Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Friends in Lowe Places

I had a nice morning hanging around W.C.U. and running a few errands while Alma was in daycamp. At noon, I picked her up and we headed back to the house. I expected to find Gah and Mama doing some cleaning and maybe getting the flower beds tidied up, but apparantly something else was up. There was a car in the driveway with a Texas plate. Standing in the door was a large, loud, friendly man introduced to me as Randy. He came to help out when Gah called him because the basement flooded. Mama said it was a couple inches deep. It's a big basement; that's a lot of water. The 29 year old washer had rusted out and sent this deluge when Mama tried to wash a load. I'm so glad Chloe went down there to play and found it before it got even worse. Randy told us to go to Lowe's and buy a new one and he'd help deliver and install.

I was still processing this when Mama said Gah killed a snake at the grape vine. It was black with some pattern and probably harmless; but, since kids play around there Gah killed it.

Heather, the little neighbor girl, came over to play and I helped the kids get some lunch before Gah and I went to Lowe's. She took a receipt for some flowers that died because they had a one year guarantee. The girl at the customer service department did not really know what to think about refunding dead plants. Gah can't hear, so I had to interpret by yelling and explaining. The girl called the manager. He was helpful and credited her with 19 dollars and then helped me to get what I needed for running the weed eater and blower: a little gas can and some stuff to pour in and mix with gas. Then, he walked us over to the appliances and apologized that we were having a tough day with the dead flowers and washer and all that. Linda in appliances was real sweet. Even in this one trip to the store, it was so obvious that some people can deal with old folks better than others. I had to holler Linda's sentences to Gah. Within, five minutes, a decision was made and we filled out the papers for delivery that was free with a rebate. They enter a purchase in the system by the customer's cell phone number which Gah could not remember. Then, at the checkout, she handed me her Mastercard and I taught her to use the little slide in thingy that you sign with a fake pen. This was so overwhelming, I had tears stinging my eyes, but she was a trooper.

On the way out, I asked her about the snake. She said, "I was at the grapes and it was there. Probably just a black snake, but it didn't offer to move, so I kilt it. I beat it's head in with a stick." Allrighty then.

We went to Harold's and got some groceries, then stopped at Randy's campground that he owns to let him know that we won't need help with delivery since Lowe's had a rebate on it. He showed us all around his place. It's real nice with very high end campers with beautiful decks and arbors built around them. In the center of the campground, he has an outdoor kitchen complete with a large flat-screen built in it. There is an old barn he converted to a gym and game room. They are adding a pool this summer. It's top-notch, but not real cozy with it's big concrete pads and brand new trees that don't give shade yet. He talks a lot and is rightly proud of his accomplishments with the campground. I was not surprised at all when he told me that when he lived in Texas, he owned two car dealerships. His knack for bullshit is superb. His wife, Dana, saw Gah visiting with Randy and came over and scooped her in a big hug that lasted a full minute. She is about fifteen years younger than he is and pretty although a little rough from lots of hard work. She has those sexy gapped teeth like the girl on CSI. Then, she hugged me too and went on saying how much she thought of Papa and would miss his funny suspenders. She wanted to hug his neck again. Gah told her how it was in the end for him and how much they both appreciated Randy and Dana's friendship and help in the recent years. It is obvious that Randy and Dana's love for Gah and Papa is very sincere.

After supper, Mama went down to clean up what was under the washer to prepare for the delivery of the new one. Then, she found wads of lint-whole piles of it- behind the dryer and no hose or whatever that is supposed to be there. So, I carted up to Ray's, a neighbor that I have never met, but who has been very nice to Gah in the past and has offered to help anytime. Here's his chance. His yard is a showcase of a garden with all kinds of plants, flowers, arbors, and a goldfish pond. He comes to the door and I see the hairiest chest ever. I hope my face did not do like Cramer at the ugly baby. He had intense eye contact skills that I tried hard to match rather than gawk at his gorilla chest as I told him about the problem. Thankfully, he put on a shirt and came down to see about this dryer lint. He told me just what to get at Lowe's (again!) and how to connect it. I was trying hard to understand as he used words like exhaust, connecters, clamps... oh boy. Then, he visited awhile and told about his new job that he's liking and about goldfish ponds in North Carolina. I didn't know that from November to March, you can't feed goldfish cause they need to hibernate in order to survive the icey water temperatures.

Finally, it was time to clean the kitchen and get the girls to bed. Mama was already asleep on the couch-so tired after sweeping out a basement of water and cleaning a winter's worth of dirt and dust off of the porches and ceiling fans. Gah told me and Randy, Dana, and Ray something special about Papa today. Papa said that he never thought of himself as a lovable person. But, through cancer, he received so many kindnesses from friends that he had changed his mind about that. Someone would have to be loved to get cards, calls, yard work, repairs, and just generally good care. I guess that's one blessing to be found in a slow death rather than a quick one. I'm glad he went to be with Jesus knowing that he was truly loved in this life.


  1. I really like this blog. I read it to Brad and we have laughed (as we are picturing and hearing some of your stories) and wiped some tears thinking of Papa. So glad Gah is able to enjoy the summer up there.
    Keep up the good stories. Brad got a good laugh out of the Kramer look. :-)
    We are for sure coming up for the 4th. Should be leaving here the Tuesday before. See ya soon!

  2. Could you give a girl a break with all the heartfelt writings. I can't stand it...my helperness character wants to come and help out...but Gah has got it covered with you and Ms. Anita...keep sharing...We love it. So sorry about the hairy chest man...You would have made a spectacle of yourself if I had been there, cause you would have not been able to keep it in.

  3. I'm laughing and crying. Some crying due to laughing so hard. You are such a great writer. I'm loving this........