Wednesday, June 21, 2017

A Quiet Day in Cooperstown

   It was a quiet day...or half a Cooperstown for me today.  I counted the money and only had to count the pennies twice to get the same total as closing last night.  Then I put out a nice display on the side of the shop facing the parking lot and a few more things on the little shelves under the window by the front door.  I checked the flower boxes and was surprised to find them on the dry side so I watered them and the hanging baskets.  Then I went inside and started to unpack my bag.  I had brought the pin-stripe V-neck sweater that I finally finished and put that on a hanger and on display.  Then I sewed the buttons onto the Fair Isle sweater I made using Mary Maxim Baby Blankie in Blueberry.  Once that was done and on display I decided it was time for a

photo.  That Fair Isle was a 'cut and paste' and had a lot of ends to work in but it made up rather cute, if I say so myself.  After that was over all I had left to do was the embroidery on a baseball hat and that didn't take long.  I had the yarn to do another baseball hat but it was after noon and since I was only work half a day I decided to eat my salad and read a book rather than do anything else constructive.  I had a few customers including a couple of gentlemen with a very young one who wanted to know where the backs/safeties were for the earrings he wanted to buy for his sisters.  I showed him how that style...French wires...doesn't need backs or safeties and we decided his sisters might be too little for them.  His father decided baseball bead bracelets probably would be better for them than sterling silver bb earrings.  I surprised myself by getting the earring into my earhole!  I haven't worn earrings in about 8 or 9 months!  They felt rather comfortable, too.  (Hey, Anita, I think I like your earrings!)  I had a nice chat with my work partner before I left, too.  On the way home I passed an Amish man and boy in a buggy on Rte. 28 along Canadarago Lake towing a boat and trailer behind their buggy! Neat!! The only upsetting sight today was the Cooperstown cop walking around Doubleday Field parking lot writing out parking tickets and leaving them on windshields.  Tourist don't believe that lot is metered and they pay the price...make that PRICE.  I work again next Friday...alone, all I should do a few different things to take down...especially because it is the weekend for the 4th of July and traditionally a big sales time for us.

Monday, June 19, 2017


The Female Choice
   We took a ride up to Hinckley this afternoon to see some beagle puppies that the daughter of a friend of Jeff's had.  There were 3 females and 1 male and she was giving Jeff his choice.  I wasn't at all thrilled about having another puppy but I went along for the ride.  Fanny didn't know what she was in for but she got in the car, too.    I knew once I saw and held the puppies I'd be sold on them but I still wasn't happy about the idea. I was hoping Fanny would react badly and Jeff would give up the idea of getting
a puppy.  But as you can see Fanny wasn't upset by the little folks in the
least.  She wasn't sure
what they were but she smelled them in the
appropriate places and couldn't find anything to make a fuss about so we took that as her OK. Jeff favored one of the females (above) because she was wide awake and crawled all over him.  I liked

this male (r) because he was so laid back.  He even curled up in my hand and went to sleep! On the way home I even picked out names for them:  Fred and Wilma (both go with Fanny).  Well, I've said my piece and now it's up to Jeff.  And while we have a couple of weeks before we can bring our new baby...whichever one it is...home (they are only 4 weeks old) he has to make up his mind by Thursday morning because other people on the list are waiting to pick their puppy.  Decisions.  Decisions.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Sweaters and Puppies

    I finally got back to working on a sweater.  There was a size 2 V-neck raglan cardigan that was sitting on my circular US7's waiting for it's sleeves to be knit that I had been ignoring.  It was suppose to be a Pin-stripe sweater so that meant it was plain white with a navy blue ribbing around the neck.  Boring to work on but it goes fast.  When I work on it.  Finally, yesterday I forced myself to sit and knit and finished the thing.  Got the sleeves done and sewed up and even finished the body.  I was quite proud of myself.  There wasn't much to watch on TV so I just kept at it.  All the educational programs on the Smithsonian channel were half-hour shows on ancient cultures like the Hittite.  And repeats at that!  Finally found some M*A*S*H reruns and even got some of the pin-striping done!  I think today I'll start a sweater with the new yarn I ordered from Mary Maxim...more of their self-patterning Baby Blankie acrylic, this time  a skein each of Bluebells and Sweet Pea, each in a nifty plastic zippered project bag.  I really like the way that yarn works up.  The skeins weigh 10 1/2 oz and I end up doing 2 or 3 baby sweaters and several hats from one skein.  Took this group to the shop on Thursday.  I've got enough of that patterned section on the top left to another hat! The wild ombre
hats are  Red Heart
acrylics and I'm hoping
they sell, too. Kind of cute, no? Yes!  Now, I've got to do some baseball hats.  One sold while I was putting these hats on display and I didn't bring any with me.
   I had talked to Judy before I started out for the shop and she had mentioned she had errands around town including a stop at the Otesaga.  On the way down I thought if I got there before she left the shop I'd suggest we could have lunch at the Hawkeye Grill at the hotel.  They remodeled it this year and besides, I haven't been there in years.   Well,
'the best laid plans' as the saying goes, she had already been there by the time I got to town
but she quickly agreed to my idea anyway.  The weather wasn't the greatest but we weren't the only ones sitting on the patio having lunch.   The building is beautiful and lunch
was very good.  Wish the weather would have cooperated, but we can't always have everything our way, now can we?  It even rained but those umbrellas did their job and we stayed dry. In fact, some kids were playing bocce on the lawn in front of us and didn't seem to be bothered by the rain at all.  I wanted to take some great shots of the lake and send them to my friend, Tim, who's in the hospital in Florida, but the weather wasn't helping.  Don't know if I want to spend $15 on lunch again soon just for photos of Otsego Lake.
   Here's the Pin-stripe V-neck half-striped. Now pin-striping is hard on my hands!  The ring fingers on both hands get 'trigger cramps' from holding the sweater and the sewing needle.  I should get the
rest of the body finished later but now I think I better
switch to knitting and give my finger muscles a break.  Ever have a 'trigger cramp'?  Not something I'd wish on my worst enemy!
   The 2nd sweater OTN's is a size 1 Fair Isle knit with Mary Maxim's Baby Blankie, a self-patterning acrylic DK weight yarn on US7's.  There are 4 more
patterns in the repeat but I'm doing a 'cut and paste' repeat to get the design I want. There are a lot of ends to work in this way but the design ends up unique!  It's ready for the sleeves and I should get them finished today.  Tomorrow Jeff wants to go see a litter of beagle puppies that he has first choice on.  I'm not too thrilled about the idea of another dog but we'll see. Puppies are always cute and beagle puppies especially! 
  I put a pork roast in the crock pot last night for pulled pork and it came out better than the last time!  That will be supper tonight and I think it will be on a 'whenever you're hungry' basis.  Fanny's already had 2 of the bones and declared them delicious!

