Saturday, April 6, 2013

Jeanie and Charles

Vivian, my wonderful mother was, among many things, an avid Scrabble player.   When she developed rheumatoid arthritis, at 49 years old, she saw it as a life-changing obstacle she had to overcome-- which she did in great style.  She went back to college and got her degree, helped form and chaired the Arthritis Club in Santa Barbara, became an expert gardner, took a 3 week tour of Europe, and joined the Scrabble club in between 21 joint replacements over the span of 30 years.
She attacked Scrabble like she did everything else in her life--with great enthusiasm.  And all was fine except she would not play Scrabble with me.  She claimed I could read her mind and I always knew just exactly where she was planning to play next.

But she had a favorite opponent--an exceptionally good friend named Jeanie, that she truly loved--either for playing Scrabble with--or for talking about ex-husbands. When mother died and I moved away from Monterey, I lost track of Jeanie and I was determined to find her again before leaving California.

The Internet is wonderful and has opened many doors for me--not least of which is the one to Jeanie's new home in Templeton just outside of Paso Robles. The first photo above is on the road to Jeanie's house.  I happened along at a time when she had a houseful of family, but the moment I appeared she threw her arms around me and welcomed me in...
The above photo is of her granddaughter, Ellen, on the left, bashful Jeanie in the middle and her daughter, Molly, on the right.

Jeanie is famous for her cooking--beautiful meals cheerfully done, at record speed, for any number of drop-ins.  This was breakfast the first morning. We spent the rest of the day reminiscing about my mother, and playing Scrabble in between Jeanie stirring up another dish or two.  She was especially eager to tell me all about Charles, her new husband, acquired since I had last seen her. Mother would have been very approving of Charles I thought.
And then disaster struck!  As I moved the RV further up their driveway to prepare for the night I discovered a huge puddle--of something--under the RV. Wonderful!  Charles immediately came to the rescue, helping me find a mechanic in town, then escorting me there to make sure the guy did not hoodwink me in any way. It seems the pipe was cracked that leads from my gray and black water holding tanks and would have to be replaced.  I suspect the crack may have occurred when we had the freeze in Tucson and road travel just opened it up more.
Anyway, when the rather grumpy repairman handed me the bill for $300 I whimpered a little about it exceeding my budget--hoping of course for some sympathy--and immediately got a huge growl in return...
''Lady, you should crawl under that monster with only inches between your face and a pipe full of s...t, spend an hour or two and then tell me that $300 isn't the bargain of a lifetime!''
Hmm, I think he has a point there. Charles agreed.

The next morning I said my goodbyes to two of the loveliest and most patient people on this planet--please note the halos over their heads.
And mother, I really couldn't read your mind, but I would gladly let you win if we could play just one more game together.

1 comment:

  1. Wonderful story! And proving once again that our lives are really all about perspective ....