Friday, October 28, 2011

We Lost Grandma On The Train?

My very elderly, but spunky mother used to travel to our home in Michigan from her home in Washington, DC on the train.  Although she has flown on airplanes many times, in her later years she has taken the stand that if God wanted her to fly, He would have given her wings.

She had come for a visit and as we put her on the train we just had a sense of uneasiness for her safe travel.  One of our older sons was in Washington for some event, and was staying at her home in her absence.  His assignment was to meet Grandmother's train and take her home. 

The trip is long because of the many stops these trains make, so what would be eight hours by automobile, is actually 13 hours or more by train.  This is not an ordeal for mom because she packs meals, books, Cd's and more.  Plus she enjoys meeting and conversing with fellow passengers.  It has always been a pleasurable adventure for her.

Well, we put her on the train, we made sure she had her valuables in a secure place, said a prayer, kissed her goodbye and went home to wait for her phone call when she arrived home.

This particular train leaves the Toledo, OH station at around midnight with an expected arrival time into Washington, DC at 2:00 PM.  So, when by 4:00 PM I had not heard from her, I called my son who told me he had gone to the station, but she was not on the train.   He was frantically looking for her.  I said, I know she was on that train, because we put her on it.  His alarm caused me to be concerned.  I told him to continue to look and call me back.

Well, he found the conductor for the train she had supposedly been on and the two of them looked for her.  They started at one end of the train and went into every car, but she was not to be found.  What they did not know is that one of the baggage porters had offered my mom a ride from the train on the baggage cart and she was on her way to the station, riding comfortably on her little shuttle. Apparently, she and my son had crossed paths and missed one another.  So while he was frantically looking for her, she is wondering where he was!

Getting tired of waiting, she checked her luggage into a locker and caught a cab and went home.  At about 5:00 PM I called her house and she answered, hello...  Wow, you're home!  Yes, she said, I waited for my grandson, but he did not show.  lol funny!  I called my son, who was absolutely distraught by this time and told him where grandmother was!  Blank, blank, blankity blank!  Now I have to go get her, and bring her back here and then take her home again! I know that explosion was in reality a great big sigh of relief.   I wish I had had a video camera!

Monday, July 25, 2011

Mom Got Mugged By A Groundhog

Thinking back to that same lovely Cape Cod in Maryland, I remember an incident with a groundhog.  We lived on the shore of the Chesapeake Bay at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland.  Our house was located within a circle of homes, across from a golf course and adjacent to the Officers' Club, which backed up to the Bay.  There were woods in the rear of our house and the deer and groundhogs felt free to graze and help themselves to our garden and hedges.

The house had steps outside the back, leading to the basement.  There was a walled brick stairwell all the way to the bottom, which led to an entry door.  One day, returning home from grocery shopping, as I entered the back kitchen door with my packages, I heard a noise.  Looking ahead of me toward the basement steps I saw a groundhog in the bottom of the stairwell.  OMG!  I tossed the bags on the counter and grabbed the telephone.  Mind you, this was pre-cordless phone era!  This phone was the predecessor to the cordless, but it had a 50 foot spiral cord attached to it, which allowed one the mobility to roam throughout most of the downstairs. 

I dialed a number for Maintenance Services, explaining my plight, all the while hanging out the door with the phone in one hand, and a broom in the other, trying to keep the creature at bay until help arrived.  After extended explanations to the dispatcher, I was referred to Military Police.  What?!  The groundhog was getting restless at the bottom of the stairwell and made a lame attempt to escape.  I shooed him back down with my broom, as I dialed this new number.  Again explaining the situation, only to be referred to Post Animal Control.

Ok, I have Post Animal Control on the line, and you would think that being on an American military installation that the dispatcher would speak English!  "Ma'am, you say you have a groundhog in your stairwell?"  Yes, can you send some one to get it?  "Is this the first time?"  "Is this the front or the back?"  "Can you see him from where you are?" OMG! "Can you hear me?  I have groundhog in my stairwell!!"

All the while, I am fencing with this critter, who seems now, more than ever, more determined to mount those stairs and get away.  My exchange with the dispatcher, frustrating, and obviously fruitless, phone still in hand, I turned toward the stairwell, just as the groundhog gathered his resolve.  He looked at me, I looked at him. His little body seemed to shutter as he mustered all of his effort to escape.  He made a decision and by golly, he was coming up and I had better get out of his way.  I tried the broom thing, but this time he was not to be denied his freedom.  This little fur ball came barreling up the stairs with a glint of 'True Grit' resolve in his eyes and I knew I could not stop him.  He rushed up the stairs, right past me and disappeared into the woods.

Isn't funny... when you are totally focused and concentrating on something, other things never occur to you?  My next door neighbor called me later that day.  She said that she and her girls were in the TV room watching cartoons, but when they saw me with the phone, the broom and the groundhog, they thought it was a better show.  I had not thought about anyone watching, so it was amusing to realize how ridiculous I looked.  We still laugh about it.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Dad Went For A Bowl Of Ice Cream?

We once lived in a lovely little Cape Cod in Aberdeen, Maryland.  One of the rooms off of  the living room was converted into a TV room.  This little room had two doors, but was actually too small, especially, to have the doors closed.  In an effort to make it more comfortable and accommodate our family, we took one of the doors off the hinges, leaving the door opening.  To keep down traffic, we strategically placed a sofa in front of the door opening.

One night my husband and son were sitting on the couch watching television, when my husband decided to  get a bowl of ice cream.  He left by the exit door, got his ice cream, but on the way back to the TV room, he had a brilliant idea!  He thought that if he made a running leap through the door opening where the couch was located, he would land on the couch beside our son and startle him.  He delighted in anticipation of our son's reaction, expecting they would both have a laugh afterward. 

The plan well laid, he quietly made his approach, taking a running leap, bowl of ice cream in hand.  Soaring into the air, he could see the back of the couch in front of him; expecting to make this magnificent leap and land perfectly!  But, in his stride, the thumb of the hand not holding the bowl of ice cream caught in his pants pocket just as he made his triumphant leap. That little snag threw off his stride, which made him jump higher than he anticipated, causing him to hit his head on the door jam!  Dazed, he successfully landed on the couch with a clatter of china and spoon, torn pocket, bruised head, but the bowl of ice cream still in tack.  Startling our son and almost knocking himself unconscious in the process.

Yep, He did accomplish his planned leap, although not in Carl Lewis' style, and we have been laughing for years as we remember the time dad went for a bowl of ice cream.