Thursday, June 15, 2017

This, That and The Other Thing

   This has been a busy couple of weeks.  We finally got the Outback home from the mechanic, Hillslide Auto Repair  & Towing in Little Falls, after nearly a month's stay there.  The car needed a new EGR valve (whatever that is) and that had to be special ordered because the Outback is a 1999 Subaru.  When Dave finally got it installed his computer and the Outback wouldn't communicate.  He thought we just needed to drive it around for 50 miles or so but that didn't work.  He decided to change the wiring harness (again, what's that?) and guess what, that was it!  The computers spoke to each other and the Outback passed inspection. And it did not cost what Jeff was afraid it would!!  Last week Jeff changed the air filter and that improved the way the car ran
much so he decided why not go all the way and change the oil filter and oil so he did that yesterday.  We spent about half an hour arguing where the dipstick for the transmission fluid was located.  I got out  the manual and with a dim memory of where I had seen it before I kept saying 'up there by the window'.  Jeff kept saying no it can't be.  Finally I put the manual away and went back to the lawn mower and he finally found it...up under the front the general area where I had thought it was.  He even filled the windshield wiper fluid!  The Outback is ready for summer!!  We got the air filter for the Forester but Jeff's got to go with me...or just go get the oil filter and oil for it.  I'm lucky I remember it needs oil! 
   Part of the lawn has been cut 3 times now...and part hasn't been cut at all.  I've managed to do the front straight across by the road and the hill on the other side of the garden 3 times.  The part between the house and garage and on this side of the garden is really in need of it's 3rd trim but it's either rained or been too hot to cut. The entire back yard hasn't been touched!  Jeff hasn't done anything about the garden either.  He wants to plant in the greenhouse but besides from 'window shopping' at the nursery he hasn't done anything.  I don't think he really feels like it this year.  The raised bed boxes are all falling apart and have to be replaced and he's not looking forward to doing that, either.  It's tough getting old when there is so much outside work to do.
   The shop got off to a great start and hasn't stopped.  That means I don't have  a lot of time to do much of anything except knit.  I went down today to restock baby hats and went to the Otesage for lunch with a friend from the shop.  Haven't been there in years!. I love that place.  We had lunch on the patio of the Hawkeye Grill and even though it rained we stayed outside under an umbrella.  Didn't get wet at all!! Wish it had been nicer weather but can't have everything, huh?
   I've been lucky enough to get back together with some friends from my college days at Herkimer College.  Maggie and I met for coffee in Cooperstown last week and talked for over 2 hours!  We had a ball!  We were laughing and giggling like a couple of teenagers...usually when we talked about another friend, Tim, who lives in Florida.  I'm friends with him on Facebook and we've been chatting regularly. It's nice having these old friends back in my life again and I really want to stay in touch with both of them.  Tim wants photos from us and has sent current photos to me.  Maggie doesn't use social media so I get to see everything first and then share it with her. Today I got a photo...sent from
Tim's iPhone...of him after a needle biopsy and I told him he didn't look too bad...just a little green around the gills. We always teased each a lot and have fallen into the same pattern.  Maggie and I will get together soon and take some photos so I can send them to him.
   Jeff's brother lost his companion of 27 years last week and Jeff has been very supportive of  him. He went to Tim's house in Floyd the night after she died and we both went to the calling hours and funeral in Ilion and then the reception in Sauquoit.  Sunday Tim called Jeff and invited us to his home for dinner.  Some of his children and step-children were there and they were going to do some bbq-ing.  I had made a pot of pulled pork and Jeff said we'd bring that.  Fanny wasn't too happy to be there with us because there were 4 small dogs in the house (2 pugs and 2 Jack Russell's).  Most of them all got along well...Fanny wasn't really sure what they were...she was 3x as big as them...but after awhile they left each other alone.  The little kids wanted to pet Fanny but we didn't let them because she was so afraid...curled up under Jeff's chair!  She didn't growl or bark at anyone...or anything...but we didn't want anything to happen either.  Fanny didn't relax until we were all back home and she was in her...or my bed!
   One of my old friends asked why didn't I try to write like I did when we were kids 50toomany years ago living on Dewey Ave and putting together our own newspaper.  I wrote short stories about the kids in the neighborhood then and   I  wrote again in college.  Well, I was bored with knitting one night and had finished my last library book so I sat here and tried to write a love story.  Got 2 chapters done and left it on the blog.  It's definitely adult fiction and it got a little PG-13 on the way to an R rating but I kept it from getting to X.  There are 2 more chapters finished that I'll put in July's blog if I get some encouragement. I'm not interested in the way I use to write.  I think that's normal, you're suppose to evolve.  If you like it , let me know. 
   I've decided there is something about middle-aged women and big SUV's.  I can get into my Forester all right on the driver's side but have some trouble climbing in on the passenger side.  Today I climbed into my friend's big Jeep twice and twisted my left knee each time until when I finally got back into my Forester my knee really hurt.  I've been sitting here with a heated beanbag on it all night.  Why is there always something new to hurt?

