Day 51:Rain, rain, and more rain….

Deer abound in the Grayling area.

We began today with overcast skies and it slowly started to drizzle and then light rain. It stopped and then started again. The pattern repeated itself many times until midday when the big rains came. By the end of the day, we had over an inch of rain on the ground and excited Ivy who did not get our much today. If she was anything like us, she relished in the light day. It was nice and I did get a few things done.

Our friends, the Harrison’s, returned to Wheaton this morning leaving us to entertain ourselves. We all got up to wish them goodbye and then the rainy morning took over. It left us all sort of lethargic and sleepy. William went back to sleep and took a long nap. Beth crawled back in bed and read a book. Olivia and I had fun in the front room: she watched the CBS Sunday Morning and the Tour de France with me trying to change the channel when I was not paying attention in bed and I wrote and paid minimal attention to the television. Both are classic Sunday morning television shows for July at the cottage. Unfortunately, the CBS Sunday Morning episode was a repeat and I remember watching part of it last fall. The Tour was not a repeat and Lance Armstrong is not leading this year.

I admire Lance Armstrong and his tenacity for winning. To remind myself of his achievement, I wear one of his yellow bracelets, reminding myself to Livestrong. Throughout his cycling career, his achievements have been questioned. Our popular culture loves to question and challenge greatness and then work at tearing it down.  I am troubled our society is going to fall into the patterns that Lois Lowry described in her book, The Giver. It is the story of a totalitarian society where everyone’s behavior is controlled and monitored and essentially, they live the same life. It is called sameness in the book and it applies to our society. We question if an athlete can achieve what Lance has in his career without resorting to performance enhancing drugs, yet we are perfectly willing to allow drugs to alter our psyche and be sold to us through television ads so we can ask our doctor for the drug, which will make us better.  Moreover, we are also willing to eat food, which has been altered and changed to make it bigger, to produce more, or even taste better. It concerns me tour society is as uninformed as it is, and is perfectly willing to remain so.  That is as close to political as I want to get. I am rooting for Lance, mainly because he is old, for a cyclist, and doubted as to why he should be there. He is doing well, better than over one hundred other cyclists. It is the same reason I root for Brett Farve or why I rooted for Tom Watson a year ago as he played the last round of the British Open.

Last year, I was in Mississippi at my father’s bedside as he spent his final days. He had fallen and had a brain hemorrhage: and he was dying. Julie and we three boys had made the decision to move dad to hospice care after consulting with his doctors and much prayer. Hospice care is medical care where the patient condition is maintained, but it is not treated. In other words, a patient receives pain medication but will not receive medication to cure or treat the illness. In reality, dad was unconscious and unresponsive, he was not ill. Many years before, I remember dad telling me he did not want to lay unconscious on life support and to live off a machine. Each of us remember dad telling us that, at one point in our lives. I had arrived last year on Tuesday, 7/15 and Warren had arrived later that day. Visiting hours at the hospital were 6 AM to 9 PM, but the hospital staff was flexible. Warren and I would wake at dad and Julie’s house and ride over to the hospital, stopping at High Point Coffee, the coffee shop in the courthouse square in Oxford. We would get our favorite brew, for me it was a “black eye,” coffee with two shots of espresso and for Warren would have a double Americano or something like it. We would talk and then ride the mile or so to the hospital and visit with dad. He would be on one side of the bed and me on the other. We would talk to dad, letting him know we were there. We would drink our coffee, think, and be quiet. A few times, we told ‘dad stories.’ Dad did not take part, but I know he heard us as we talked about our childhood and filled him on what we were doing. Sometimes when we left, we would turn music on or the television to a sports channel and have it on in the background.  Dad was a golfer and enjoyed playing golf and I remember watching golf on television as a child. We had to be quiet, which is difficult for child; especially a boy and dad had three of them. The British Open occurs in mid July each year and it was on a year ago. On Sunday morning, I arrived at the hospital with two cups of coffee one for me, and the other for dad. I placed his coffee on his bedside table telling him it was there and he needed to let me know if he wanted it. I tuned the television to the British Open where Tom Watson was leading. Tom Watson, at the time was 59 years old, ancient for a professional golfer. Yet, despite his age, he was leading the tournament and stood to win his sixth British Open Championship. Unfortunately, he faltered and ended up finishing second after a playoff. However, what an achievement. I rooted for Tom Watson a year ago and I am certain dad rooted, too.

As I watched the French countryside and rooted for Lance Armstrong, I flipped channels and discovered the British Open and flashbacked to a year ago. I am sure I will always remember dad when I think of watching golf on television or the British Open. I finished my post and got down to the business of the cottage. William and I made beds, folded towels, and in general cleaned up. I ran laundry and vacuumed the lower floor. With Ivy and all of the fun activity the past couple of days, it needed a vacuuming. To finish the day we went to Dawson-Stevens restaurant for ice cream. It is a great spot to enjoy and evening, or anytime for that matter, ice cream sundae. They serve breakfast, lunch, and make an excellent Turkey Rueben sandwich. I have it every time I eat there, but not tonight, ice cream only. It is in the old Dawson’s Pharmacy, which was converted to a 50s themed, diner about the time the cottage was remodeled in 1994. It is unique and it has a Coca-Cola bottle cap museum inside. Please take a moment to visit and watch the linked news spot. It is a good view.

Two turkey hens walk across a front lawn looking for food.

As always, the ice cream hit the spot. On our way home, we drove the long way looking for wildlife. The long cut, opposite of shortcut, is affectionately known as “turkey run” and over the years, we have spotted hundreds of wild turkeys and many deer. Sunday was no exception and we saw two turkey hens and one doe on our drive. We doubled back to take pictures. It was a good day and a better night.

It is the fifty-first day of my summer vacation with thirty-one remaining. A lot can happen in thirty-one days and much can be done. It is gonna be a great day, with the forecast of tomorrow a million and six times better.

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