Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Surprise! Happy 91st Birthday Nola

Miles: 25
Weather Today in Battle Ground, WA: 66

What a wonderful day today! Our game plan was to leave the hotel this morning and drive to Nola's house to surprise her for her 91st Birthday. Grandpa had practiced what he wanted to do and how he was going to surprise her. We were going to pull into her driveway and then give her a call and ask her if she had breakfast already and if she had not then we were going to take her out for breakfast.

We left the hotel pretty close to 8am and walked outside and well... we had a flat tire. So we called AAA and the two truck was here literally within 10 minutes... one of the bonus features of a small town. The tow truck driver was awesome as he taught me quite a lot about my truck. He put some air in the tire and gave us directions to the nearest tire shop - which was 4 doors down from where we were staying. Two hours later we had a fixed tire and even better they did not even charge us for fixing the tire! There were a lot of people in there today with flats which got me to thinking.... do you think tire shops drive around at night time and drop nails and screws in the roads to ensure they have business the next day?

Off to Nola's! It took us a few minutes to find her home and then when we pulled up we were greeted by Brenda and Dale (Nola's son) who showed us to Nola's house. Grandpa was like a little boy in a candy shop! Ooh speaking of candy shop we stopped to ask for directions (yes, I know we said we weren't going to but my navigation wasn't picking up the little country roads) at this little market and the candy was only 30 cents for a candy bar... so of course we had to get one!

When we opened the door Nola was sitting in the dining room watching Maury and enjoying her birthday morning. Grandpa and Nola started talking like no time had passed, reminiscing about their childhood, their parents, siblings and just good old memories. I sat across from the table thinking, how often is someone able to just sit and listen to two people share stories from 91 years ago. Nola even mentioned that she remembered the day Grandpa was born and how his little feet were sticking out of the doctors bag. Did they actually put the babies in the doctors bags 84 years ago?
I continued to listen to them talk and started taking some notes from their conversation. It might have appeared as if I was just writing a grocery list or doodling on a paper - but I thought it would be really cool if I could share some of their conversation with you...

"She was not happy unless she had one on her lap, one by her side, and one in her stomach" Nola speaking about her Mother. For those of you who don't know my Grandpa was the 19th child in their family. Nola was the 5th youngest and out of 19 children they are the only two still living. They all had the same mother and father, there was 2 sets of twins and 1 triplets, the rest were all single births. They were all born about 2 years apart. Their mother died of Uterine Cancer at the young age of 59. You could tell how much they both loved their mother and how they think of her as an "angel" and upstairs looking over everyone for an eternity.

"I never think negative, only have to believe in what you say" Nola speaking to Grandpa about life and how she has made it for 91 years. She says she will make it to 100, and I don't doubt that she will. Grandpa of course said he will make it to 101 just to be the longest living Caton! You can tell they were funny and competitive growing up!

"In 1990 I prayed to God and told him that I did not want to smoke anymore. I woke up the next morning and did not have even a craving for a cigarette. If you don't have willpower you will never change. Some people say they want to quit smoking but then they go and get the patch. They are not ready to stop smoking, they don't believe in what they are saying." Nola telling the story about how she quit smoking and how praying made a difference in her life.

"I don't really like to eat fish anymore. When I was younger all of the boys would go out and catch the fish and then bring them home and the girls had to clean all of the fish and cook them. I just got tired of cleaning all of the fish." Grandpa wanted to take Nola to lunch but she is unable to walk so he kept asking her what she wanted for lunch and he brought up fish and she started telling us this story.

These are Nola's two dogs, Patches the Shitzu and Buddy the Palmarian.

This is their home. Dale and Brenda live in the front house and Carol and Nola live in the back house on the second floor.

Cousin Carol and I visited for a couple of hours, just visiting about life! We had a great conversation!

3rd Cousins (I think) Damien and his son Devin who is 2 1/2 and thinks his name is Peter Parker! He was so cute!!!

We went the the local bar (I also think the only bar in their small town) for lunch which they own. The food was delicious and we were very grateful for them for treating us to lunch!

Nola is a funny, witty and beautiful woman. She is full of love and thinks of her family first. It was such a treat to watch Grandpa and Nola interact and share stories. Now, for those of you who really know my Grandpa you know he is a kidder and has a "routine". Nola is on her game at 91 years old and went right back at Grandpa with some of his jokes, and I have to say that I think she even got him on a few.

Today is a day I will never forget. I met my Great Aunt Nola and a lot of cousins. Tomorrow we are heading to Yakima, Washington to see Charlotte, Jim, Bob and Billie! More family for the next couple of day! We are both looking forward to seeing them soon!!

Christie and Grandpa

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