Thursday, November 24, 2016

Thanksgiving in the twilight zone

Dear Peter,

Knowing how you love spending Thanksgiving with the crew, and seeing that you couldn't be here this year, I thought you'd particularly appreciate the blog post.Being with family is such a comforting thought at the holidays so I'll do my best to make you feel like you're right here with us!

I'd like to tell you our trip started uneventfully- alas, that isn't true. We were scheduled to leave early Tuesday morning and Dad was really looking forward to a short break from work this year. Sunday, we got a call from Andy saying his roof blew off his house in the storm. Wondering if he was exaggerating, Dad headed over to find Andy and Rachel's kitchen roof in their yard. We went Amish style and called in  all of our manpower  ( there are a lot of advantages to having 7 sons) to get it mostly put back together by Tuesday evening. (You can imagine Grams reaction that Andrew might not be able to make it.)

As Dad  was pulling out of the driveway, Matt mentioned that Rachel couldn't get the furnace started.

We left anyway.

5 hours and 16-calls-about-furnace-repairs-and-you-tube-videos-from-Andy  later we arrived in Gramaland ( cue the Twilightzone music) slightly behind schedule, but still here. Grama and Grampa greeted us at the door just before midnight. Gramps entire head is bandaged up. I gasped. "Phil what happened?" thinking he must have fallen just before we arrived.  "Oh, that's nothing. Its just some cancer." Fred came up behind me. "Oh my gosh dad, what happened?" This time Gram chimed in "Oh, didn't we tell you? Phil had a melanoma removed last week."

No, no, you didn't tell us.
No mention whatsoever.
We had no idea Headwound Harry would be hosting us for Thanksgiving.

After putting all the kids to bed, we collapsed.

This morning Dad awoke to 23 offers of coffee and the various ways he could enjoy it ( black, cream, sugar, just cream,real, decaf, half caf, Jamaican, dark roast, milk, non-dairy creamer, splenda).
When I walked downstairs Gram pointed at the coffee pot and said "Help yourself ". You know the drill- Boys Rule, Girls Drool in Gramaland.

Meanwhile, next door, Uncle Dave  woke during the night to find his entire electrical service is out. I mean O-U-T. Dave spent the day getting parts to fix the lines and making phone calls to  restore power. Hopefully, the power will be back on by tonight. Michael arrived from school this morning and so he Stephen and the pack of boys are currently roaming the neighborhood, in cars now though.The little girls have been riding bikes and eating cream puffs all day.

Andrew finally fixed his  furnace and he and Rachel are on their way. Gram is relieved Thanksgiving can proceed now that Andy will actually be in attendance.

I was glad we got to facetime with you for a bit. Gram was lamenting you  not being here so we prayed the family rosary.

The power is still not on next door, so we all had mince and rice for dinner (Diane arrived from work and was offered eggs). Dave decided to fire up his generator since the power company is delayed. Unfortunately, the generator wouldn't start. Dads heading over now to take a look-see.

No political fireworks yet as we all voted on the same team here. Friday could be interesting with the arrival of the left wing of the Legare clan. (I personally  have never witnessed these political fights I've heard tale of in the past. Maybe this year will be different). Dad suggested that just in case tensions run high, we should consider filling a pinata in the form of DJT -with  cream-puffs. He's unsure if Gram will let us.

The carburetor on Daves generator is busted. Grampas generator has been transferred next door. Diane is making pies over there and walkIng them over  here to bake for her trip to Theresa's tomorrow. Dads threatening to eat them. Andy and Rachel arrived close to midnight and were promptly given napoleons.

 The power is still not on next door. They may be wearing coats to bed.

To be continued in the a.m...

This morning Dad went to Dunkin' Donuts to avoid the hysteria of coffee choices. The power company finally restored the electricity next door around 10am. The turkey is being stuffed and I'm being peppered with questions about cooking temperasure for the size the bird-I have zero answers. I'm watching March of the Wooden Soldiers instead.

By mid-afternoon we did our traditional Thanksgiving walk thru the graveyard. I'm not sure how this became a tradition, to walk through the graveyard, but we did. Naturally I asked if we should pray for the dead to gain an indulgence for them, but John-Paul pointed out it was a Christian cemetery not Catholic, so these souls wouldn't go to purgatory. after some hesitation we said the prayers anyway-just in case.

Dinner is just about underway now, and the house smells incredible. Gram is in the kitchen saying she destroyed the turkey (she didn't) because she cooked it upside down. Grampa is insisting it's because she's rushed it. No one else cares. 

Your little brothers are out in the cow pasture as I write, trying to muster the courage to approach the bulls. They won't go out there at night as Gramps scared them to death about coyotes. 

The others will be back later tonight after dinner, Nikki will be back with them. We miss you and wish you were here! Thank you for your sacrifices for our great nation. we truly are blessed and most thankful.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

These are my friends

If you're friends with me on Facebook, you're probably sick of my Bunnygate posts this week. I can't really blame you for that, but my friends John and Angela, who've been heroic in their vigilance to these matters,  posted about our community tonight and reminded me again why we are all actually fired up. They shared some memories from their past with us, and offered context as to why some of us are fighting so hard. It occurred to me that it would be good  for me to do the same. I haven't written a blog post in eons, but this seems like a worthy post.

