This has been a very strange week for me. I worked from home on Monday because we had to go to Baltimore for my grandmother's viewing that evening. We met my parents at the home of their longtime friends, the Henschens', then went for an early dinner to The Bowman. The food was decent, and the experience was definitely "Bal'imer," complete with the hostess calling folks "Hon" as she seated them. Tom had the sour beef and dumplings (known elsewhere as sauerbraten) and I had the grouper Italiano. I think the best dish was Mom's Roughy St. Michael. It was good to see Mr. Bob and his wife Sue again, and to hear Dad and Mr. Bob's stories of when they were in the Navy together (back in the '50s). Then it was off to the viewing.
I was pretty nervous about the whole viewing and funeral thing. I don't handle grief well and I tend to absorb everyone else's grief as if it were my own. But I must say I did rather well. My grandmother had a lot of friends and even the children of her friends came out, as well as relatives. Even my mother's childhood Sunday school teacher stopped by, with members of the Order of the Eastern Star, who did a nice service.
The funeral was Tuesday afternoon, and most of the people who came to the viewing attended the funeral. Grandma had always requested that Pastor Yost, her favorite pastor, officiate at her funeral and he did. He told stories of her working the church suppers and how she liked to tease him. It occurred to me, then, that I really didn't know my grandmother well at all. My grandfather died in mid-'60s and she was always very sad after that, especially at holidays, which is when we saw her. So my most prominent memories are of a very sad grandmother, not a fun-loving grandmother. It was so good for me to hear stories of Grandma from people who knew her better than me. I wish I had taken the time to go beyond what I saw and get to know my grandmother better.
It was sad, too, knowing that the next time I see most of these people again will be at their own funeral, as everyone is getting up there in years.
There wasn't a gathering after the funeral, but Mom's friend Miss Beanie suggested that we go out to lunch at the Olive Garden (which in my opinion, isn't that good). Unfortunately, the Olive Garden doesn't have crabcakes, which I was craving. Donna (Miss Beanie's sister) suggested Pappas. We all ordered the crab cake platter and I think it was the best crab cake I've ever had. It was full of backfin, and very little filler. It was lightly seasoned so the crab wasn't overwhelmed. So, if you find yourself in Bal'imer and craving a crab cake, head over to Pappas. You won't be disappointed!
So what was strange about the week? It was the meeting of two cultures, I guess, that of mourning, and that of normalcy. I felt that my perspective shifted during the viewing and funeral. It didn't shift a lot, but enough to throw me off for the remainder of the week. I think I'm back now, but still have that lagging behind feeling.
Emma has fully integrated into our household and now has run of the entire house. She has discovered the bed and the large, warm cat toys (us) that inhabit it every night. Needless to say, we haven't gotten very good sleep. When she isn't pouncing on us, she's trying to sleep between the pillows, which greatly bothers Tom. So I'm sleeping very lightly in an attempt to keep her away from Tom. It's not working very well. And there are times when I have to banish her from the bedroom because she gets too riled up.
Tom broached the subject of getting another cat last night, to be a companion for Emma. He thinks she's lonely. I'm not so sure about that. How does one tell if a cat is craving companionship?
There's not much to report here. I made some progress on the Spirit Trail sock on the drives back and forth to Baltimore and have only a short length to go before I start the toe decreases. I have not touched either of the girls' sweaters and can officially declare myself screwed for completing these by Christmas. I might be able to finish them if I knit 12 hours a day for each day remaining in December. Henceforth, I will knit only on the sweaters and one other Christmas present. I will knit on one sweater every morning, the other Christmas present at lunch, and the other sweater every evening. And if I'm really, really lucky, I might complete one sleeve for each sweater by Christmas morning.