This week was Friends and Neighbor’s Day and the quasquicentennial (125th anniversary) of my hometown, Woodward. The celebration included a dance on Friday, parade on Saturday and an all-school reunion on Saturday night. Also, family friend Emily and her fiancé, Jonathan, were coming to visit. They’re getting married in just a few weeks, and she was in the area to have her practice-hairdo done and meet with the minister. Jonathan was afraid they were intruding on short notice, especially since we had family staying here already, but we let him know that Emily essentially is family.
Friday, I ended up helping dad chore before the dance, which I hadn’t planned when I scheduled my prep-time. I got frustrated when my hair wouldn’t dry. Then, I had to stitch a slip and bra to my coolest (temperature-wise) dress. If I didn’t, they would show. Without them, the dress would be too see-through. Then, when I was done and it was time to go, I realized my dress had a hole in the top layer of silk right over my right breast. By then I was rather cranky. Mom trimmed the snagged threads and we called it done. Then when I got upstairs, Dad commented that I was too dressed up. That got me really cranky. What’s more fun right before going out amongst many people than feeling self-conscious?
Once I got inside, though, I was fine. I’m kind of a social butterfly, so mingling makes me happy. I saw my former principal, Mr. Blaker, which was fun. I had several drinks and chatted with my former babysitter, several family members, and everyone who graduated in my decade. No one was there from my class, so I mostly talked to my brother’s classmates. I did manage to find one person younger than me, Matt D. He’s a neurologist. I told him I’d call him for my next brain tumor. I’m sure he gets that all the time.
My only real faux pas for the night was when, thoroughly buzzed, I mistook my Home Ec teacher for my English teacher. After ten years that might not be so bad, except that she and my mom are friends, and she was at my house just last summer. D’oh! The dangers of alcohol, children. Beware!
Saturday morning, J.B. and Erika showed up at our house with my adorable nieces in tow. We played for a while, petting Scooter and playing the piano. We looked for Hooligan to pet him, but he did a masterful job of hiding from us. Then we all went up town for the parade, where we joined up with Aunt Sandy. We also ran into one of my high school classmates, Jill, her husband and baby Oscar. He was adorable.
The parade was everything a small town parade should be: fire trucks, combines, horses, a band and lots and lots of candy. The girls were too little to really forge for candy, so they waved, and I scooped it up. I gave them most of it, saving hard candy (which they can’t have) and the occasional Tootsie Roll or Fruity Roll.
One float even tossed out cateye sunglasses. Despite J.B.’s best efforts, Brookie was gobbling candy like there’s no tomorrow. He grabbed her little belly: “I feel one…two…three…four…five…six Tootsie Rolls in there.” “Wait,” I added, pointing out another part of her tummy, “seven!” Brooke giggled and asked for more candy. I advised her that if she had much more, she’d get a tummy ache. She replied, “I had seven. I think if I ate sixteen, my tummy would hurt.” Erika and I laughed at that.
Then we went for lunch and the bouncy castle. Mom and Dad went home to wait for Em and Jonathan while the bouncy castle inflated. I bought the girls tickets and waited for a round when there were no dangerous big kids inside. Brooke informed me that the wait was taking too long and she loved bouncing on the bed, but once I got her inside she froze, as did her sister. Brooke stood and Courtney crouched looking at us imploringly. We informed them that it was okay, and they could get out.
Once they were safely on the ground, Brooke said, “Maybe the bouncy castle will be more fun when I’m five. Maybe then I won’t feel so shy.” “I bet you’re right,” I replied. The girls were tired and a bit cranky. J.B. may have been sleepiest of all. At the car,
After they left, I met up with Emily and Jonathan. They had some snacks on main street and then we went back to the farm. Jonathan really liked playing fetch with Mac. Then they both got the tour of the new house. Emily had never seen it before. Jonathan went with Dad to chore while Mom and I made supper and we indulged in girl talk. Before we knew it, the guys were back and we had supper while talking about Emily’s dad, who passed away several years ago. Craig was Dad’s best friend, and Emily informed Jonathan that Dad might be his best chance at understanding Craig since Dad “probably knew him as well or better than anyone.” I was having so much fun with our visitors that I opted out of the all-school reunion. After dinner, Emily, Jonathan and I hopped into the hot tub, just as the fireworks display started in Woodward. You can’t beat hot tubbing with fireworks.
The next morning, Mom made us an elaborate breakfast, but had to leave for a brunch with her classmates. Uncle David, also staying with us, was having brunch with his class. That gave Em and I some time for a one-on-one talk, which we hadn’t had in years. Things have been rough since her dad died, but now she’s in love and has a great new job. Mom and Dad are keen to help with the wedding, but I think our support is the best thing we can give her. The more love and support we give her, the happier she’ll be. Of course, we’ll help with wedding duties, too. Whatever it takes, we’re all in.