Saturday, June 10, 2017


   Lucy hurried along Harter St in the hot summer heat.  It had taken more time at the insurance company's office than she had planned to cancel her house insurance and now she might be late for her next appointment.  Seems like she had spent her entire life hurrying around this town.  And now she was still doing it even though she was retired!   This use to be such a gentle shabby neighborhood, she thought as she drove down the street, now it's just shabby.  And now that giant playground and pool complex had replaced the old municipal pool where she had played and swam as a child, and the ball field had been moved to the other side of town!  Changes!  Changes!  But where were the kids?  There were few kids playing in front of the houses she drove past. And Main St was no better.  Empty storefronts and vacant lots had replaced the busy stores she remembered.  I'm glad I'm moving, she said to herself. With Dan and the dogs dead for almost 18 months now, Lucy knew she had to move and was lucky to have been able to sell her house and most of it's furnishings so quickly.  The new house was about ready for her and she did not want to try to move the old pieces of furniture into it.    There would be enough ghosts, she thought, but 72 isn't too old for a change, was it?

                                                                  CHAPTER  1

   Lucy turned off the highway onto the dirt road and drove up the hill towards the little house.  It was the first one finished of the 6 planned for development and it perched on the hillside bright and welcoming.  Painted gray with white and dark green trim, the tiny house faced the highway and lake with it's backside to the dirt road.  Lucy followed the road as it became graveled and turned between the house and the garage. Later in the season as the 2 houses on the top of the hill were finished the road would all be graveled but right now, only her driveway was completed.  She pulled up to the garage and then backed up towards the house and smiled broadly looking out the driver's window toward the lake.  She slowly opened the door and got out of her car.  Walking toward the front of her house Lucy admired the enclosed porch and open deck beside it.  She grasped the railing on the steps to the deck and tried to shake it but it wouldn't move.  'Guess I made myself clear to the contractor' she thought to herself as she went up the 3 stairs and walked across the deck stopping to adjust the position of the chairs to try and improve the almost perfect view from each one.  Lucy stopped at the door to the porch and turned looked towards the lake thinking 'I've got to plant some kind of shrubs there to soften the noise'.  The enclosed porch had a table and 2 chairs on a seikel rug at the front window facing the lake but nothing else.  She walked to the door to the house and put a key in the deadbolt.  It opened easily.  She then put the 2nd key in the doorknob lock and the front door swung open. Lucy had been at the house several times as the furniture was being moved in but this time was different.  She was home.
   Lucy walked into her living room and looked around.  The kitchen was nestled in the far corner to her left and looked like it belonged in a showroom. The wood cabinets and granite counter tops with a red backsplash made her smile.   The dining area in front of it was framed by one window that showed the lake view and the other that opened onto the porch.  The rest of the room was her living room.  There was a wood stove to her right on the outside wall and around the walls were bookshelves and her TV/entertainment center and computer. Two comfortable chairs and a small sofa faced them and still gave each sitter a view of the lake thru the front windows.  A wide doorway in the back wall led to 2 bedrooms with a bathroom between them and a laundry area in front of it.  A hallway/mudroom led to the 2nd exit while making one bedroom a little smaller than the other.  Lucy went quickly around the small house opening windows in each room.  The breeze from the lake ruffled the curtains and the wind chimes in the bedroom windows began to sing.  Lucy smiled again.  The chimes in the north facing window in her bedroom were ones Dan had given her for her birthday their first year together.  To her their notes now were signs of Dan's approval of her new home.
   Lucy went back thru the house and out to the car.  She got her suitcases and brought them into the bedroom. 'I'll unpack later', she thought,'that will give me something to do tonight.'  A second trip to the car brought in her project bag and the big bag of new yarn.  She put them next to the chair she had chosen as 'hers'.  Then she went back to the car for the 2 bags of groceries.  As she put the groceries away, she left out a bag of salad greens and a rotisserie chicken for supper.  She made a pot of coffee before turning on the TV hoping to find a rerun to give some comforting noise to the house. Then she booted up the computer and poured herself a cup of coffee.  It surprised her to see that it was after 6pm and the local news was on.  The local weatherperson was just giving the forecast for the next day:   'hazy, hot and humid with a chance of afternoon thunder storms' she heard him say. 
   "Typical summer weather for the Great Northeast," Lucy said out loud before she knew it.  'I better be careful about talking to myself.  Too bad I don't care for cats.  Maybe I should think about getting another dog.'
   Lucy drank her coffee while she checked her email and Facebook.  The phone rang, her friend, Sue, who worked part-time at the art museum next to the library called to remind her of their lunch date the next day.  Before getting up to fix her supper, Lucy posted on her Facebook wall:
   "I'm in my new house by the lake and am loving it!  Still plenty of unpacking to do but will post photos as soon as everything is settled!  Start my new part-time job at the historical society library tomorrow.  Can't wait!"
   After eating her salad and cold chicken supper and unpacking her last 2 suitcases, Lucy unbraided her hair and sat on her bed to brush it.  'I should really decide if I'm going to get it cut', she thought as she pulled it up into a high ponytail.  Dan had liked it long so she had kept it long for him.  He hadn't like it when she had colored the gray that ran in streaks thru it so she had stopped doing that.  Now there were streaks of gray thru her chestnut brown hair again.  She changed into a T-shirt and old wool socks, poured herself another cup of coffee and went back to the computer.  Lucy was pleased to
find a dozen goodwill wishes from friends on her Facebook wall and one Personal Message.

