Catching up at the Ranch

Whoa…life has been wild since we got back from our trip a few weeks ago.

Rebekah and the Dude

First of all, the Dude.  He finally seems to be feeling pretty good.  He's filled out and is eating well.  Rebekah and I fuss over him and the bottle duties. 

Marci arranged for members of her church community to come over last Thursday to stuff stockings for the Food Pantry Christmas stockings.  I'd forgotten they were coming when Jerry came over to tell me that mayhem had broken out in the Pavilion.  He tried to describe the scene but I had to see for myself, so over I went.

Michael and John zap each other with the zapping hands

This was about 8:30 in the evening.  Ranchers were running around zapping one another with little rubberized hands that snapped like rubber bands, but they didn't hurt.  The stockings were already stuffed, and it was cut-loose time.  Several hands wound up stuck to the ceiling way high up in the dining room.  Hopefully they'll dry out and fall off. 

Last Friday morning at the staff meeting Jerry started off, as he usually does, with some lamer-than-usual jokes.  I mean,  really lame jokes.  After appropriate groans we got on with the business at hand.

Now Jerry has a lot of trouble ending things on time and he won't wear a watch or even look at the clocks on the wall there for all to see. So he has deputized Casey as the sergeant-at-arms  of staff meetings.  It's her job to give the five-minute warning.  A finger slicing sideways across the neck is the signal that the five minutes is up (I think we got that out of some management book…)

This day, however, before Casey could give the signal, we noticed Christopher peering in through the little window in the door.  He indicated that he wanted to come in and Casey waved at him to come on.  Once in the room, he settled down next to Jerry, who turned to him and asked, “What's happening, Chris?”

“Daughter,” Chris said, frowning and pointing out toward the hallway at our daughter Kelly, his best friend and buddy.

“What about Daughter?” asked Jerry.

“Bad jokes!” exclaimed Chris.  I lay my head on the table and moaned, “Oh no, it's genetic!”

Saturday Fr. John brought 20 or so parishioners over from St. Francis Episcopal in College Station for a tour of the Ranch.  Jerry took them on a wandering hay ride to see the sights and we all had barbecue with the Ranchers in the Pavilion.

Later that day, Jim's friends Judy and her granddaughter Natalie arrived and we all decorated Timothy House, where Jim now lives, for the holidays.  Jim's our newest Rancher and he's loving his new life at the Ranch.  I wanted Judy and Natalie to meet the guys of Barnabas House, where Jim hangs out a lot.

I  don't know what happened, but I stumbled on the sidewalk and in trying to regain my footing launched myself through the air, landing across the curb between the sidewalk and the porch.  I am now decorated in blacks and blues  from chest to toe, and given the violence of the impact, count myself lucky that the only thing broken was my camera.

Fr. John after services last Sunday

A few Tylenols later, we all left–as in all of us–to all have dinner in Elgin at the City Cafe, watch the Christmas parade and attend a reception at the home of Forest and Cheryll Dennis, yard-decorators extraordinaire, who were hosting a reception for nationally-recognized singer Judy Pancoast, composer of The House on Christmas Street.

Sunday morning I didn't even try to sing with the choir, since it hurt to breathe.  We came back to the Ranch after church and I spent the afternoon cleaning out my office.

When I checked my email there was one from Fr. John titled “TWO exciting days!”  It had an attached photo labled simply “41 Barb and John.”   I opened it, and there was Fr. John with President George H.W. Bush and Mrs. Bush.

I asked Fr. John if he'd had any advance notice they were coming and he said the first he knew was when the Secret Service showed up at 9:15.  The Bushes spend a fair amount of time in College Station because the Bush Sr. Presidential Library is there. 

Travis and I taking Sally out for a spin last summer

I do hope things slow down a bit.  I bought a few books on driving a cart and horse, and am itching to get old Sally hitched up for a ride, if and when I can find time.  It's my Christmas project.