Tetons.

Even though it’s been only four years, we’re at a different stage now. Not long after the trip, the arthritis in Fred’s back deteriorated to the point we could no longer have made that trip. He can no longer walk the neighborhood and he’s been told he shouldn’t drive in the dark, but he still keeps up with our finances and most of his “chores.” I still walk several times a week but not as far as I used to, and I’ve had three small surgeries in the last six months.

I have several projects to keep me busy, including writing my parents’ missionary story from the field letters my grandmother saved. I’ve recently committed to teaching a Bible class in a new retirement home in our area. And I have the possibility of a project I’ve toyed with most of my adult life actually coming to fruition. I’ll keep you posted.