                                                                CHAPTER 2

   Lucy, Sue and Alex met when they were college freshmen.  They were never really close, no college romances, just friends.  He was a year older than them and introduced them to different types of music and literature.  After 2 years they all went to separate colleges and while the girls while stayed friends, they never saw Alex again.  Then after nearly 50 years, Lucy and Alex met again on Facebook.   Now more than 1400 miles and 2 lifestyles apart they became friends again.  They chatted a couple of times a week, quickly falling into their old teasing routines.  Lucy shared these conversations with Sue who was wasn't quite comfortable with social media.  Sue had John who was the 'love of her life' and their 3 daughters and granddaughters.  Lucy had Dan and their dogs.  Alex was just a voice from the past that they giggled over like a couple of teenagers when they met for coffee.

   A month later Lucy opened another Personal Message from Alex:
"Settled in the new house, yet?  I'm going to be up this week for my brother-in-law's funeral.  Give me your phone number and if I have the time I'll call you. Maybe we can get together for coffee or something?"  Lucy read it twice and then typed in her number and 'OK', held her breath for a couple of seconds and hit 'enter'.  She sat there for a few minutes doing nothing and then closed that Personal Message link.  She noticed a PM from a member of the craft guild she belonged to and clicked that open.  She spent the next half hour chatting with that member over a problem they were having in the guild's store.  When they finally agreed on work days to swap and clicked off, Lucy noticed that Alex had read her message and answered with  'Good'.  She read a few more postings and closed the computer.  After making sure all the doors were locked and the windows closed Lucy went to bed.  Tomorrow was going to be another busy day.
    Lucy loved her jobs.   She considered all the years she had spend working in the school library as training for the job at the historical association's library even though the school had used the Dewey Decimal system and the association  used the Library of Congress one.  She worked only 4 hours a day,  2 days a week but it was interesting and she got to see Sue for lunch once a week.  And that left her with those 2 half days to work in the craft guild's store where she sold her hand-knit items and the rest of the time to knit.  Lucy felt she had settled into the new house and new library job pretty well.  The yard around her house still needed work but she wasn't in any hurry to do that.
  There were now 5 houses on Lucy's road.  There were 2 on the top of the hill.  One had been built for a family who had a 'granny' house beside it.  Across and just above Lucy, a house was being built for a retired minister and his  wife. And just below and across from Lucy, her cousin had decided to built a house. The way the lots were staggered up the hill that left one lot empty on Lucy's side of the road but no one seemed  interested in it yet. The road had been oiled and stoned and the  homeowners could decided in the spring if they wanted to blacktop the it or continue to oil and stone it. 
   Lucy picked up her mail and drove up the road turning into her driveway.  She parked in front of the garage and making sure all the car's windows were closed got out and walked to her deck.  There were several hooks with hanging pots around her porch and deck that attracted hummingbirds and butterflies.  Lucy walked slowly past them trying to stay out of the way of the hummingbirds who swooped around her.   She dropped the mail on a deck chair and went into the house to get a glass of sweet tea.  The phone rang as she unlocked the door and she grabbed it before the answering machine could kick in.
   "Lucy?" a male voice asked.  "Alex Hardy."
   "Oh, Alex, hello!" she stuttered, hoping she didn't sound like the old lady she felt . "How was the funeral?"  That was dumb, she told herself.  Calm down.
   "Not bad. They kept it short. Did you turn up the heat for me?"
   "Of course," she answered, "anything to make you happy."  And then added "How long are you staying?"
   "A few more days," he answered.  "I wondered if we could get together for coffee?"
   "Well," he said, "I'm on my own this afternoon.  How about now?"
   "Ah," Lucy said and taking a breath added, " if you'd like to come up and see the house, now is a good time.  I could put on a pot of coffee...."
   "OK", Alex said quickly, "give me a minute to track you on my phone...ok, got you!  How long will it take to get there"
   "About half an hour" Lucy told him.
   "OK, see you in about half an hour!" Alex said and hanging up.
Lucy sat there staring at her phone for a couple of minutes before she went inside and put on a fresh pot of coffee.  She washed the cup and cereal bowl she had left in the sink from breakfast, putting them in the drain and looked around the rest of the room.  Then she checked the bathroom and ran into her bedroom and quickly made the bed.  Looking in her mirror Lucy decided since there wasn't enough time to turn a 72 yr old woman back into a hot college babe  she wasn't going to try and went back outside to sit on the deck and  wait for Alex.
    Lucy didn't have long to wait.  About 15 minutes later a car turned into her road and came up the hill towards her house.  It turned into her driveway and drove up to her house.  Lucy stayed seated while the car ignition died and the door opened and closed.   A man walked towards the deck.  He was about Lucy's height with silver gray hair.  His face was open with deep dimples in each cheek and bright blue eyes and he had a wide grin on his face.
    "Hello, Lucy," he said coming up onto the deck and walking towards her with his arms outstretched.
    Lucy stood up and smiled back.  "Hello, Alex!"  She said and walked towards him with her arms extended.  They walked into each others arms and hugged warmly. Alex kissed her quickly and hugged her again. "You look great!" he said still smiling.  "So do you," Lucy answered and started to blush. "Come on and sit down," she said, taking his hand.  "Would you like some coffee? Or Sweet
