Friday, 31 July 2009

Art and Norma's House

[Sorry for the delay -- we just got back from 3 days in Manchester, which I'll tell you about later. For now, on with the US trip!]

If I thought our time in Michigan was full of busy, what we packed into our stay in Minneapolis is almost like the history of the world in the snap of your fingers. I'm sure that's down to Norma; I don't think she ever sat for more than 3 minutes.

The first thing they did was show us around the house. Now, if I was at all surprised to find that my Irish Catholic roots were no longer Catholic, Grandpa's family religion (diluted a bit in our family by Grandma being Lutheran and then sort of Christian Scientist) was alive and thriving at Norma's. Any cathedral should be blessed with half as many religious pictures, statues or rosaries as may be found there. She pointed these out, saying that people kept giving them to her and she felt obligated to display them in case they came over and looked.

One in particular she was pleased to have, and I could understand why. It was needlework, as beautiful and fine as any I saw in the Victoria and Albert museum in London.

We were shown our bedroom in the basement, or rather the ground floor of the property at the rear. The land sloped down from road level to the creek level which put the deck on the same floor as the front door. In fact, there was also another bedroom, our own bath, a living area and a 2nd kitchen downstairs, all waiting for one or more of their 6 children and I've not yet mastered how many further twigs on the family tree to come visit.

Once situated, the next order of the day was food; at least that's the next thing I remember happening. We had sort of put our cameras away at this stage and so this second part of the holiday isn't quite as well documented as the first. We ate out on the screened portion of the deck, which we came to think of as Art's room.

Norma served BBQ ribs from a place called Rudolphs and homemade mashed potatoes. She and Art kept urging us to take more ribs; they didn't want any leftovers. I actually had 3 servings of ribs plus my share of the potatoes. I also took some rhubarb pie which in the end, I simply could not finish. At this point I was considering whether I should have taken up the practice of bulemia in preparation for this holiday.

They both had lots to tell us about: their family, friends and their trip to England some years ago. It was clear that they liked people and it was impossible not to feel very much at home with them.

I was listening hard but didn't really hear a strong regional accent in their voices. I finally realised it was more Art's mannerisms and sayings than any accent that reminded me so much of my Grandpa. It sounds daft to describe someone as having the air and the body language of someone with vast stores of patience, even if they use words and expressions to convey annoyance about things, but that is how Grandpa was and what I felt I saw in Art. Perhaps it's just a long-winded way of saying someone can have opinions and not lose their good nature.

It was lovely that they had such a nice house for us to stay in, but before long I realised I would have happily lived in a tent in the back yard, if necessary, in order to spend time in their company.

1 comment:

Dealz said...

Great blog. Just stopping by from my blog. :)