Late on the afternoon of Sunday, April 9, the whirlwind started.
My childhood pal, Joe Vanderford, arrived from Chapel Hill, North Carolina.
For the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at the University of Richmond, Joe and I would be presenting a two part class on The Beatles.
On Monday evening, the first part of the class was a screening of the Beatles’ film, Let It Be.
Part two of the class is focused on the Beatles’ album Abbey Road.
Joe and I started our final preparations after dinner on Sunday evening. We picked up again on Monday, and made a few last minute tweaks early on Tuesday morning to our scripts.
Our class started at 10, and by 12 noon we had completed our presentation. On the drive back to our house, we critiqued our work.
At the house, Joe prepped his belongings for an afternoon of flying. He was traveling to Toronto for a NBA game where he would be one of the camera operators.
We drove to the Richmond airport without a hitch, and later that evening Joe texted to confirm his safe arrival in Toronto.
I spent Tuesday evening in a whirlwind of packing. The Commander Supreme and I were driving to Summerfield, North Carolina on Wednesday.
We would be providing childcare for two of our grandchildren, while our oldest daughter and her husband took a trip to Napa Valley, California. This was an early birthday celebration for our daughter who was turning forty as was a dear friend from Chicago. The friend, her husband, and two other couples from Chicago were heading to Napa as a part of this birthday weekend too.
Clearly, I over-packed, but I wanted to be able to do some yard work in Summerfield. The back of the car had a few tools, some deer proof plants for an empty border in their backyard, and lots stuff purchased by the uncontrollable shopper, Nana, who is always looking for ways to spoil her grandchildren.
Since we last made this trip on March 24, the rolling landscape along the four lane highways 360, 58, and 29 had filled in nicely with assorted shades of spring green. That thickening green was now concealing the sight lines into deep forest and side roads that veered in multiple directions
By mid-afternoon, we had arrived safely in Summerfield. We unloaded the car, and started to learn the details of the calendar and the schedule we would be keeping the next four days.
Thursday morning came early for our daughter and her husband. They quietly left the house for the short drive to the Piedmont Triad International Airport.
When I was growing up in Burlington, this airport was named the Friendship Airport. In the kitchen of our house, a radio sat on a formica countertop. It was tuned to a station in Greensboro.
I recall hearing from the airport early morning broadcasts of the daily weather forecast. In the winter time, as a student, I was always hoping for a prediction of snow.
After lunch on Thursday, we drove to the Greensboro Science Center on Lawndale Drive. If you have never been to the Science Center, you must go, it is a jewel.
This was spring break week. The Science Center was packed with children and families. Assorted day cares and private school students were on the grounds too.
I saw lots of children and students wearing a wide range of matching colorful t-shirts. The variety of colors among the t-shirts reminded me of the array of spring floral colors exploding around Greensboro.
After the Science Center, we visited Ollies for ice cream. Ollies was busy too. Their staff was hustling to keep up with the steady flow of customers. I always struggle to make a selection from all of the flavors. Staring into the display cases, more bright colors from all those flavors catch my eye, and I finally settle on key lime pie.
For the next three days, chalk art on the driveway, shooting hoops, puzzles, trampoline jumping, playing with neighborhood kids, quiet time, and making Nana laugh kept us busy.
No matter the role Nana was given to portray in playing with Caroline and Hudson, I could always hear laughter from her. Sometimes, Nana laughed so hard at Caroline and Hudson’s antics and comments that she was on the verge of tears.
The return flights to Greensboro had no hitches.
Monday morning, it was back to school routines for Caroline and Hudson.
We heard how nice the trip to Napa had been, and we delivered a good report about taking care of Caroline and Hudson.
The Commander and I packed up our car, said our goodbyes, and retraced our drive to Richmond.
Taking care of grandchildren is a different kind of whirlwind.
But, neither of us would exchange anything for this opportunity to wear ourselves out burning energy with grandchildren.
And, I would never trade anything for Caroline and Hudson making their Nana laugh.