With Robin and Mark
Graham and Adam
Florida Grands and Greats
Mother and Flat Stanley
Mother’s Birthday Season, which is actually centered on October 17, started early this year by accident. First, Wife Lila, Friend Anne and I showed up in June. Brother David’s family – David, Diane and Amy – showed up later. Son Adam, with Carly, Graham and Elliot, got into town Tuesday. Son Matt, Sarah and Malcolm rolled in on Wednesday.
So far, I’ve moved to three different sleeping locations depending on the combination of people at the house. Once Mother gets shed of all of us, she’s hopping a plane to spend a Labor Day week out in Austin with the Texas branch, fresh transplants from Colorado.
By the time her actual birthday rolls around, she may want an empty house and peace and quiet for a present.
Graham, 2, loved the firetruck at Discovery Playhouse, so we walked across the street from Mother to Fire Station #4 where he could see the Real Deal.
The nice guys at the station have been great neighbors for Mother. She’s asked them for help of a non-emergency nature over the years, but she never had to dial 9-1-1 until recently when she was suffering chest pains. It turned out to be nothing, but she won’t wait so long if there is a next time because she was impressed with how professional the crew was. They not only took care of her medical needs, they made sure her doors were locked when they left.
The firefighters opened every compartment to show him what the truck carried, but what Graham really liked was being at the wheel of the fire engine. He spent the afternoon running around the house putting out fires. (I had to play the part of the fire.)
Graham reconsidered his thoughts of joining the fire service when the fireman demonstrated the big air horns on the rig. Lights, OK. Sirens, OK. Big, loud horns, not so OK. He was ready to crawl down.
David, Mark and I assembled a Shed in a Box, a 10×10 tarp-like structure mounted over a metal frame. The directions say that 2+ people should be able to put it up in 2 hours. Well, it took combinations of two people 2.5 DAYS to put the thing up.
Graham checked out the shed and Mother’s riding mower in it and pronounced both acceptable.
No Steinhoff visit to Cape would be complete without a trip to Wib’s BBQ in Jackson.Graham opted for a hot dog, fries and chocolate milk.
He takes his chocolate milk seriously.
Way back when, I created a mix tape of travel and truck drivin’ songs we used to launch every family trip. It’s been digitized and still gets played.
Here’s a video Matt, Sarah and Malcolm shot driving the Tail of the Dragon. I’ll let him describe it:
Wanna know what it is like to road trip with the Steinhoffs?
We’re traveling down US 129, Tail of the Dragon; 318 turns in 11 miles. Sarah has taken enough Dramamine to kill a pony. My car’s “we’re all going to die” traction-control alarm is lighting up the dashboard in a trippy, disco sorta way.
What a better time to fire up Jerry Reed’s ‘East Bound and Down’ from the Smokey and the Bandit soundtrack, right? Gotta balance the iPad on the swearing wheel, queue up the song and see if we can make it to the end of the track before the fully-illuminated shift knob falls off and we end up with 30,000 pounds of mashed bananas on Dead Man’s Curve.
You can click on the photos to make them bigger, but don’t make them too big. Kids are a lot cuter when they’re little.
Wife Lila, Friend Anne and I descended on her in late June. It’s past mid-July and I’m still in town. I have to head out to Ohio to do a photo exhibit and a couple of presentations, then (if there are no hurricanes headed to Florida), I’m headed back to Cape to work on some more projects.
Several years back, we gave Mother an iPad to replace her obsolete WebTV. It has become her favorite toy. Son Matt had a newer iPad he wanted to upgrade, so he let Brother Mark and me pick it up cheaply, then he offered to kick in a share of it for his birthday season gift. Her old model was WI-fi only, so she couldn’t use it when she was at Kentucky Lake unless she cruised around looking for hot spots. (For the digitally uninitiated, a hot spot is a place where you can pick up someone’s unsecured internet connection. It has nothing to do with the place across the river from Cape.) The new one can run off cellular service.
The new one will let her do Facetime with her grandkids, too. (If we can ever get it set up. Mark spent half the afternoon trying to get her Apple ID working.)
The Tulsa branch of the Steinhoff Family: Amy, David and Diane, came into town because David had this crazy idea that mother needed a shed to hold her riding lawnmower. Mark came down from St. Louis so he could join me in chanting “It’s a bleeping lawnmower shed, for bleep’s sake.” David, you see, has never found a project he couldn’t over-engineer.
To keep him from building some kind of teak and mahogany Taj Mahal, I found a $144 10x10x8 soft-sided shed the instructions said could be put together in two hours by 2+ people. The catch was that you had to have the right 2+ people whose names were not Steinhoff. You’ll get the full Shed in a Box story later if I can bring myself to relive the experience.
Mother timed the demise of her microwave oven to coincide with a houseful of guests. Faced with imminent starvation, the Tulsa Branch came up with a new microwave for Early Birthday Season. Amy, an accomplished shopper, aided in the search.
There is a rumor that other Florida Steinhoffs may be landing just about the time I depart (assuming I ever do). If the sheets ever get cold in Cape, she says she may jet out to see Granddaughter Kim’s new home in Austin.
No telling what she expects us to do with her 92cd rolls around on October 17. I guess I should start looking around for someplace she can go skydiving. (As always, you can click on the photos to make them larger.)
I usually start with a picture, then wrap some words around it. This time, though, I have an endless supply of pictures and not enough words to express how I feel about Mary Welch Steinhoff. So, on this Mother’s Day, here’s a small sample of Mother with her family.
Every picture I ran across led me to another, and there are scores that I remembered and couldn’t lay my hands on quickly. Mother sure has packed a lot of livin’ into her 91 years.
Click on any photo to make it larger,then click on the sides to move through the gallery.