July 2020 – From Jane

Another month has gone by. They say, “time flies when you are having fun.” It seems to fly, whatever the cause. Every month brings changes, some months not very much or drastic, others quite a lot. We are now in the summer months where warmer weather is prominent.

     Rufus and I are in Pennsylvania right now. We left Monday noon, arrived at his Dad’s place Tuesday afternoon at 2:45. It takes roughly 16 hours of driving. We usually split it up, stop for the night, and a few meals. It can be driven straight through, and lots of people do. We used to, and will if the need arises, but it is tiring, takes time to catch up again afterward. I guess our age is starting to show. We are a taking a week to care for Rufus’ sister Martha, she was born with Spina Bifida. She used to walk with braces until she had a stroke 7 years ago. Her right side is paralyzed, she eats with her left hand. And that is almost all she can do, feed herself. She will look at a picture book occasionally, put some small puzzles together, but mostly she sits, is very hard to communicate with. She used to talk and sing, read, do cross stitch embroidery, all that changed with her stroke. She is easy to care for, has to have a catheter used 4 times a day (that goes with Spina Bifida) so there is a schedule to follow for that. You get her up in the morning, dressed and combed, eat breakfast. Tuesday and Thursday forenoon’s she goes to a handicap workshop. She doesn’t get much done there, but it gives her a change of scenery and her caregiver a break. The other mornings she sits in her recliner. Afternoons she is in her recliner, we get her on her wheelchair for meals and a change of position. She used to know people, would be able to say their names, even if she didn’t see them for years. That is declining, she will have her 43rd birthday in August.

     Rufus’ Mom passed away 2 years ago, she had thyroid cancer, it wasn’t found until it had progressed too far, grew inside instead of outside, wasn’t noticeable, except for a cough she just couldn’t get rid of. Martha’s parents took care of Martha until that point, since then, some of the siblings are taking care of Martha. They take her to their homes, when we come for a turn (a few times a year) we stay with Rufus’ Dad and keep Martha at his house. He likes that, I can cook for him, he has someone to talk with. This time I plan to do some house cleaning, I did the laundry room yesterday. The last time we were here for 2 weeks, I did sewing for myself.

     Rufus is the 2nd one in a family of 7 children. He and a brother live in Iowa, a brother and sister in New York and 2 sisters in Pennsylvania. Martha is the 7th, she is mostly in Pa with a sister, will go to NY for a few weeks at a time, it is too far to take her to Iowa. His Dad has a part time job baling cardboard at a small grocery store. It gives him something to do, without making him work too many hours. He turned 84 in April, still doing well. He loves gardening, his garden has mostly flowers that keep coming up very year. And anything that comes up, he leaves where it is, a crack in the walk, or where ever. Last evening we watched the evening primroses open. I never saw anything like that before. After sundown, they start opening. You can see the bud swelling, after a bit it sort of pops, the leaves on the outside holding it together bend backwards, the yellow bloom unfurls and stands flat. It’s awesome, watching God’s handiwork. Those blooms stay open all night, close up during the day and are gone. There were 27 blooms on the plant last night, with many more to come.

     Orders at the plant are picking up significantly for which we are grateful. Finances had gotten fairly tight, we didn’t know how much longer we can keep going, but it seems like we’ll be able to weather it through. It sure is a good feeling to have the order schedule filled up again. David is also up to the challenge, he’d rather have almost more than they can keep up with, than having to find work for people that isn’t there.

    Milk production is down, with the warm weather. The men are trying a new schedule which they seem to like, 4 – 10 hour days instead of 5 – 8 hour. It really does work better, they have more vats in a day to keep everyone busy, instead of fewer, and only needing 3 people and they have 5. As long as the milk amount doesn’t climb too much, they can do it. Over summer it’s rather nice for them to have a 3 day weekend. And we’ve been very fortunate to not have anyone that needed to be quarantined, for which we are very thankful. It sounds like there are more restrictions again in some areas, hopefully it won’t mean too much of a shut-down again.

       The flowers are so pretty at the cheese plant, when certain ones bloom at once. Crystal took Jeremy to our place yesterday to mow our yard, she sent me a picture of the butterfly bush, new for this year. It is such a pretty purple and doing well. I was glad she sent it, I can enjoy it while away. I found an old Garden Gate book here at Dad’s, that had a whole list of kinds of flowers I have, how to care for them. I want to copy some of the instructions down, such as when to trim, when to fertilize, etc. The one, I knew you need to deadhead the blooms, but this says to chop the whole plant down and it will grow and rebloom. Makes sense, it gets to be a big plant, in the catnip family. Having lots of perennials make things easier, but some of them still need attention. I do enjoy it, it’s like therapy for me.

    We had planned to go east a few weeks ago. Had actually started, stopped for the night on the east side of Indianapolis. The next morning as we were leaving our motel room, we got a call that a lady from church passed away. We knew it could be soon, but you don’t know how long people linger. Instead of going east, we headed west again. This lady had cancer for 4 years, was slowly declining, then contracted the coronavirus. She made it through the sick part, but it had damaged her lungs. Her wish was to die at home, she was brought home in an ambulance, 9 hours later she passed away. They didn’t expect it quite that soon. We were very involved in the funeral arrangements, helping, organizing, as Rufus is a trustee at church. We are soon ready to turn the trustee job over to someone else, have been doing it for 18 years.

I wish everyone a safe and happy summer.

Jane Musser