Sunday, June 6, 2010

Creating a Few Memories

It’s a lazy Sunday afternoon, and I am just sitting down to write for a few minutes before company comes for dinner - now that I have finally decided what to write about. Sometimes I am at a loss for a topic, other times, like now, there are a few things on my mind. This is good, so perhaps I’ll write earlier next week.

We have done some fun things over the past three weeks or so, so I thought I’d write about them. They are light and I have good pictures to back up the stories. I think pictures add a bit of punch to the blog and certainly bring things to life.

About three weeks ago now, Thierry and I went over to my parents’ house to help Dad plant his garden. My sister Ann and her husband Juan had been there the day before and planted the tomatoes. We went to plant peppers and Thierry hoed the other beds. Juan came again to plant while Ann took Mom to the doctor. We would have planted more, but Dad misplaced a batch of seeds which we have since sourced and hope to plant this coming week. At the same time Thierry will stake the tomato plants.

My father, at 89 years of age with limited sight and walking ability, still likes to have his garden. He does go out almost every day to water and to weed, and even plants seeds. The garden, which is still sizeable, has been active I think since the time my parents moved into the house in 1953. It used to be much bigger, and we’d always complain that the spot was better suited to a swimming pool. Dad didn’t fall for that one. My brother used to help in the garden when he was little (and I am sure bitterly complained). I don’t remember doing much in the garden other than picking vegetables and later selling them to the neighbors. Dad used to grow radishes, onions, herbs, zucchini, eggplant, tomatoes, two types of peppers, several types of lettuce, beets, swiss chard, cucumbers, and two types of string beans. The list is a little shorter today, and so is the volume.

Juan calls this the Taraborelli Community Garden because it has turned into a group project. As much as I would like to see my parents give up their house at this stage, I have to admit that going to help them with their garden has added a new dimension to our family life. Dad stands over all of us and provides explicit instructions; while we all kind of chuckle under our breaths yet work obediently to get the job done – right. We all benefit from the effort when it is time to harvest.

I have come to realize that I should relish this little bit of time that I spend with my Dad, Thierry, Ann and Juan, because one day the garden will be gone, and we’ll have these wonderful memories to look back on.

Thierry and I took Curlew out for Memorial Day weekend. This is the first time I have been on the boat in about 8 months. It was another hot, humid weekend and I really thought there would be no wind, but we were pleasantly surprised. We left the marina on Saturday and headed across the bay to Swan Creek which is near Rock Hall. We were able to sail almost the entire way, from the mouth of the Patapsco River to the entrance of the creek. We ended up sailing 3 out of the 4 days we were on the water.

We met up with our friends Sylvia and Tom, who have a boat at a marina near the anchorage and had dinner in Rock Hall. I realized I hadn’t been to Rock Hall in close to 15 years. The town hasn’t changed too much – although a Walgreens has been added. Still many of the same stores and restaurants remain.

We stayed put on Sunday and friends of ours, Scott and Sue, came along with their boat and rafted with us. We had a really pleasant night and the next day, Scott helped hoist Thierry up the mast to do some repairs to the genoa furler. Here it was Sue’s birthday, and we infringed on her celebration once again by asking them for help. It was May 31st two years ago exactly when Thierry and I were in Washington DC on Curlew and I had to call Scott to come lend me a hand.

The night prior both Thierry and I were taken by ambulance to Georgetown Hospital, he with a tightness in his chest, me with a high fever and diarrhea and extremely low blood pressure. We must have been a sight when we staggered into the marina office to ask for assistance. The next morning, they let me out of the hospital but wanted to keep Thierry in for observation.

The forecast that day was for severe thunderstorms with a threat of tornados. Here we were anchored out in the middle of the Washington Channel anchorage. I was still feeling quite ill and weak, and I have never experienced being on board by myself, let alone in a storm. Not knowing what to do I called sailor friends who suggested I call Scott – a very experienced sailor – who lives in Columbia, not horribly far from DC. When I spoke to him he told me that they didn’t really have plans for the day other than to go to a movie to celebrate Sue’s birthday. They both came down and stayed with me while the winds kicked up. In the meantime, Thierry called and said he had been released. Scott picked up Thierry in the dinghy and we all waited out some strong winds and a thunderstorm. In two years we’ll have to think up another reason to get Scott and Sue to come help us on Sue’s birthday, just to keep the tradition going.

Yesterday, Thierry, Lauren, Mike and I went to a local vineyard for a wine tasting. Our favorite wine expert, Robert who does our family wine tasting each year, organized a luncheon and tour of the vineyards of Penns Woods Winery. The owner is an Italian from Abruzzi (same region as my parents), and he spent a good deal of time talking about his efforts to get the vineyard back to producing good grapes and the threats and challenges he faces. We had a nice lunch, sampled wonderful wines, bought a few as well, and spent a great afternoon with “the kids.”

I had a light chemo week as they decided not to give me the carboplatin in my last treatment. The doctor was out of town, so I will find out this week what the next steps will be after my reaction to the drug the previous Thursday.

So, all in all, with the light chemo, the great wine and wonderful time spent with family and friends, it has been a great few weeks! Tune in for the serious stuff later in the week!

1 comment:

Mary B said...

The following comments was emailed to me by my cousin. I loved the story and thought it should be shared.

"Your most recent blog brought back a lot of memories.

We had a big garden. My brother Tony and I would load our wagon, including a scale and head for South Street (Greensburg). This is not like the South Street you know.
It is behind the hospital, a ten minute walk from our house.

There were widows and women whose husbands were away in the service, including our teachers. If we did not sell out, we would head for Winesap Avenue, a couple of blocks away; go home, reload and head for Greene St. By the end of the day we would have wiped out all my parents could not use. We got to keep the money for camp.
We would also rush to those streets on snowy days. In a day we could make 5.00 each easy.

Two blocks up the street was a synagogue. (I can still see all the Jewish people walking up our hill for services on holy days. They were dressed in their wool suits and ties and sweating up a storm but they had to walk.) The Russian Jew rabbi's English was worse than my father's and had four daughters.(One of them became a renowned child physiologist who frequently appeared on GMA). Yet, they could stand in front of our gate and "talk" and seem to understand each other.

The rabbi got his veggies free. Not only free, we had to wash them first. Once my father told me to go pull beets, clean them, take them to rabbi. Beets are a mess. I, in my youthful wisdom said, "with five women in the house, can't they clean them ?" I was as tall as I am now. My father looked up and said, "Pull the beets. Clean the beets. Take them to rabbi." End of discussion.

We, as well as other kids in the neighborhood, also had to help clean their snow. They lived on a corner; lots of concrete.

Anyway. Glad you were able to get to the boat. I just learned that a curlew is a bird species. Ain't I smart? Any day now they will allow me to play with sharp objects.

Take care. Gotta try to get to your end of the world. Hello to all." RI