Mrs. Wilson is amazing. I used to try to "help" her with things. She had this gigantic, heavy cauldron that she used to bring out to her front landscaping every spring. I, of course, didn't want someone in her late 70s trying to lug that around all by herself, so I offered my assistance. As we began to move it, I realized that it was WAY too heavy for me, even with full effort involved. So Mrs. Wilson lugged it to the front of the house by herself, and I learned not to underestimate a small woman with large muscles.
She has told me so many stories. She once killed a groundhog with a shovel and her bare hands. She got kicked by a cow years ago and it broke her ankle--that's why she's always walked with that little limp. She is the youngest of 10 children. Her sister was her teacher in a one room schoolhouse in Hublersburg. Mrs.Wilson told me that if she and her classmates were well-behaved all week, her sister would give each of them one piece of candy on Friday. She said her sister always treated her like just another pupil while they were in school. Mrs. Wilson always won the family corn-eating contests. I'm almost positive that she said she ate 20 ears in one sitting.
Wyatt, you always loved going next door to see Mrs. Wilson. She had a butter churner that cranked, wind chimes in the sunroom, a cow flashlight, and (your favorite) a red, white, and blue bouncy ball that to you was more special than any other ball on the planet. When you were a toddler, you two spent lots of time bouncing that ball to each other. You knew right where she kept it--on a small table in her dining area--and you would disappear inside the house and return with it almost every visit. I think she loved having someone enjoying her house and company in that "full contact" way you do so well.
This spring, Mrs. Wilson was moved to an assisted living home in Dillsburg, PA. She was getting forgetful and needed a little extra help to stay healthy. We've visited her several times. Her room is filled with cows and pictures of relatives, us, and the farm. It's about a two hour drive, and with Lily being little and angry about her carseat and Wyatt getting a cold, we hadn't seen Mrs. Wilson since August. So on Saturday while Daddy hunted, the three of us drove over to Dillsburg.
When we got there, we saw a jazz band setting up in the front lawn. There were food concessions and a huge bouncy house as well. We had inadvertently stumbled upon the facility's annual Harvest Festival! After visiting with Mrs. Wilson in her room for a bit and eating lunch with her in the dining room (Wyatt, you had Oreo pudding that you loved!), we all headed outside to the festival. The first activity was a hayride. It was so great to sit on that wagon with you two kids and Mrs. Wilson. I'm sure that's the first hayride she's been on in a looooong time! She said it was a "straw ride." I'm sure she knows the difference, being an official farmer. I just knew that it was a gorgeous, warm, and sunny day and I was filled with joy.
After the hayride, Wyatt played pin the nose on the scarecrow. Then we sat down and listened to some old jazz standards while enjoying a funnel cake. Mrs. Wilson tried the funnel cake, but was not impressed, so Wyatt and I housed it. Sorry, Lily. None of that for you, yet! Wyatt got his face painted (he chose a football) and he and Mrs. Wilson pulled suckers off of the lollipop tree. They both won prizes out of the green bin, and Wyatt made sure to choose the red four-wheeler toy. It was identical to Mrs. Wilson's prize. She's going to keep her four-wheeler in her room so Wyatt can play with it during our next visit.
I'm kicking myself because I didn't bring my camera. Here are a few pictures of Mrs. Wilson and us through the years, though:
|This was at her 80th birthday party. Wyatt, you were so little! Daddy had just broken his collarbone in a dirt bike accident.|
|Mrs. Wilson's front yard at her party. We put 80 cows in it!|
|Wyatt, we took annual pictures of you and Mrs. Wilson at Halloween. You are 1 in this photo.|
|Two years old, with Bella|
|Three years old|
|Four years old|
This was the first year that she wasn't in the neighborhood for Halloween. I was sad.
|Lily meeting Mrs. Wilson in August. During that visit, Lily, you just wanted to be with me. At our visit on Saturday, you were much happier. You smiled and babbled at Mrs. Wilson and made her day.|
|Full contact visiting! We love you, Mrs. Wilson! xxx ooo|