tea?"  "Let me just look at you for a minute, will you?"  He said pulling her back to the chairs and sitting down.  "How come you're not gray?" he asked reaching over and running his hand down her hair.  "Good genes," she answered.  They laughed.  "Settling in OK?" he said looking around.  "That's a great view!"  "Even if it's not the big lake?" she asked.  "Looks big enough to me," he replied.  "Where's your dock?"  "Don't have one," she said, adding,  "Can't imagine a woman alone at my age bothering with a dock and boat, but" and she paused, "I do have 'lake rights' ".  Lucy looked up to see Alex smiling at her, "Just in case I change my mind."  "Or find a man willing to do all the work?" he said in a teasing tone. They both laughed.
   Sitting on the deck in the warm sunshine, they passed the afternoon.  Lucy took Alex inside while she got the coffee.  She noticed he checked her bookshelves and had reached out and touched the old poetry books from their college years.  Back on the deck they talked about their lives now without their partners.  Alex lived near his grown children and had grandchildren.  He showed Lucy his grandson's latest soccer team pictures and the picture of his daughter's new baby, a girl named after her mother.  Lucy could see he was proud of his family and that he still missed his wife after nearly 15 years.  Lucy talked about her life with Dan and the fun they had had with their dogs and their attempt at survival gardening.  Suddenly she noticed that traffic had picked up on the highway below them and the sun was at the top of the hill, signals that it was late in the afternoon.
   "Have you plans for dinner?" she asked him.  "Why don't you stay?"
   " I wouldn't want you to go to any trouble...."he started.  
   "No, trouble!" she said quickly, "I'll do spaghetti with Angie's Fried Chicken.  The chicken is already marinating so I just have to bread and fry it while the pasta cooks. And you can be my
my sous chief and fix the salad."
   Laughing they went back into the house and started supper.  Lucy took the marinating chicken and a bag of salad greens out of the refrigerator. While she breaded and fried the chicken Alex cut and mixed the salad fixings, picking a tomato out of the bowl on the counter and chopping it expertly.  Lucy handed him the large salad bowl and pointed to the herbs and garlic outside the kitchen window when he asked for them.  She stirred the tomato sauce as she turned the heat up under it.  Alex's salad ready, he offered to set the table and she handed him plates and glasses and pointed to the flatware drawer.  She plated the Angel Hair pasta
and handed it to him and filled a serving plate with the golden brown chicken.  The extra tomato sauce Lucy poured in a shallow bowl and added a ladle before putting it on the table.  She grabbed a shaker of Parmesan/Romano cheese and another of crushed hot pepper before going to the table and signaling Alex to sit down. 
   "Coffee, tea..."  she started to say.  
   "Or me?"   he finished.
   They laughed and started to eat.
   After dessert, what was left of a carrot cake Lucy had made earlier in the week, they took their second cups of coffee out to the deck.  Alex went back inside and refilled their cups a third time.
"That kills the pot", he said coming back outside and sitting down again.  "Should I make another?" Lucy asked.
     "Probably not," he said.  "I should leave soon.  I'm suppose to play golf with my brother and nephews tomorrow."
    The sky had darkened and was covered with stars.  "I'd forgotten how many stars there are in the sky around here, " Alex said looking up.  "I think I'm going to get an astronomy book and learn some of the constellation this winter," Lucy said.  "It would be a shame to let all that go to waste." 
   After a few minutes Alex put his empty coffee cup down on the table and slowly stood up.  Lucy joined him as he walked across the deck.  He stopped before the stairs and turned to her.  "Thanks for supper", he said putting his hands on her shoulders.  "I've enjoyed today," he answered. "When are you going back?" she asked.  "Sunday", he answered.  "If I can, I'll call you, maybe we can get together again." "OK", she said and then added"Oh, do me a favor?" "What?"  "Call me when you get to where you're staying and let me know you made it OK?  Lots of deer on the road...and troopers, " she said, "you know."  "Sure," he answered and leaned towards her and kissed her gently. Lucy blinked, surprised.  Alex laughed, leaned in and kissed her again.  "Good night, Lucy Lu," he said, using his old nickname for her.
  "Good night," she answered and watched as he walked to his car and got in.  He blinked his headlights before backing out of her driveway and driving away. 
   Lucy went back into her house carrying the coffee cups.  After putting them in the dishwasher with the rest of the evenings dishes, and adding the detergent,Lucy started the cycle.  She walked into her bedroom and changed into her T-shirt and wool socks, and picking up her evening medications went back into the kitchen.  She counted out her pills and swallowed them with water from the kitchen facet.  Then she turned off the overhead light and sat in her chair with just her high definition work lamp on.  Lucy picked up the remote and turned on the TV, not really noticing what was on.   Picking up her knitting she looked down at what was on the needles.  A child's raglan sweater, what she was know for, was on a long circular needle ready for sleeves.  Lucy worked across the first group of stitches and then worked the next 40 stitches onto a straight needle.  She slipped tip protectors on both ends of the circular needle that held the majority of the sweater and started to work on the sleeve.  She had just worked enough length on the sleeve to start the first decrease row when the phone rang.
   "Hello", she said.
   "Hi," Alex answered, "I made it OK.  And you were right, lots of deer and Troopers!"
   "But no problems, right?" Lucy asked.
   "Right, " he said.
   "Good," she answered.
   "Hey, Luce, what are you doing tomorrow night?" he suddenly asked.
   "Nothing special," she said a little surprised.
   "My nephew says there's a good restaurant across the lake from you.  Interested in going there for dinner tomorrow?"
   "Ah, yea, sure," Lucy stammered, smiling to herself.  Here I go again, she thought the old lady routine.
   "Great!  I'll make a reservation for 6:30 and be up to your place around 6pm.  OK?"
   "Good!" Alex answered, "See you tomorrow night!" and hung up.
Lucy said there for a few minutes with the phone in her hands grinning. "Oh", she thought, "I think I've got a date.  Wait until Sue hears about this."  Lucy sat there for a few more minutes, then put the phone and her knitting away, and turning off the TV and her lamp walked into her bedroom and climbed into bed.   She soon fell last asleep.
                                                              CHAPTER 3

