Puppies and two of my favorite people

So, this past week has been interesting. It started with me puppysitting a litter of puppies for a couple of weeks. They are possibly THE cutest little puppies EVER. They are at the 4 week mark today, and so momma is spending a little less time with them, and I am spending a little more time. I change a lot of puppy pads (they do pretty good with those), and I get my ankles licked and chewed on quite a bit, but hey, it’s worth it because right now they are so much fun! After a stressful 10 hour day at work, they will put you in a good mood quickly. (Although I would probably not do this full time. lol )
It ended with seeing a couple of folks at the grocery store. While at HyVee I spied a couple down the other end of the produce section. I said “Oh, that looks like Mr and Mrs White…” And as I watched them walk, I thought to myself, “Oh, they are hunched over a bit….maybe it’s not them.” First of all, let me explain who Mr and Mrs White are. They are the parents of my first high school boyfriend. (My only high school boyfriend….as I was NOT a hot commodity with the boys back then.) They have always been 2 of my favorite people.
Lo and behold, as I am ready to walk out the door, here comes Mr White, and he smiles and says “I know you, but can’t remember your name.” I remind him and he says “Oh, feel free to stop by the house to visit anytime you are in the neighborhood.” Then I see his lovely bride, and she smiles and gives me a hug and says to her friend “This is Eric’s very first girlfriend from back in the day. She’s always been a sweet and lovely girl.” We run into each other off and on while out and about, and they always make time for conversation with me. They were always so kind back in high school, and 40 something years later, and they still are so kind to me. That is why they are 2 of my favorite people. So, I would say it was a fairly good week.

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My visitor.

A few days ago, I kept catching a glimpse of something out the corner of my right eye, or so I thought. Then, Saturday I kept turning to my husband, who was sitting to the right of me and asking “What did you say?”…Nothing, he said nothing. Then, all day yesterday I felt a “presence” behind my right shoulder, and when I went to sleep, it was like someone was touching my right shoulder. During the night I dreamed about my brother Dave who passed away in 1987.  He was in the kitchen where we grew up.  (Mind you, that house no longer exists, as it was demolished in 2000 to build a Walgreens.)  I said “I thought you were dead!” He said “Well, I am, but I heard you needed a visit, now give me a hug.”

My dream about my dad.

My dream started at the house we all grew up in (aka 548), and all of us kids were standing in the kitchen. The house was pretty much torn up, so I am guessing it was in it’s pre-tearing down stage after Walgreens purchased it.  I had just finished reattaching the old brown and white paneling on the kitchen walls.  My brother Will said “Nice job, I like what you did.”  Then, we started talking about Dad, who had been in the hospital, something to do with his hip.  Upon discharge he would be going back to the little red house behind the old dairy queen.  (The house the folks bought when Walgreens took over 548.)  We were all worried about who would take care of him, since I don’t live basically down the avenue from that house anymore.

We decided it was time to leave 548 and come up with a plan.  After walking outside, we turned around to find the back porch was completely gone and the kitchen door was boarded up.  A car then pulls in the driveway and it is my niece, her fiance, my nephew and his wife, their mother and her hubby.  When my niece’s fiance gets out of the car, all these papers blow out into the alley at 548.  “What the heck is that?” we all asked. To which my niece replies “They are all car insurance cards….he saves every one of them!  Uggghhh.”

We all get in our respective vehicles and drive to the little red house.  While there, we are talking to someone about whether or not dad will need care after he gets home.  In the shadows of the kitchen we see someone in a hat with his back to us.  At first I think it’s my brother Will.  He turns around and it’s our Dad!  He looks great, wearing his old light colored 10 gallon hat, a white shirt, black cowboy tie, black pants and his black cowboy boots.  He walks over, standing straight, not limping anymore.  I looked at him and said “Daddy!  What are you doing here already?  We were so worried…I thought you were dying.”  He gave me a big old hug and said “I’m here to tell you I’m ok and so is your mom.  Everything is going to be fine.  You don’t have to worry so much anymore.”  In the middle of the hug, I woke up.  It felt so real, I was looking around for him. My dad passed away in 2007.

The Story of Grace and The Maybasket Fairy

It’s Mayday.   From the time I was 6 years old, Mayday has been very special and holds a tradition near and dear to my heart.  I learned about Maybaskets in the 1st grade, and was very excited to bring home my first homemade one.

“Mommy” I asked, “What do I do with this?”  So, mom came up with the idea of leaving it on our neighbor Grace’s front door.  She carefully instructed me to hang it on the doorhandle, knock really loud and run back to her around the corner of our front porch, where we hid.  She said “Run fast, because if she catches you she has to give you a hug and a kiss.”  Well, she did not catch me that year, or the year after that, or even the year after that.

This became a tradition, every year for the past 48 years Grace has gotten a Maybasket.  When I moved away, my sister left them, and when I moved back to the area, I picked up where I had left off.  When I became an adult with children of my own, I taught them the joys of leaving Grace a Maybasket (partly because I couldn’t run as fast anymore and partly because I wanted to share this tradition with them).

When I was about 40 years old, Grace finally figured out who her Maybasket fairy was.  They had torn down our neighborhood to build a Walgreens and Grace had moved into a secure apartment complex.  It was impossible to sneak in, hang it on her door and run, so I started hanging them on her car.  One day it seems, she caught me out the window.  She never really told me she caught me, but would say things like…”The Maybasket fairy came to see me again…I wish I could catch her so she could get a hug and kiss.”  Then she would say “If you see the Maybasket fairy, would you please tell her thank you?”

Her Maybasket was so important to her every year.  After she had to go into assisted living, I tracked her down through family and friends.  Grace should not have to go without her Maybasket.  She said to me once “I can’t believe the Maybasket fairy found me here!  I love my Maybasket fairy!”  I told her the Maybasket fairy would find her no matter what.

I am now 54 and Grace is about 95.  A few years back, she had a stroke and it was thought she would pass.  She got her Maybasket early that year.  She is somewhat like a baby now….unable to feed herself, unable to speak really.  She looks blankly at you when she does look at you.  Last year, she couldn’t wake up long enough to realize I was there.  This year, however, she opened her eyes, unable to speak, the corner of her mouth tried to curl up in a little grin.  She may not realize who I was, but I know she remembers her Maybasket.