Thursday, June 12, 2008

Mummers in the Park

I had a lot of computer work to get done yesterday morning and the storm did give way to beautiful weather, so Saul took the girls to our giant playground where the township building, swimming pool, basketball courts, etc. are located, about a ten-minute drive from our house. The playground is one of the best around. In some ways, I feel a little guilty about it. Most of the neighbors on our small cul-de-sac were involved in the actual construction of the playground during the first summer after we moved in. At the time, we were constructing our own deck and after days of digging post holes, making runs from the lumber yards, and sawing and screwing boards together in 90-degree heat, we wanted nothing to do with an additional evening construction project. Our kids were in college and high school, so we were not really invested in getting the project done and we missed a bonding opportunity with our new neighbors. When we finally saw the results of their labor, along with the labor of many others from all over the area, we were immensely impressed. Now, for several years, we have reaped the fruits of their labor by taking our grandchildren there to play.

They returned at lunch time and afterwards, we packed them off to bed for a nap. Mom is still very tired from the pneumonia but seems a little stronger and livelier with each day that passes, especially because the girls are here. I napped in the afternoon, too. Saul had noticed in a local paper that the park would be hosting concerts on Wednesday evenings through the summer, and the first one was last evening. After dinner, we packed up some folding chairs and a blanket and spent a delightful evening sitting on the grass and listening to a group of six mummers play the old standbys while the kids frolicked and strutted in front of the bandstand.

When the concert ended, we headed off down the road to Freddy Hill Farms, a wonderful local ice cream emporium, a relic from the past where the air outside smells of manure and the ice cream is made and sold right there. Izzy calls it "The Cow Shop" because there is a life-size black and white cow perched on the roof at the entrance. Yesterday, she was very curious if it was a real cow. When told that it was not real, she wanted to know if it had once been alive and now was a dead cow. She was satisfied when we explained it was a fake cow. If anything, kids today know what the word "fake" means. One of the unique aspects of Freddy Hill Farms is that you pay for your ice cream by weight so that it is possible to get 4-year-old-size ice cream cones. Both girls chose M&M embedded cones. Izzy had chocolate and Sami had cookies and cream. I had a waffle cone with Moose Tracks and Rocky Mountain Raspberry. Saul had a cup of chocolate and coffee. We arrived there at the perfect time because as we sat down at a table to eat, a huge line of people came in behind us. On the way over, we passed North Penn High School's field where the graduation ceremonies were in full swing.

I used my sugar rush to spend several more hours on the computer after we put the girls to bed. Every night, Saul tells them a different "Schmuel" bedtime story. This began last summer when they were staying here. Schmuel, or in English, Samuel, is Saul's real Israeli name. When his family arrived in the United States in 1959, his American aunt, Tante Honey, gave him the American name, Saul. This was because his father's Hebrew name was Simcha, meaning happy. Simcha became Samuel. Children are named only for the deceased in Judaism, so Saul could not also be Samuel. Anyway, last summer he began to tell them stories from his childhood in Israel in the third person. They know that he is talking about himself, but when he slips, they object and insist that he refer to himself as Schmuel. Yesterday's story was about his adventures with his bicycle. Today's story was about strawberries. He has not been at a loss yet to come up with a new adventure.

Today was another beautiful day and they spent another few hours at the playground while I finished the first draft of my publication. Again, after lunch, we napped, but after dinner the girls seemed tired anyway so we stayed in and they went to bed without any fuss. We brought an old bookcase down from the attic for their room, now that Jessica has carried away the large Xerox machine that was taking up space in there for my business, and which I am now sending to Ari. Books and videos had been lying all over the place and this evening, they were finally put away.

Erica called a few days ago to see if the family (Adele, Larry, Brenna and Ava--Danny is working) could come over for dinner tomorrow because she had scheduled a family portrait with Mom this weekend and needed time to do her hair. Erica was a licensed beautician several years ago (she gave it up) and she has been doing Mom's hair ever since Mom gave up driving. When I finish this, it is back to the kitchen to finish up some dishes for tomorrow evening.  We are looking forward to being guests at Beth's company picnic at Camp America on Sunday. We had a wonderful time last year. I hope this gorgeous weather will hold out a few more days. Poor Saul! He has a colonoscopy scheduled for Monday and won't be able to eat all that delicious free food!

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