   Lucy remembered learning to make what she called Angie's Fried Chicken as a young girl.  Her best friend's mother always made it when they visited Lucy's family at camp.  It was a relatively simple recipe...boneless, skinless chicken breasts, poked by a fork and marinated for several hours in eggs beaten with salt and pepper and Parmesan/Romano cheese and then breaded and fried golden brown.  It was usually served with tomato sauce and a side dish of pasta.  When Lucy first learned the recipe she had had to debone the chicken, a messy, cold procedure that left a lot to be desired...and enough chicken on the bones to make a thin broth.  Now with boneless chicken readily available, it was much easier to do, but Angie's Fried Chicken still remained a special dish for special times.
   Lucy had brushed her hair  back pulling the sides up and catching them with a barrette at the back of her head. There was one silver streak that crossed the top of her head  before ending in dark, loose curls down her back and a few curly ends that had escaped around her face.  Pearl earrings were the only jewelry she wore. Her face and neck were lightly tanned and the only noticeable makeup she had on was eyeliner and mascara.  Her navy blue sundress was sleeveless with a round neck.  It buttoned up the front and she had rolled up the cuffs of her light gauze shirt to ware over it if air-conditioning  at the restaurant was too strong. She adjusted the straps of her sandals and walked through the house and out onto the deck where she had left her knitting.  Sitting down Lucy picked up her work and held it in her lap while she looked out at the lake.  The sun was behind the house and the lake resembled a piece of  glass with ripples made by the lone fishing boat moving steadily down it's length.  There were several jet skis  racing on the other side of the lake and she could just hear the shrieks of their riders.  Traffic on the highway was light.  Before she knew it a car had pulled into her driveway and Alex was walking towards the deck.  He was smiling broadly and his blue eyes were sparkling brightly. 
   "Enjoying the view?" he asked as he came up the stairs.
   "Always," she answered, "especially when a good-looking man is in it."  They laughed good naturedly and he leaned over and kissed
her.  "You're looking pretty tonight," he said, smiling again and running his hand down her arm to hold her hand for a few moments.  "Thank you," Lucy said smiling.  "Would you like something to drink before we go?" she asked.  "I don't think so," Alex answered," we can have wine with our dinner. There seems to be a lot of troopers around here" he said as a state police car drove by on the highway below them.
   Lucy put her knitting inside, got her purse and locked the door.  They walked across the deck and towards his car avoiding the hummingbirds who had collected at the hanging plants and birdfeeders.
   "My nephew gave me directions to the restaurant", he said as he made the turn onto the highway.  Lucy sat back in the seat and just smiled.  Locals knew one way to get there that cut a few miles off the trip that Alex's nephew obviously didn't know about, she thought as he drove past that turn and went into town.  "What's going on tonight?" Alex asked as they waited for the stoplight to change noticing the activity in the park.  "I think it's a band concert," Lucy replied.  "Oh, maybe we could check it out on the way back," he answered and guided the car to the right and down the street.  Lucy murmured her agreement.  Chatting pleasantly they were soon pulling up to the old restaurant at the lake.  Alex found a parking space and they walked in and were shown to their table.  "Glad I made that reservation!"  he said looking around the full dining room as they were seated.  They both smiled as they looked out over the lake and then at each other.  Their server was a young man who asked if they'd like something from the bar first but Alex said they'd have wine with dinner and ordered a bottle. Then the server described the specials of the day and they each chose one.  "I can't see your house," Alex said after the server had left them, looking across the lake.  "No", Lucy replied "it's a little further south. See the public beach?" she asked pointing, "my house is around that curve." "Oh, yea," he said moving his chair closer to her, "I can just make out the house on top of the hill!"  "Right!"  The server was back with their wine and after pouring some for Alex who tasted it and nodded his approval filled Lucy's glass and then Alex's and left the bottle on the table in easy reach of him.  Alex lifted his glass to Lucy and  with a new gleam in his eyes said "Caught in the quiet
                                                        Off on our own
                                                                                    Coming together
                                                        Staying alone...."*
