Ramblings from the Cove...

November 20, 2014

By Lars Gren

For want of anything better, a potpourri or mélange of thoughts

Some may have received my prediction of a very tough winter ahead of us. This comes not by in-depth study of forecasting of my own or from other gurus with scientific knowledge, but from a lonely tree that graces the fence line a mile or so from us. As a general rule its leaves begin to color in early September; last year, though, it was late July and we had a dilly of storms (though we were only here for the first two storms prior to our departure for Florida). I fear this year’s winter will be at least as hard as the last one and perhaps a bit worse, for this year the shading of red began a few days into July. If you think all of this is bunk—well, our first blast of coming winter drifted in on Sunday the 1st of November with rain, sleet and snow—gone now, but rarely do we have snow prior to Thanksgiving. We are now at the 19th of November, and in the morning we’re supposed to rise and shine out of a warm bed to be greeted by a low temperature of near freezing or perhaps a few degrees below. My tree is right on. Yes and it snowed in Texas 6th of November never before.

But of course such wonderings and prediction have no real meaning, for at best we guess what is to come from what has been in the past. Then we get surprised when there is a sudden shift in all of it and the forecasters with great solemnity announce that “not in the past sixty-seven years have we had such radical shift in [whatever] as we had today.” In light of such and such rhetoric, it is interesting and enlightening that in Job 38 God speaks, throwing out question after question to Job; for e.g., who enclosed the sea, entered the storehouses of the snow, causes water to become hard as stone and on and on. So as it was for Job so it is for us. We can raise our hands while uttering, “What’s happening, nothing is the same, what we can do about it?” About weather, not a thing—enjoy it and know that as seasons pass, summer warmth will return. After all, in a matter of a few weeks the solstice will be celebrated and we head into lighter days. Thank God for it all. I need to do that, for too often I hear myself saying, “Too cold or too hot.” Thinking of that brings to mind a sweet song that I particularly enjoyed by The Browns. You may have heard of it and yes, it is sentimental, but don’t we need of bit of that in what could be called the dark times. Have a read- and the tune is sweet too.

He made the night a little brighter
Wherever he would go
The old lamplighter
Of long, long ago
His snowy hair was so much whiter
Beneath the candle glow
The old lamplighter
Of long, long ago
You'd hear the patter of his feet
As he came toddling down the street
His smile would cheer a lonely heart you see
If there were sweethearts in the park
He'd pass a lamp and leave it dark
Remembering the days that used to be
For he recalled when things were new
He loved someone who loved him too
Who walks with him alone in memories

He made the night a little brighter
Wherever he would go
The old lamplighter
Of long, long ago

Now if you look up in the sky
You'll understand the reason why
The little stars at night are all aglow
He turns them on when night is near
He turns them off when dawn is here
The little man we left so long ago
He made the night a little brighter
Wherever he would go
The old lamplighter of long, long ago.

Yes, it is not theologically correct in that it is God who set all things into place and it is He alone who will bring the curtain down so I am not suggesting that he is but a lamplighter of bygone years. Think I’ll try the attitude of the Old Lamplighter- rather than doom and gloom, accept what we have and do whatever comes down the road with thanksgiving and joy.

Recently I received a letter inquiring whether everything was all right with all of us or that perhaps some disaster (not exactly the word that she used) had befallen the folks at the Cove, since I had not let anyone know what was going on since the August entry on the Ramblings. We have been well; in fact, Elisabeth has improved quite a bit since some months ago when she had her TIA and a couple of short hospital stays, for which we are thankful. For the balance of time since August, it has been the humdrum cutting of grass, raking of leaves, getting caught up on the exterior before our neighbor’s request that we find another place to live.

There has been one other little item on the agenda, for which we are very thankful, and that is that a good number of folks have come by for a visit over these past months.

If it is a midday visit I’ll often fix pan-fried fish—haddock as a rule, so fresh that it was swimming happily, I suppose, the day before being consumed appreciatively by all those at our table. Some had never met Elisabeth before, while others we had known for years. In counting up visits from May until the present, we have enjoyed the company of 56 friends (that we remembered to have sign the guest book- likely there were a few we neglected to add in). Now Elisabeth does not respond with a whole lot of conversation and she may be dosing or seemingly detached, but that is quite off the mark. Her good smile when given shows that she is attentive, and whether she understands why the people are there we do not know, but I think she realizes they are there to see her and for that we are thankful. We had a young couple here last week for two days; Sharon, the wife, had been here with her sister Samantha to help us 2 years ago and it was interesting to see when she arrived that there’s some remembrance, I think, as Sharon was helping to feed Elisabeth. So, though the brain may be “locked up”, it is not to the extent that nothing comes through. Ah, the mystery of it all! But then, one day we shall know.

The other morning at breakfast, Carrie said to Elisabeth, “You sure keep us on our toes,” to which she replied, “Sure.” Carrie then added, “And that’s a good thing!” and Elisabeth nodded emphatically and responded, “Quite.” We all had a good laugh, as Elisabeth seemed also to realize the exchange. Another bit of humor from our late evening hours included myself: The routine is to get Elisabeth up from bed at midnight for a quick visit to the “loo,” and as a rule, I’m asleep until Kea or Carrie comes in. On one evening Kea came in at midnight, and a most interesting exchange ensued. The following is Kea’s account verbatim:

Normally when I come in at midnight, Lars gets out of bed to help me as soon as I wake up. This night, however, he was a bit slow to wake up, so after my first attempt to rouse him, I asked while putting Elisabeth’s non-skid socks on her, “Can you help me take Elisabeth to the bathroom?” He raised himself up slightly. “Now, or when I get up?”

Slight pause as I considered my options. “Now.”

“Ok,” and with that, he lay down again. After a moment, he slowly got up and came around to Elisabeth’s side of the bed. “Where’s your wagon?”

“The chair’s right over there,” I pointed to the wheelchair, taking his colorful terminology in stride.

He wheeled it over, but looked a bit dubious. “Ok, but... where…”

“Her socks are already on,” I offered.

“But…” Another look around the room. “Ok, the chair’s here, but where’s the avocado?”


“Where’s the avocado for this?” He jerked his thumb toward the wheelchair.

Barely able to get the words out for laughing, I asked, “Do you mean your wife?”

“What?” He seemed a bit exasperated now.

Still laughing, I repeated, “Do you mean your wife?”

He looked around, shaking his head slightly. “Well... I don’t know, something’s not right.”

(Note from Lars: In my defense I will tell you that Elisabeth’s standard breakfast includes an avocado, plus whatever else we get for her.)

God bless y’all and that’s it from The Cove.

Lars & Elisabeth

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