Friday, July 19, 2013

July 18, 2013

Revisiting Old Memories
and Making New Ones
Thursday,  July 18, 2013

Over twenty-five years ago when we opened our home to a foreign exchange student from Denmark, we had no idea how much we would enjoy his stay with us.  He was a junior in the high school where our second son, Jeff, was also a junior.  This young man, Henning, loved history, as did my husband.  Together we explored the history of our local community.  We spent hot, humid afternoons walking around the old downtown area looking at the historical markers on buildings and going through the Brownsville Historical Museum.  That is just what we did during the afternoon today.  At least today was not as hot as some of those afternoons had been many years ago, but it was still warm and humid. 

First, I should back up to the morning.  I had an appointment with the orthopedic surgeon, Dr. Olson.  Our daughter-in-law Barbara, prepared a great breakfast for Henning and his family, so Ron and I headed to Dr. Olson's while Henning's family headed to Jeff and Barb's home.  I think they had more fun than I did!  Ron will be delighted to tell you that I have a loose screw. The range of motion in my arm is not near what it should be and Dr. Olson is not completely sure why I am having that problem.  He ordered x-rays and after studying them, he says there has been a shift in the arm and that there is a screw working its way out.  He would rather not have to go back in and take it out.  I agree, but I also told him I have much to do in the years ahead and I want to be able to do those things without limitations.
Dr. Olson's office and the physical therapy office.
To start working on the arm, I will begin physical therapy next Tuesday morning, three times a week for three weeks.  Then in about a month, I will see him again for more x-rays to see what has changed by then.  He put no restrictions on the use of the arm, and he said I could drive, but if I pick up anything over a few ounces, I do have a fair amount of discomfort.  So I will not be using both arms to pick up my youngest grand daughter as I wanted to a couple of times yesterday. 

We left his office and Ron brought me home to get my car so I could join everyone at Jeff and Barb's house and he could go to the office.  I arrived at Jeff's to find a soccer lesson in full swing.  Henning's son is a very good soccer player and he was eagerly giving Jeff's kids a real workout!  They were running from one end of the yard to the other and it had evolved to mainly a one-on one between Jeff's oldest son and Henning's son.  The grass was damp and slippery, so there were numerous falls, but so much laughter!
Inside the house, my mom and the two families were gathered around the dining table enjoying chatting with one another.  Henning's two oldest children have taken English classes in school and with a little effort can communicate with all of us.  His youngest child has had no English lessons, and can't tell us what she wants verbally.  But she and Jeff's girls have no problems enjoying each other's company.  His younger daughter was delighted to find an entire dresser filled with dress-up clothes but chose one outfit for her morning's playtime.
Everyone relaxed and visited.  The kids were all happy "just being kids".  Cameras captured lots of smiles and memories.  The rest of the morning was spent with the adults and off and on, a few kids, gathered around the table while most of the kids stayed outside a good bit of the time, being driven in occasionally  by passing rain showers. 
Henning's oldest spent hours following Jeff's youngest around the yard as they explored the many places to play.  Getting everyone gathered for photos proved impossible, but we had fun trying.
We left around noon and went by Hanna High School where Henning was a student for a year in the late 1980s.  We were able to get in the building and by leaving our driver's licenses with a school secretary, we were able for Henning to take his family on a walk through some of his memories.
From there we headed home to leave my car and combine into his rental van and go for a quick lunch at What-A-Burger.  Then we went to our shop, before going downtown to see some of the sites.  We were able to park a block from the bridge into Mexico and then walked to the border wall that runs through that area and talk about the challenges of living on the border.  We took a walk to the Stillman House, and the old Market Square, passing other buildings with historical markers, and stopping along the way to read them.  We drove by the zoo and around Ringgold Park before heading home.
Once back at the house, we got ready for supper and met my mom and a small part of Jeff's family (6 of the kids were at Vacation Bible School at our church) at Antonio's for a yummy Mexican food supper.  There was a lot of sharing of meals so that everyone could taste a wide variety of the good food.  From there, we returned to our house and had dessert and lots more conversation.  Jeff picked up the rest of the kids from VBS and returned for the kids to get in some more playing.
There came a point where it was made clear to us that at least some of the kids were ready to get some rest.  Jeff's family headed home and the children still at our house were tucked in for the night.  Ron and I enjoyed a very late night visit with Henning and his wife.  There were just too many years to cover in our visit.  Henning was wishing he could have come back sooner, but Ron told him that I was able to hear more in this visit than I could have heard even two, three, or five years ago and we talked about how sometimes, things have to get worse before they can get better. 

That hearing test that was done on me the first day after the activation of the Cochlear Implant, where I had scored 100% was not the first time I had taken a test like that.  Five years ago, on a similar test, I scored a 75% (in my good ear).  At that level, I was not a candidate for the implant.  I had to suffer the Sudden Hearing Loss this past January, before I could be a candidate for the Cochlear Implant.  Without that loss, I would probably be hearing at around 60% now.  Instead I am hearing much better. 

Remember that those tests are in a sound proof booth with someone clearly speaking directly to me and I promise you that when we were all talking at once in the living room last night, it did not compare to the sound proof booth!  As the talking got louder and the laughter of the kids increased, so did the volume of the music in my head and I finally had to leave the room for a few minutes to relax a little.  Rachel and I took a break in my sewing room where she curled up in my recliner with some blankets and did some relaxing of her own.  The sounds can be overwhelming.  But as Ron, Henning, Charlotte, and I talked till the wee hours of the morning, I got almost all that was being said and rejoiced in our time of sharing our lives.  They came to see God's plan in my life in how God is answering "Rachel's Prayer" and we could see how God had been working in their lives as their family had gone through assorted events over the years. 

It may be almost as hard to say good-bye this time as it was the last time Henning left, but I am so thankful I could hear what was being said!


  1. Love the picture of Sarah. Is that what you call a "hiney quilt"?

    1. Ha, ha! She was so tired, but didn't want to miss anything.