"Rod McKuen," Lucy answered and they sipped their wine smiling.  "I haven't heard any of his poetry in years," she said. "Do you still have his recordings?"   "A few," Alex answered, "but the machine doesn't work that well anymore.  It's hard to find a new needle for it."  Lucy shook her head sadly in sympathy and they sat quietly for a few seconds. 
   The server arrived with their appetizers and refilled their wine glasses.  The rest of the meal was pleasant.  The food was delicious and Lucy kept laughing as Alex brought up old friends and their antics. When the server asked if they'd like dessert and Lucy said "just coffee, please"  Alex looked at her questioningly and asked "Did you bake a cake today?"
   "Yes," she replied blushing lightly, "I made a chocolate cake with cream cheese frosting."
    "Then just coffee for me, too," he told the server. 
    Their  coffee finished and bill paid Alex and Lucy walked to the car with his hand lightly touching the small of her back. He opened the car door for her and waited until she had fastened the seatbelt before gently closing the door.  Backing  up the car, Alex slipped it into drive and headed back toward the village center.  They could hear the sounds of the band concert get louder as they got closer.  Alex found a parking place and they walked, hand in hand, toward the park.  The band was a country group playing gentle classics and couples were dancing on the sidewalks and grass.
     "Want to dance?" Alex asked putting his arms around Lucy's waist.  "The band's pretty good, aren't they?"
    "They sound like Alabama, don't they?" she asked putting her hands on his shoulders and swaying with him to the music.
     "Well, it is one of their hits," he pointed out.
     "Yea," she agreed and together they said the title of the song, 'When We Make Love'.  When the band started another love song Alex pulled Lucy closer and they continued to dance.  The band kept the mood going with different songs for 15 or 30 minutes until they finally announced the last one, the Ronnie Milsap classic 'Woman in Love' ,that lifted the mood and allowed the keyboardist to end the night with a flourish. Alex twirled Lucy and caught her back in his arms as the song ended.  They both were most of the people in the park.  The concert had been enjoyed by so many people.  Lucy and Alex slowly walked back to the car holding hands.
  "I haven't been to a band concert like that in...I don't know how long," Alex said as they reached his car.  He opened the door and Lucy slipped in.  "It was fun," she said, "and I hope I didn't step on your toes."
   "Toes all present and accounted for," he quipped as he got in behind the wheel.  "You're not a bad dancer...." he started.
   "Not a very good one either," she said. "But you are.  I enjoyed it." 
   It was almost dark by the time they got back to her house.  And the moon and the stars were quickly being covered by dark clouds coming in from the west.   The wind had picked up and there was a distant rumble of thunder.  "The coffee pot is set" Lucy said as they walked across the deck to the porch door, "just have to switch it on.  We should have coffee before the storm hits."
   "I'm glad it held off and didn't stop the band concert," Alex said as they went inside.  "Do you lose power often out here?"
   "Once in awhile," she answered, "not often."
   They had their coffee and cake at the dining table then refilled their coffee cups and took them to the small sofa facing the window and watched the storm as it rolled across the lake.  When Alex put his cup on the end table and put his arm around her shoulder Lucy held her cup in her lap with both hands and raised it to sip it slowly. When she was finished, he took it from her and placed it on the end table with his.  Then he turned her toward him and kissed her warmly.  Lucy responded and Alex kissed her again and again.  He ran his hand up and down her arm several times kissing her each time he held her by the shoulders.  Lucy sighed and moved her hands to his shoulders leaning against him.  He tightened his hold on her and kissed her neck.  His hand ran down over her breast and body and was soon tracing a pattern on the skirt of her dress.  He managed to unbutton the button of it and started to ran his hand up and down her thigh.  Lucy moaned lightly and Alex laughed. He kissed her again and moved her arms so they went around his neck.   Standing up he pulled her to him in a tight hug and she raised one knee to hug his leg. 
   "Mr. Hardy" Lucy said softly, "did you stick a sock in your pocket?"
   "No," he laughed.  "Is that a problem?"
   "A man your age...Lucy started, "are you healthy enough for sex?"
    "Care to find out?" he answered with that twinkle in his blue eyes again.  Taking her hand they walked towards Lucy's bedroom pausing and kissing as they went with Alex carefully unfastening the barrette from Lucy's hair and running his hand through her long hair.  Once there Alex pulled her down on the bed and  just as a loud thunder clap rolled over the house and the lake was lite up by a large burst of lightening, the lights in Lucy's house went out.

