That might sound like an interesting combination of things to occur on a Sunday afternoon, but boy did it turn out to be a perfectly balanced combo and way to spend my day.
Yesterday Laurie and I went to visit our neighbors, Pearl and Walter, who live 2 houses down on the corner. We met them when we first moved in and since then have visited on several occasions...learning about their lives, hearing plenty of jokes, and even spending time praying with them (it turns out that Walter is a retired Pastor and is quite the prayer warrior). Almost every time we go over there we talk about how we need to play Dominoes as it is a favorite game at their house. We just haven't had the chance to make the schedules jive to sit down and play a few games.
Well during our visit yesterday, I mentioned that I was going to be making a strawberry pie and asked if they would be around if I brought some by Sunday afternoon. Of course their social and business calendar always seems to be quite full, but they said they'd be back from a Church Board meeting by around 3:30. So as we were leaving, we confirmed our 3:30 pie date with Pearl and Walter and I was extremely excited!
I don't know how old Pearl and Walter are, but I would say that they are in their late 80s maybe? Either way, they've lived a while, which always accounts for great stories and times. Pearl is this little lady (shorter than me, even!) who is just a spitfire! She gets up on ladders to clear her windows, works in her garden, and goes to get her hair done (and by done, I mean curled) weekly. Walter is not quite as spry on his feet, but he sure does has a sharp brain. He is constantly thinking of jokes and stories he's heard, and always joking around. He is also ALWAYS asking us about our boyfriends...which we have to always remind him, are non-existent :) In either case, they are just a hoot and are so entertaining to be around.
We showed up this afternoon, pie in hand, and we were welcomed by Pearl who had a bright red turtleneck sweater and earrings that were almost bigger than her entire ear lobe. Precious. We walked in further and there was Walter, laying on the couch totally knocked out with his feet elevated as to help with his heart. I was worried we would wake him and Pearl screams, "Walter...get up...the girls are here..." I thought maybe we should let him sleep but she said, "Oh no...he's had his 20 minutes...he can get up..." Boy, she's a stickler :)
I set the pie down and they suggested that we get out the dominoes. So, we all walk towards the dinning room table and gather around the table covered in a beautiful green table cloth, topped with another lacy cloth, and then completed by a clear plastic covering as to make for easy clean up! We got the dominoes out and we were ready to go. We got through one game and enjoyed chatting and snickering back and forth about the game...who was winning...who needed to win a round, etc. Some of our domino banter included things like...
"Oh she is sneaky isn't she...."
"She would do that, wouldn't she...."
"Hey now Walter, it's my turn...no cheating...."
"She's a sharp one...those teachers, you've got to watch out for them...."
After a very close game, Walter won the first game, but it was close. At that time we decided to go ahead and serve up the pie. I asked if I could borrow some plates because I hadn't brought any and Pearl's little ears totally perked up and said, "Oh of course...I will bring out the special china...we don't use this often, but for special occasions..." So out came the beautifully crafted white plates trimmed with gold. It reminded me much of the beautiful china that I would see on special occasions at my own Grandma's house. Not only did we get the special china, but she pulled out a gorgeous tea set for us too! So we sipped tea and ate strawberry pie while hearing more about their lives, hearing more stories, and laughing quite a bit!
One of my favorite stories was when Pearl was in the kitchen and Walter was telling us about an unfortunate event that happened to him at a young age. Apparently one time he was outside in his "night gown" (their words...not mine!) and chasing around some chickens...no a rooster. Walter said, "I was out in my night gown, all naked underneath, and all the sudden the rooster started pecking at my.....buttocks...." At this point he gets this big grin on his face and starts cracking up. I had to cover my mouth so my food wouldn't fall out, and Laurie just about spit the tea from her mouth.
We played one more game of dominoes, although at that time I felt like the "elderly" of the group because I was so tired. How can these two have so much energy, and be a good 60 years older than me?! I had a piece of pie, and a cup of warm tea in my stomach and the temperature was set to about 70...just warm enough to put me into a Sunday afternoon snooze. But, I stuck it out and made it through the second game, losing once again. This time, Pearl won!
Walter gave us a gift that he thought our boyfriends would enjoy...and we had to gently remind him that no, we do not have boyfriends right now...but we took it anyway. He was so excited to give us 4 copies of the Salvation Army magazine from his church that featured the Johnny Cash story. He loved talking about the story and reassured us that it would be a great article to read.
Not only did they bless me with their company, and thoughtful magazine gift, but through prayer too! Both times I was at their house this weekend, Walter prayed with/for us and it was just an amazing blessing. He prayed for protection for us...for blessings upon us...and a prayer for thanksgiving for the fellowship we've been able to share together. THIS is what I call real community, and because of it I am completely blessed. Wow.
So I could have spent my afternoon getting ready for work, or going to the gym...but I think that dominoes, pie, tea, and Pearl and Walter was the best combination ever!