I'm sorry that it has been so long since I've been in contact. Our lives have certainly been in a whirlwind! I no longer know what day of the week it is.
Tom came home February 14th after spending 11 days in Florida with his father while his mother was in the hospital. Tom's brother arrived in Jacksonville the same day. On the 15th, we picked up a rental van for the Nashville Tradeshow, and we headed south on the 16th. We had beautiful weather in Nashville. By arriving early we had time for a few special activities including a trip to nearby Columbia, Tennessee to see a sampler exhibit at the James K. Polk House. James Polk was the 11th president of the US, and we knew little about him before our visit there. Jennifer Core and Janet Hasson did a beautiful job of exhibiting Middle Tennessee Samplers. Jennifer and Janet maintain a blog here and a website on Tennessee samplers here.
Thursday night we were invited to dinner by my dear friend Giulia Manfredini (of Giulia Punti Antichi) and her husband, Mario Cornali. Giulia is a "fireball" of energy, and we always enjoy being with her. Giulia is a full-time doctor in Italy and also designs needlework. I'm not sure where she gets all her energy! I wish I could bottle it.
The next morning, after setting up my display, I went to an antiques show with my friend, Louise Henderson of Cherished Stitches. Within a few booths, Louise and I decided that we had done enough damage by each buying some books and antique samplers, so we headed back to the hotel.
The tradeshow opened Saturday morning, and it was so nice to see so many old friends! With Tom's mother in the hospital, I didn't feel like socializing as much as in the past, but we did enjoy a nice Italian dinner with Louise and with Pam and Susan of Praiseworthy Stitches. We couldn't talk Pam and Susan into wearing their mermaid outfits that they wore at Friday's Meet and Greet, but I'll show you photos in a few days. These two ladies are a riot!!
Very sadly, Tom's mother died while we were in Nashville. We were able to pack up in record-time (thanks, Bob, for your help) and pulled into our driveway at around 1:30am Monday morning. After a few hours sleep, Tom unloaded the rental van (the boxes are still in our family room) while I did laundry and gathered my teaching supplies for my class in Sarasota beginning February 28th, and we were on our way to the airport by 4:30pm!
We arrived in Jacksonville at 12:30am Tuesday morning. Tom's bother's wife arrived later that day, and our daughter, Carolyn, arrived at around midnight Tuesday night. On Tuesday evening there was a visitation at the funeral home, then a private interment Wednesday morning and a church memorial service that afternoon. The memorial service was truly a celebration of Tom's mother's life.
By Thursday, everyone was on their way home, expect for Tom and me. We stayed with Tom's father until Sunday when we drove to Sarasota for my class.
After my class, we drove to Orlando where we met our son Stephen, his wife Michelle, and their son Garret, to introduce little Garrett to my father, Garrett's great-grandfather. Then all of us drove to Jacksonville to introduce Garrett to Tom's father, Garrett's other great-grandfather. This part of the trip had been planned for months, and we decided to keep these plans in place and spend some quality time with Tom's dad after all that has happened.
In the next few days, I plan to share lots of photos from the Nashville tradeshow, my class in Sarasota, and time spent with our little Garrett as he met his two great-grandfathers. I think Garrett brought some sunshine into the lives of his great-grandfathers. I know it has into ours.