You know, sometimes I feel like the most spoiled human being on the planet. Not only did my grandparents make the effort to hop in the car and come see me, but they came bearing gifts.
[A note to my siblings... I always knew I was their favorite.] :)
Grandpa Gerald and Grandma Rita moved back to Iowa from Texas a few years ago to be closer to their nine (yes, you heard that right... nine) children, but I haven't been able to travel and spend any time with them. My Aunt Janella and Uncle Ron moved back to the area recently as well so they all got in the car last week and took a drive to check out the corn fields and see a couple of their granddaughters.
Ok, now I'm not going to lie to you. This is actually an old picture of me and my grandparents. We took new ones but this is my favorite photo of us so it's the one I'm sharing ... call it a perk of being in charge of the blog. :)
Truly, it was such a joy to have them here for a few hours. We talked about family and watched my cousin Maria's incredible winking baby on the ultrasound video a few times... or as many times as it took for Janella to finally stopping begging me to hit play again.
And as we were talking there were those moments when, as a granddaughter, you try not to say the wrong thing... like when Maria needed a recipe from me. She kept referring to the recipe she needed as, "You know, that Better Than -- Cake"... said with a little eyebrow raise.
And I, in order to save her said, "Oh, the Better Than Anything Cake?" To which Janella said, "Isn't that called Better Than Sex Cake?"
(We've never claimed Janella was a quick one about things.)
So I said, "Yes, it's called Better Than Sex Cake. I think Maria was just trying to avoid saying sex in front of her grandparents." Grandma chuckled a little at that one.
Poor Maria. But since she was sitting there seven months pregnant and all, I'm pretty sure the cat was out of the bag already anyway. :)
Mostly I just loved getting to hug my grandma a few times and hear old stories that Grandpa likes to tell about when he drove cattle on horseback from Wyoming... or when his buddy drove a pink Cadillac off a cliff and there was no damage so they never told the guy's wife about it... or when he talked about where Grandma hid his liquor from him in their old farm house, and how he found it and took nips from it anyway.
I'm pretty sure that story right there explains why, in the house I remember them living in while I was growing up, there was a hidden door in the paneling on the wall. You'd press on the panels and it would open up to reveal a secret wet bar behind it. It was like living in a James Bond movie. My Uncle Donny would always get me vodka from there and it wasn't until I was much older that I realized my biggest vice was really 7-up. Good times.
Let's just say Grandpa has had an interesting and ornery life. And when he told us some stories about a few priests he knew, he pulled out the Irish accent that makes every story just a little more fun. Bless Grandma's heart, she took the whole crazy ride of life with him and has come out of it one of the sweetest and strongest women you'd ever want to know.
I'm also most pleased to report that Riley took a liking to all of them and spent quite a bit of time in this position:
He also went on a long walk outside with Janella and made sure no one was left out of the opportunity to pet him and feel loved. Actually, Grandpa found it funny that when he and I held hands, Riley would get up by us and try to separate our hands with his nose.
Uhmm, jealous much?
By the end of the day Grandpa thought that maybe they should get themselves one of these dogs. That was an idea on which Grandma quickly put the kibosh despite Janella's proclamation of being willing to help care for it. I promised them all they could have visitation rights with Riley as often as they like as long as I get to be part of the visit. :)
And as long as they bring me gifts like these:
Yes, that is homemade applesauce, homemade rhubarb jam, fresh tomatoes and apples. And if any of my other aunts and uncles would like to compete for my affections, I'm just saying they would have to come up with something good... because this was awesome. (Note to Aunt Mary: you can still buy me off with McDonald's french fries.)
Not to be outdone, when my cousin Maria showed up she came with this little bag of goodies:Chocolate chip cookies anyone?
I'm just saying... I was spoiled rotten. And the hugs were by far the best part of the day. And they made my whole year.