Cheryl and I gathered last night at a place on a little river nearby with most of her brothers and sisters to celebrate nothing in particular. They just wanted to be together for a bit and share dinner.
The conversation swirled around Cheryl and a small child in the next room was testing her lungs on the building acoustical characteristics by screaming. She was probably about three years old and comfortable in her own skin. No one was scolding her.
Tari had her bluetooth cicada stuck in her ear in case there was an emergency and drank a very white pina colada. (I always saw them as yellow sometimes pink if they had a maraschino cherry garnish.) I put my cheap cellphone on the table in anticipation of Cheryl’s 7PM medication but forgot to check if the alarm was set. Nancy has gotten Gene to drink amaretto sours which is the only thing she will drink other than water. Gene usually drinks only water. Cheryl had a Pepsi because they did not have Coca Cola. Ken ordered a Captain and Sprite which I suppose is another Pepsi product. Jill drank water no ice. I had a dark colored Budweiser tasting beer (beir) on tap brewed locally by some mystery brewer specially for this restaurant. It was okay bier.
The food was excellent. The Deutsche themed restaurant offered schnitzel which I have not had for some time. Kartopfelpfannkuchen came with it. I ordered that. It was perfect. Cheryl ordered chicken tenders with the signature bourbon barbecue sauce, broccoli and apple sauce. She ate most of it which meant she both liked it and she was hungry. Barbecue chicken of some sort was the majority dish for the rest of the table. Others had a rib-eye steak and chicken cordon bleu. Those decisions made the conversation continued loudly. Cheryl had her parkie voice on which is very quiet.
The room was decorated with models of tanks and other weapons of war. Above the two marines in the front window there hung a bazooka the nemesis of tank warfare. It did not appear loaded. The current Abrams (M1) tank did not have a model present as did not the Bradley fighting vehicle. I think there was a Patton on display.
This is the sort of gathering that Cheryl’s mother Elaine would have enjoyed and as we were driving away it became apparent that Elaine had been there. She began to worry that her mom would not get home. That was our job most of the time when her mom was still alive. I assured her that her mom was where she lived now and would not need a ride. Cheryl reminded herself that her mom had passed onto another plane.
When we got home we watched TV for a bit and as it got closer to bedtime and she was more tired, she was also more confused. We talked some more about Elaine and as she remembered that her mom was in heaven, she asked, “Was there a funeral?” I replied, yes. Do you not remember? No, I do not she told me. So I started down the road of jogging her memory. Nancy got up and read a wonderful eulogy about your mom. Do you remember? Oh yes I remember that now. She talked about Bob and Mom. (Nancy did not but did a very respectable job of eulogizing her mom.) It is hard to keep calm and composed when your parkie wife wanders off into the memorial weeds. I merely acknowledged that and reminded her that we had a little luncheon in St. Clement’s lunch area. She remembered that pretty well.
She calmed down and called our son Scott with the news that we were home downstairs of grandma. After she finished her call with Scott she asked, “Is grandma not upstairs?” Her thoughts will bounce around for awhile after a big group gathering. She eventually remembered that her grandmother had passed away but became anxious for a bit that she could not remember any of it. Her grandmother’s funeral was early in our married years. I could not help her remember but we did settle on her calling her cousin Barb to find out what happened to grandma Moeller. (Today as I write this I notice that any and all of that anxiety is gone.)
Trying to keep up with conversation with her siblings is exhausting for her. They are catching up and joking around. This activity takes her back to her childhood and young adulthood. The small child screaming at random intervals seemed to add a nuance of grandchild. Her mom was there too. She was in the house on Phillips Avenue and we went home downstairs to where Aunt Jean lived. These were confusing thought patterns.
And eventually we both went to sleep.
Today after I took her to exercise class, Cheryl ate the leftovers that she brought home for lunch . She suggested that we go back there for dinner or lunch again. We will. They have food that Cheryl likes. Suggesting that we go back is a big endorsement from Cheryl.
I might get a different bier though.
Sadly this room was decorated with weapons of war or krieg as the Germans would say. All in all a good family visit.
Carpe the schnitzel Diem.