Do I have a unifying theme for this post? Don't know that I do...it has been a week since I had a chance to write and I don't have to be particularly prescient to realize the upcoming weeks will present fewer opportunities yet to post any notes, observations, or epiphanies. Like the ants that carry goodness-knows-what up the columns on my front porch and then down again, the weeks of mid April and May tend to focus one's mind in the bedding plant business. I miss the flowering crabs; I miss the water lilies sprouting; my house plants get too dry; the monthly magazines pile and the weeklies get discarded. Various foods go out of date in the fridge. Three years ago, the entire refrigerator got warmer and warmer until, on May 3, Blake stopped on a delivery to buy a new fridge at Lowe's. By then, I was buying pints of milk on a daily basis because I couldn't keep anything perishable cold enough. Matt and Annie came over that evening so Matt could help carry the old fridge. Lizzie was born the next day.
So, this weekend was so very nice on so many levels. First of all, Blake and I took the drive to St. Louis in the car for Mark's birthday party. It rained and we didn't leave soon enough to make the drive completely relaxing, but it was still pleasant to ride along together, picking up coffee and a baked good, commenting on the newspapers and listening to Blake's opening statement for his debate. During the next month, our time in vehicles together will be limited to the four miles to Hurst Greenery and time together awake will be...well, breakfast and the four mile drive to Hurst Greenery in the morning!
Secondly, going to St. Louis to see Laura and Mark is always a festive occasion, but a birthday party at the Trattoria with Mark's family and their friends was even more of a celebration. We had time for a glass of wine together before the making the short walk down to the neighborhood restaurant. The food was oh so delicious; Mark's brothers, sister, nieces, nephew, mother...you name it, the Lampe family is creative and good humored. We ate, joked, listened to stories and laughed alot. What could be more relaxing? On Saturday morning, we drove over to Clayton for a tasty breakfast at FirstWatch. That reminded us of pleasant visits to Wash. U. while Ben and Kenzie were still in town. It seemed strange to drive those avenues and not stop at Delmar or drive past Brookings. St. Louis is in no way home, but with close family there and all our trips over the years, it is a perfectly good second place.
Got home in time to spend Saturday evening with two of my favorite two year olds while their folks celebrated their...let's see now....EIGHTH anniversary! Gabe and Abbie had supper, helped their grandma make cakes for Easter (one for church, one for home, one for Gabe and Abbie), took a bubble bath, read the Three Bears, and then, after all their hard work in the greenhouse, settled in easily and effortlessly for a good night's sleep. Their mommy and daddy brought back Easter egg stuffings and Grandma and Grandpa took two dozen specially dyed eggs back for hiding at Spruce street.
Easter morning we leaped up, drank two cups of coffee and headed off for early service and communion. As I've mentioned before, the early service of Easter lifts my heart and spirits. The preacher on the radio spoke from Mark.....'Fear not!"...."Do not be afraid!" and, in one of those non-coincidental coincidences, so did Brother Glenn. Our church was full and the atmosphere joyful and reverent. Everything Easter should be.
Aaron and Lizzie ejected from their van to come hunt their eggs. Lizzie took a tumble in the ruts in the driveway, but unlike her mommy in the past, her white tights escaped damage and the dust was wiped from her flowery dress. Their plastic buckets were full before ten minutes were out and the adults had to hustle to get the speedy egg hunters photographed in focus. The strains of Johnny Cash wafted from Aaron's new cd/radio. Lizzie waved at the cars from her new princess lawn chair. We ate our brunch at the big dining table and polished off the last of the coffee before Ann and Matt loaded up the egg hunting crew and we headed back to church.
The rest of the Hursts and Harms were in second service after Ryan did some watering and Gabe and Abbie rode in with their daddy. We crowded into Lyd and Brooks' yard and driveway with our assorted SUVs and pickups to gather for Easter dinner. The little kids hunted yet more eggs while Blake and I took off to tend to the flowers that would unavoidably be drooping while the fresh sun shone even though the temperature was but 60. Ben tried to call while we were having family prayer.....it seemed fitting. Kenzie sent a note to let us know they were available for a webcam call because she was home from work.
Took care of the greenhouses; made notes of what was ready to sell and what we were supposed to haul this week. Made a list of the high priority watering. Took flower plugs to number eight to be transplanted and laid out vegetable plugs to be taken away from number eight for transplanting. Ryan tried to flatten out some of the massive ruts; Blake unloaded the Sunday plug order; Gabe and Abbie took a LONG nap; Lee and I hid the last Easter eggs of the day...then the kids hunted for them after we scared Mama Dog away from her interrupted snack of hard boiled eggs. Abbie ate blue peeps....Gabe ate a couple of Reese' eggs. We called Ben and Kenzie so the kids could show off. Kenzie's eggs were considerably prettier than the Schlueter/Harms eggs, some of which tended to brown tones. Gabe ate a blue Peep and his mommy shut off the candy altogether.
I've spent the evening mopping; then putting the weekend's pictures on the computer and sending notes off to family. Opening night baseball is on and the Cardinals play tomorrow noon.The house is cool and the last load of laundry is ready to be put away. Our weekend has the combined joy and regret that is the human condition, but I would be first to say, we've had more than our share of the joy portion this time around. For the weeks to come; for the uncertainties we'll all face; for the ongoing worries; I'll ask for help, fortitude, energy, skill, patience. But for this Easter, I'll say a prayer of thanks, not just for all those blessings, but for the ability to recognize and appreciate them.