It all started with the arrival of the six grandchildren whose parents were going on a date to redeem their Christmas gift certificates in nearby Keene. The children didn't arrive early enough for me to plant seeds with Shiloh, sew with Beatrice or for the boys to play with Poppy's train. But we made pancake batter and set the tables for the Shrove Tuesday Pancake Supper at St. Luke's. Grandson William would be Johndawg's assistant, and they would become best friends, flipping over 200 pancakes for fifty some hungry guests who also consumed 120 sausages, 3 quarts of maple syrup, and 20 pounds of fruit salad. It ended with the kids playing hide and go seek and a sugar snow.
Wednesday began with the visits of Eva and Zoe, my two favorite stitching buddies. Eva made her Alice a nightie and Zoe cut outMimi's pieces and then embroidered her face. Both girls did a stellar job and had a ball; and according to the report from one mom, "It was awesome." Shortly thereafter old friends, the Farrells showed up. Maryann's brother was our Jesuit friend back in the NY years, and they were the reason we chose Westfield, NJ to buy our first home in 1971. Maryann chose a doll for a new grandchild, who will bear the face of Angelina, my newest design in the works. We were enjoying our visit that was interrupted by the visitor of visitors!
I opened the front door to the gallery and there stood a ten year old girl holding a wad of money in her hand. "I've come to get Ella," she said. It turns out that Anabel saved all her gift money and earned some too to buy the girl of her dreams. The family drives by on their way to skiing at Okemo, and Mom and Anabel went on line and chose Ella from 150 different choices. She knew exactly what she wanted. It could not have been a lovelier connection.
That night, after the Ash Wednesday service, we revisited the Farrell Family where they were having their reunion. What joy telling and hearing stories about all our children and grandchildren. Especially wonderful was meeting Jessica and remeeting her husband Bill whom we remember so fondly as a boy. The little people put on a dancing show for us. It was nearly midnight when we got home. We awoke on Thursday morning to a call from Nancy, our sister-in-law. My ailing brother, victim of mesothelioma, was failing faster than we all hoped. We sped off to PA to say goodbye to John. We spent the last 36 hours with him before he died early Saturday morning, peacefully, thank God. He was a hero.
Returning to VT, coping with Nancy's loss and ours, we were brightened by a very sweet piece of mail from Anabel wanting to share news about Ella. "She and I do everything together (except school and lessons of course.) She helped me pick out new skis and sits with me while eating meals. I love Ella so much and can't wait to tell my best friends." She asked if I'd write back if I had a chance.
Do excuse me, I must write Anabel and Ella.