True to form, I woke on my first morning in Nebraska at 4:00 a.m. local time and lay in bed for two hours worrying hard about how everyone back at home would survive in my absence and then worrying about how tired I would be that day, having woken up too early, and then being too worried to fall back asleep.
How lovely it was to descend to the sitting room with coffee, crosswords, Sudoku, and conversation with my grandparents. I've begun reading the childhood classic I just picked up at the library 25-cent sale for my kids, "My Friend Flicka," which I've never before read. It has been as long as I can remember that I could wake up and remain in a state of quiet peace and read a book.
|Grandpa, dog Ollie, baby Thomas, and me|
Mid-morning, Aunt Erica and I headed over to visit Uncle Stephen (Aunt Elizabeth being missed and absent as she had previously scheduled plans out of state). We enjoyed a tour of their wonderful garden of native plants and delightfully decorated home, as well as eating pie with steaming tea. Sitting and conversing with Stephen is like a balm to the soul, Erica and I both commented to each other.
[PHOTOS TO COME]
After our visit, Erica and I departed on errands, the first to pick up the ordered birthday cake at the famous local bakery, Conroy's. There I got to hear the daughter-in-law burst with enthusiasm and pride as she described her parents-in-law who founded the bakery 60 years ago, who are "two peas in a pod but each one-in-a-million people," and who each recently received a special buonmento blessing from the pope. I considered myself blessed to have talked with this woman about her parents because I got to reflect on the profound impact a person can have just by sanctifying his or her soul and doing something as mundane as running a bakery and raising children for his or her whole life.
We came home tuckered out and I was blessed to rest with the napping baby in arms while Aunt Erica stayed on her feet preparing a feast for our football game in the evening: two kinds of sausages, tortilla chips with guacamole and a salsa verde, Fritos with corn-and-black bean salsa, 10-grain bread knots from the bakery, chopped mixed vegetables, hot mustard, two kinds of pickles, and grandmother's egg-and-chili dish (zingy delicious! kind of like a quiche).
|Grandma Camie with the youngest football fan|
I don't even care about sports or ever watch them, but even I knew this was a really exciting football game. We all expected Michigan to win because they were 8-0 while Nebraska was 3-6. However, Nebraska, playing at home to a sea of 90,000 red fans, led the score for the first half of the game, which made us all proud, even though Michigan surged ahead during the second half. We ended up turning in with about five minutes of play time remaining because, while it was a good game, there was "no way" Nebraska could win. Later we heard fireworks because apparently Nebraska scored two touchdowns in the final two minutes, beating Michigan by one point!
|Auntie Erica making goofy faces for Thomas|