The people in my community are a strange mix of home-schoolers, professors, and Washington DC guys who can't- tell-me-what-they-do-for-a-living-or-they'd-have-to-kill-me. We are in the same clubs, troops, and home-school classes. We belong to local parishes that share our youth group. Monthly, we get together at our place for a pot-luck dinner and rosary night where we all wrestle with squirming kids. We eat together, talk about our life, break up our fighting kids, and try to teach them to pray. We all want the kids to see that they grow up in a community where our faith matters and should be the litmus test for our actions. We fail at that example an awful lot, but we keep trying.

 Some of us did better than usual this week, no doubt by Gods grace. When given the opportunity to do what was right and what was easy, they chose to do what was right. Even when that meant their whole world would come crashing down around them. So, the flurry of posts from the rest of us, are really an effort to stand alongside the people we have come to know and trust, to support the friends we pray with and play with. At times we may seem to flail a bit in our efforts, but I can assure you that our intentions are all good.

I don't generally do much picture taking at our gatherings cause I'm usually too busy talking to do so.  This year though, my friend Chris asked me to take pictures of all of us at Christmas time for one single purpose. He said, "Ellie, you should take pictures tonight because it would be good to look back at them some day and remember how happy we all were,  for some day when we might need them." So despite my usual aversion to pictures, I actually walked around that night and took shots of my friends. These pictures aren't of some newsworthy professors. No major social justice advocates came into focus in my lens. No one in the room appeared gutsy enough to sacrifice themselves for the good of others that night as we joked and chatted and made merry like we always do.

Tonight, I offer you some glimpses of the people who have been making national and international news all week. Fred found some more from Easter, and a few days in between. Maybe these glimpses can help you put a human face on some of the really wonderful people that I call my friends. Maybe you will understand why some of us are fighting so hard to keep them standing.

Sunday, August 9, 2015

First comes love

So Andy and Rachel are engaged! So let me answer a few questions that I have been answering all weekend long already.

Yes, we TOTALLY love her!
Yes, we already knew ( and it was really difficult to keep to ourselves!).
No, we aren't sure when yet- I'm sure Andrew and Rachel will figure that out all in good time.

But let's get to the really good part -cause this is going down as one of my favorite stories of all time!

Andrew came to us about 6 months ago and told us he was ready to take this next step and wanted our advice. Naturally we told him he had to go speak to Rob, Rachel's father. Andrew turned the appropriate shade of grey. We both said if he wasn't man enough to speak to Rob, he wasn't man enough to get married. The Rob gauntlet would have to be run. 

A month went by. He was ready to go speak to her father, but he also wanted to keep it a secret, how to do both-hmmph? Sneak that I am, I told him to text Rob. But, he didn't have his number. Ok so, go steal it from Rachel's phone next time she goes to the restroom- problem solved. If you know Andy, you know that wayyyy too much thought went into each of these steps.

Another month went by, he told us he had the number and was ready to text Rob and ask for a meeting. He put the number in his cell as R. Willman (tuck this little important piece of information into your head for later down the page). Poor Peter had to listen to him day after day at work as he ironed out the details of what he wanted to text. 

One bright morning he awakened with a sufficient amount of courage and a solid plan, and decided to  text Rob that he'd like to meet and could they please keep it private. 'Sure Andrew, when and where?' they go back and forth working out the details of Robs work schedule versus Andrew's work schedule versus Rachel's schedule to keep all things private. Andy had arrived at work by this point and Peter was rooting him on from the sidelines. All was going well until....

Rachel began texting him simultaneously. "Hey Andy, I miss you! When am I going to see you again?"

Single minded Andrew starts to get flustered. He doesn't want to give anything away to Rachel and is simultaneously in the middle of texting her dad. He answers her curtly and goes back to getting the details from Rob. 

R. Willman; "Ok then Andy, I'll meet you at Panera's at 5pm this monday."

Rachel texts again- you are coming over tonight right?

Andrew  to R. Willman: "OK. sounds good! I love and miss you and I can't wait to see you and hug you again!"


He got a one word response from her father: "AWKWARD"

And like all loving brothers world-wide Peter got absolutely hysterical laughing. He then came home and told Fred and I and John-Paul and Matt, and we all laughed and cried and rolled around on the floor until  our stomachs hurt. (I also saved the screen shot of the text to make myself laugh at some later date, and as evidence.)

He went on to survive the meeting. And to be honest if he survived that text, he could survive the rest of the gauntlet. He also  managed to keep the secret from Rachel, and pull off a very romantic proposal from all accounts. 

What more can I say to you two tonight Andrew and Rachel? I suppose only this: may you be as incredibly happy and blessed in your marriage as we have been in ours. Keep God at the center of your life and you're sure to do well. We love you so much and look forward to seeing each day unfold!