Monday, February 17, 2014

Making good memories

A day in the country is good for the soul. I long ago decided that but reinforced it Sunday when Jordan, Christian, Jacob and I spent the day at my brother's ranch. We got there about noon, had a lunch of barbecue, beans, potato salad (I really wanted to bring home potato salad, picked up the wrong container, and found I'd brought beans--blast and darn!). After we lingered over lunch, we set out in the all-terrain vehicle (Kubota) to visit the cattle. Along the way Jacob got to pet the donkey--a real people animal, got temporarily locked in a hog trap (he was a bit uncertain about that experience), and got to wander among the cows and calves, while firmly holding his great-uncles hand. He saw hog bones that vultures had picked clean; he proudly gathered fresh eggs; he played catch with his dad in the side yard. Christian echoed what I was thinking--it's so wonderful for that city kid to get out on a ranch among the animals. Christian had that experience with his great-grandfather and treasures the memory. For us, Sunday was a day of making good memories.
When we got back to the house, Jacob asked if we were going home right away. Told twenty minutes, he said, "Good. I really like it here." Inside there is a parrot (do NOT put your fingers in the cage), a cat who soaks up affection, and two German Shepherds (do NOT put your face down by their faces). Lots for a city kid with two small, quiet dogs to learn in the country.
Twenty minutes stretched into a couple of hours as we sat on the porch, soaking in the lovely weather, drinking wine, and talking about family reunions, memories, and all the rest. Jordan heard at least one family story she'd never heard before, and we began making a rough plan for a get-together this spring. When all families are gathered, there are thirty-three of us. More good memories.
My brother has been a major figure in my life ever since I can remember--the older brother who was always ready to come to his sister's defense. I think I remember him taking on a bully who had picked on me when I was quite young. Over the years we've been close and not so close, but we've lived much of our adult lives in close proximity, shared friends and celebrations. I think now in our "twilight years"--really?--we're closer than ever. We have a lot of interests in common (politics not included) and we enjoy each other's company. I often look to him for advice--especially medical for me and my family--and I love to share my joys with him.
John is married to a lovely lady named Cindy who subtly takes good care of him and makes him happier than I've ever seen him--all the while not giving him an inch. He has two children and five grandchildren and feels lucky. I insist people know me as John Peckham's sister; he insists people know him as Judy Alter's brother. It's a nice relationship, and I'm grateful.
And I'm grateful for the storehouse of memories, which got a bit fuller on Sunday. Lovely day. Life is good.
The hog trap may not be Jacob's best memory :-)

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