A Second Thanksgiving (part 2)

December 3 – (see yesterday’s post for the first half of this story)

151203_TopekaTrip (1)Just about this time, Rindy loudly called, “Time to eat. Lots of good food!” Since Dale and I hadn’t eaten breakfast or lunch, and it was about 2:30 in the afternoon, we really were hungry enough to eat. First in line as the guests, we scooped up some cottage cheese loaf and a huge twice-baked potato as a beginning. Back at the table we sampled all sorts of vegetable bits from the huge tray. Talk about scrumptious! Tiny pickles, olives, ripe or green, grape tomatoes, carrots, celery, with a bowlful of delicious dip in the center of the tray. Darlene’s zippy red lemonade was my first choice as we sat down to eat.

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[ Twice-baked potatoes ]

Then came the dessert! Oh, yummy! As I was checking out the pies, several of them, I was trying to make up my mind which one I would choose. Which ONE? When Darlene told David, who was cutting the pieces, that “Grandma wants a piece of each one!” I thought that was my answer to the question. Have you ever eaten that much pie?! I never had before, but slowly I made my way around the plate, enjoying apple, pumpkin, and Dixie. Rindy had added a huge scoop of ice cream too. By the time I had eaten each piece, I did not want to try again, although Darlene suggested my next “bit” of dessert should be strawberry shortcake!

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[ Rindy and her strawberry shortcake ]

Rindy really enjoys that dish, so she asked if we would take some when we traveled to her home. I had baked about two dozen old-fashioned baking powder biscuits and thawed out several quarts of cheery looking frozen strawberries the night before, all ready to travel to Topeka. So, now it was time to sample the shortcake! Yes, but not for me! I felt like I couldn’t even eat one strawberry!

After we left the table, Dale and I sat back on Rindy’s huge couch, just enjoying the good will and love in that home. With the lights turned off, the glow of the lights on the Christmas tree was really special. As Rindy looked around, her eyes fell on the gas-powered fireplace. However, there was a problem in turning on the gas. She said that the man who checked the fireplace told her that it had a smoke problem and might blow up, so she should leave it alone. “But,” she said, “I just want to see those flames and enjoy being warm, and stuff.”

After she had explained to Dale just how it was to be lighted, he went over to the fireplace, picked up the turn-on-the-gas and told her, “Now when I turn on the gas, you use your lighter to set it on fire!” Poor Rindy was so sure that the whole room would blow up that she continued to question Dale. Finally, with a hope that all would be well, she said “OK, Grandpa. Turn it on!” He did, and she turned on the lighter… Amazingly, the whole room was full of light, as the fireplace flames began to warm up the room. Poor Rindy! She was so excited and grateful and happy that she danced around the room in the light of the fireplace. “Thank you, thank you!” she exclaimed over and over. “I have always, ever since I’ve been here, wanted to see a fire in the fireplace!”

Before we left for home, Rindy wanted us to see where she works. The large community is made up of different kinds of apartments and houses, occupied by residents with various health problems. When Rindy graduated from Andrews University last year, she had earned her doctorate in physical therapy. Now she is working with patients of varying degrees of inability to take care of themselves. She showed us through the very large room where many kinds of machines are ready to be used for therapy. As we checked out the equipment, I was more than surprised that some of the machines had even been invented.

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[ At the rehab center ]

When Rindy announced, “Grandma, come over and see what you can do with this puzzle that checks your balance,” she led me to a special machine. All sorts of possibilities came up from trying to keep a small black circle inside a larger red circle, without using my arms. Later, I graduated to a space flight! Rindy put around me a harness of heavy material with straps closed tight. As I stood on a designated X on the floor, Rindy told me to walk forward. After taking a few steps, I was sent racing across the floor to the other wall. Rindy told me that if I had been afraid of falling, I would have slipped back towards her, hoping she would catch me before I fell!

I was very much impressed with all of the equipment in the room, each one with a special use to help the disabled gain back what they had lost somewhere along the way. I was even more impressed, however, to know that Rindy, our 26-year-old granddaughter, knows so much about those who can’t do for themselves what they used to do when they were younger. She treats all of them as if they were her own family, and is so happy when gains are made in their abilities.

After that, we returned to the Kansas City area before it was too late. After a safe trip, he dropped Darlene off at their home in Shawnee, KS before heading back to Missouri to deliver us home. Near his home, he drove around several areas to show us where he takes his nightly 2-3 mile walks. Rain or shine, cold, or hot, off he goes with his phone to take time to phone us or to listen to some of his favorite podcasts.


[ Rummikub ]

An hour later, he pulled into our driveway and we were all glad that he had covered so many miles that day (more than 300). Inside he offered to fix a problem we were having with our computer. Then after a quick game of one of our favorites, Rummikub, (which he won), he was back on the highway for the last part of his trip.

As I mentioned before, our family and friends are a real blessing to us both, and we praise the Lord for each one! – CHRIS

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