Here’s how Veterans Day this year turned out. An old man died. And he was a friend of my father’s. So I attended his memorial at a church in Newport. He was a World War II veteran. The service started on 11-11 right at 11 a.m. It was the most right place I’ve ever been on Veteran’s Day.
When I returned home, the grandchildren were outside. They are 4, 7, and 8. They had overnighted with us as their mother was having an hours-long chemo infusion in Sandpoint for her lupus. I asked if they would like to walk the neighbor’s dog, Missy, who is home alone a lot. Missy throws herself at the door — she is that excited to go out. The children do not have a pet so this is an adventure for them. We headed down the gravel road and brought Missy back to our house. They played with her while I raked leaves.
A bit later a teen girl showed up. I am her mentor through a state program she participates in. I asked her questions about how she’s doing. She’s a loner, but she mostly lets me in.
She sat at the kitchen table and helped the grands work their first 300-piece puzzle. They never would have made it without her. They were plenty proud of their colorful popsicles when they were done. It made them hungry, they said.
My husband got back from his physical therapy in Newport in time to turn on the Seahawks game. I had offered another sleepover for the grands. Their mom felt pretty sick from her infusion. They learned a few things about football that game. I think everybody who watched it go to overtime did.
Of course, being kids, they decided they needed to eat right in the middle of the game. So I served up some homemade chicken noodle soup as quick as I could. Nothing I made. Our housemates on the other side of the wall cooked that up and brought it over. Because they knew we had the children and might need an extra meal.
At bed the grands were unanimous. Walking Missy had been the best part of their day.
I’ve forgotten something. When I returned from the memorial service for which I dressed up, the 4-year-old said in her matter of fact way, “Grandma, you look beautiful.”
At the close of the day — when I thought it over — it was like that “Where’s Waldo?” picture book. Only I’d call it “Where’s Thankful?” The difference being Waldo can be pretty hard to spot.