Lost: 10 Days. If Found, Please Return.

Don't call out the gendarmes just yet.  I haven't fallen off the face of the earth.  It may just seem that way since I've been silent for several days.

It all started Monday, two weeks ago today, when we got the news that a cousin in Nashville had died.  Wendell was technically a cousin-in-law, if there is such a thing; but as Betty Jean's husband of over three decades, he was "family."  He'd battled esophageal cancer for many months, and as Brother J (who'd gotten very close to Wendell during his illness) said "it was time for him to go home."  Visitation was scheduled for Wednesday, with the funeral service on Thursday. 

The calls and emails began to fly.  Mr. T said he could get home early from his MD/DC/DE trip, and BFF AW said she'd be on hand to provide interim coverage at home (since N/M/E couldn't make that long drive) that would allow me to get on the road to Middle Tennessee by noon on Wednesday.  I booked a room for two nights with Brother J, as did Missy M and Brother T, who (along with Ella Rae) would drive down I-65 together from KY.  And, even though I didn't exactly leave HPNC on time, I made it to visitation, with about 4 1/2 minutes to spare.  And, no...no speeding tickets were issued to me in either NC or TN.

It's sad that it takes a funeral to get us together, but at times like these, we need to be with those we love, don't we?

Speaking of being with those we love...I took this photo of the three black dogs:  Ella Rae, Ellie Mae, and Buster, standing at the deck door at J&J's house.  That first night was tough on both the E's, as they each barked at the slightest noise in the house.  Kind of like dueling barkers.  One would bark upstairs (Ella Rae), then the other (Ellie Mae) would have to answer from downstairs. Made a good night's sleep an elusive dream to us humans. 

Oh well, that's what strong coffee is for, right?

After a pot of some potent Maxwell House, Brother T treated Missy M and me to a scrumptious breakfast at the Lovelace Cafe, heartily recommended by Bro J and SIL J.  I chowed down on a huge slice of their country ham...their claim to fame, along with their biscuits, which are hot and light, and great with butter...even though I am not a fan of their preserves and jams: not sweet enough for me.  Still, we enjoyed the food and the conversation before heading back to the house to get ready for the funeral.

I do not exaggerate when I say it was one of the hottest days of the year.  And humid.  Rained while we were inside for the service; then the clouds cleared away to allow the blazing sun to beat down on the puddles of water to create more hot and humid conditions.  In fact, so hot and humid that the funeral home staff had set out a cooler with ice and bottles of chilled water at the graveside.  Much appreciated by all.

Very little sleep.  Hot.  Humid.  And, did I say that in my haste to pack for the trip, I left my "vertigo-prevention" essentials (a cortisone-based nasal spray and the medication that helps keep a balance in fluids) at home?  As Mr. T said, "the perfect storm."

I was pretty wimpy that evening, but thankfully I did make it home before I got knocked off my feet with a full-blown vertigo episode...and, thank goodness, it has been a mild one, as episodes go.  Still, I've had several days of remaining horizontal (albeit with two pillows under my head...:) with BPPV.  Bit better now, thank you.  Slowly trying to get my life back up to speed, shall we say?  Had 164 emails today when I checked my messages for the first time in over ten days.

And my garden?  Oh dear.  While I was sleeping with vertigo, a terrific thunderstorm blew through with 65 mph winds...taking out the rest of the corn crop and flattening the flowers and tomatoes...stakes, cages, and all.  As I said to a friend, what's next?  Locusts?

We did do a little work this weekend when it was cooler (relatively speaking) and I was steadier, but I have much more ahead of me to repair the damage (Part 2)...and to get the rows ready for a Fall planting of greens.  Still, lest you think it's all bad news from the Way Back, I wanted to share these photos of some of the harvest.  A big beautiful cantaloupe, some slices of juicy tomato; a basket of peppers, corn, and squash...with a mess of purple hull peas; and a cold, sweet Jubilee watermelon...which you've seen grow from a tiny tadpole.  Yum!

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