                                                                   CHAPTER 4

    Dan was a survivalists always ready for when 'the shit hit the fan' .  He insisted that they buy a portable generator and so they did.  The one he choice ran on diesel and other alternative fuels but luckily they never had to use it.  Lucy used the money she got for it and his other tool that she sold after he died for the building plans for her new house.  She looked on it as his contribution to her future.





Friday, June 9, 2017

Funerals, fishing and other things

   Jeff and I had a funeral to attend yesterday.  His brother, Tim's long time companion had died and although Jeff wasn't on good terms with the woman he felt we should attend for his brother.   
   It was the first time I had met the bulk of Jeff's family.  I had met Tim a couple of times...and Mary, the companion, only once and we didn't exactly hit it off.  I've also met Tim's sons, Tim, Jr and Doug, before but not his daughters.  I also met one of Jeff's aunt's who is about Tim's age, and a lot of people from the old neighborhoods they had lived in. Because I stayed with Jeff and his family I wasn't introduced to many of Mary's family.  The calling hours and service were held at the Enea-Ciaccia Funeral Home in Ilion and the reception at the Sauquoit Firehouse. The service was simple with several of Mary's family speaking. Tim held up pretty well until one of Mary's daughter's spoke very movingly about her mother and he faltered a little.  Jeff and Tim, Jr. immediately went to his side and  I think he appreciated that.  After the closing prayers and most of the people had left, the director played a recording of a bagpipe rendition of "Amazing Grace".  I was glad I was outside when he did.  I find that a difficult piece to listen to, maybe because it's played so often at military funerals across the road from us at St. Mary's.  
   One of Jeff's old friends gave us directions to the firehouse and I drove.  I really had hoped to follow somebody but nobody went up Frankfort Hill so I was on my own.  We made it to Sauquoit before Jeff began to think we had missed a turn somewhere but suddenly there was the turn they had told us to look for...and then the firehouse.  As usual there was more than enough, cold cuts, even spaghetti and meatballs!  Jeff wouldn't let me eat any salad and I kept him from over doing the carbs but we both ate well.  We had to leave before dark because my car had blown a headlight and I didn't want to drive that far with 1 headlight!  We also had to stop at the pharmacy and pick up a 'scrip for Jeff on the way home so we really didn't have much choice.  And, let's just say we had a big welcome when we opened the kitchen door!  I'm sure Fanny was sure we were never coming home to give her supper!  That was the 2nd funeral I've been to at that funeral home this Spring and I think that's enough for the rest of the year.
    Jeff's been looking at kayaks and this afternoon he went out with the intent to buy one.  He had found one that would hold him and his fishing equipment at a decent price but it wasn't set up as a fishing boat.  He's got to make up his mind if he wants to spend the extra money for the larger kayak that is set up for fishing. But he did get the bulb for the headlight on my car.
  I've been trying to make some fancy baby hats so today I broke down and ordered more yarn.  Once that gets here next week I can really start knitting!

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Old Friends and Memories

  I  really enjoyed my visit with my college friend, Maggie, yesterday afternoon and my evening chat with another college friend, Tim, on Facebook, last night.  It really was a trip down memory lane for all 3 of us!  Tim sent a photo of himself and wants me to post one of Maggie and me so that's #1 on my list for our next get-together.  I tore my closet apart last night looking for the Rod McKuen poetry books that Tim got Maggie and me interested in...and found them...but I couldn't find my yearbooks...none of them from high school or college!  They must be packed away in a box the attic, maybe? 
   When I got home yesterday Jeff was waiting to use my car.  His brother's long-time companion had died suddenly and Jeff wanted to go to their house in Rome to be with his brother but he didn't feel confident driving the Outback that far and coming home again late at night. I got home around 5pm and he left for Rome then.  He didn't get back until almost 11pm.  The services will be in Ilion on Thursday so I said I'd go with him.  While I've met his brother several times and am friendly with him and Jeff's nephews I had met the woman only once and felt like an intruder if I went with Jeff last night.
   I woke up this morning to the sound of pouring rain and really just wanted to roll over and bury my head with the bedcovers but Fanny wanted to go out so by the time we did that I was so cold and wide awake I just made some coffee and turned on the TV.  Tuesday morning is time for the Artful Detective...something I can usually knit to very well but it was one I had seen (a couple of times) so I ended up playing solitaire on my PC for awhile hoping the rain would let up and not knitting at all.  I finally gave up and got dressed, wrote the last 2 checks I had to mail and got ready to go to town.  Jeff had gotten up and asked me to make a copy for him at the library and mail a letter before I left the house so my 'to do' list had about half a dozen stops on it.  When I got in the car I found out that he had left the driver's side window open about 1/2-3/4" open and the seat was wet!  I sat down and SCREAMED!!  He heard me in the house and we met at the kitchen door!  I was not happy.  I grabbed a bath towel to put on the seat and turned on the seat heater but the dampness seeped thru and it was an uncomfortable ride around town and to Ilion.  To get even I stopped at Little Caesars and got a pizza for lunch because Jeff wouldn't eat it.  (He ended up eating it for supper instead.)
      I had found a pattern on Facebook for a knitted keychain and made a sample to show the girls at the shop on Monday.  One suggested not using the blended sock yarn but straight wool and felt the little pocketbook.  I thought about that but decided just to make the bag smaller.  I did one today and now it's small enough to hold a quarter...and keep it from falling out. I've got plenty of leftover sock yarn so I'm all set.  Just have to come up with some

promotional lines about 'always having a quarter handy for a shopping cart'.  And I have to get some washers to put in the bags in place of quarters!!  Or maybe poker chips!

    I really have to get back to 'real' knitting.  My hat display was full but I've got to do some baseball sweaters.  Got a size 2 pin-stripe started and when that's done I should do a red and white one...maybe a hoodie.  This will be one of the longest stretches when I won't be in the shop so I better use my time wisely and KNIT!