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A Blessed Evening

Picked up the mower from the repairman last evening. Tried to fix ‘er myself, but it seems the do-hickey had come apart from the what-see. Anyway, it works great now and I got to mulch up the first of the fallen leaves.

As I was putting it away in the garage, I noticed something shiny out of the corner of my eye. Sure enough, I picked up a nail in the left front tire of my Jeep. It was in deep, with no air leaking, and looked as if it would hold air overnight.

“I’ll get to fixing that tomorrow,” I said out loud as daylight waned. I looked at the dog and he seemed to agree with me – time to go in for the evening and eat supper.

As usual, it was another great meal at the hands of my talented wife. “You should be on the food network,” the kids always say. “Yeah, yeah,” she smiles, “world-famous potatoes and eggs” (one of my favorites).

Sam was doing homework as I began fiddling with winterizing some of the windows (a multiple-evening job in our ancient, drafty, century home). Cindy had finished the dinner dishes and was making her typical calls to each of our three daughters; all of whom are raising families of their own now.

I call this part of the day “putting all the hens in the coop.” Even if they don’t live here anymore, Mom likes to know they are in the house with the doors locked for the evening. I never challenge this; I just tease her about it.

The eldest has two boys and a seven-month-old little girl who has become the darling of the family. Her husband works as a dental assistant and has a side business with me where we rent out bounce houses for parties and special events.

“David says you guys have a booking at a car show on Thursday,” Cindy tells me with her hand over the receiver. I nod at her and she returns to her lecture, telling Shanna everything to do with the baby -- which she already knows.

Next comes the scattered youngest daughter, also the mother of three. As the phone connects, my wife yanks it away from her ear as there is obviously some discipline being handed out over at that house and the volume is significant. She hears the scolding and begins to smile.

Seems someone thought it best to put the silverware in the toilet instead of the sink after dinner. Dad was trying to get a fork out of the porcelain throne and mom was sending the perpetrators to bed for this crime.

Everyone was trying not to laugh. The kids needed to know it was serious, but it sounded like they, too, knew it was funny.

“Put ‘em in bed,” Cindy advised. “They need to know not to do that.”

The kids are used to being in bed early anyway since their daddy works the early shift at the steel mill. It makes a convenient scenario for their mom to say, “Everyone in bed,” by 8:30 p.m. -- and Tila’s sanity seems to rely on this.

Then the middle daughter gets a turn. She, too, has three maniacs under her tutelage. Her husband works for the cable company and gets all kinds of overtime, so she is used to handling the “pack” on her own.

One of her boys answers the phone and gets into a game with Cindy where he is simply saying whatever she says.

“Is mommy there?” “Is mommy there,” he returns.

“Domenic, stop that.” “Domenic, stop that.”

My wife, now the seasoned grandmother of nine, simply stops talking and Domenic gets tired of waiting and hands the phone to his mom.

“Sorry,” Sheena begins, “he’s crazy.”

There is the idle chit-chat of mother-daughter and the session ends. The teapot begins to whistle as I am assembling tomorrow’s lunches, and I turn off the burner, knowing she’ll be in to fix her tea “just so.”

Our oldest son comes down from his room where he’s been studying. He’s still working on his bachelor’s degree. He finishes off preparing his lunch and seems to just need a break from the books at the moment. He also holds down a job as a park ranger and has the early shift tomorrow.

His little brother talks him into a quick round of some X-Box game, and they head to the television as Sam closes his book bag and sets it by the door.

The air blowing through the front screen door is cool and the dog dozes there, his massive 110-pound frame stretched across the threshold.

I sit down at the computer to knock out a few emails for work tomorrow and peck away at a few essays for upcoming blogs.

I open an email from our pastor. He gives me the song list for Sunday (I play drums in the church band) and reminds me to tell the grandchildren that there will be a Harvest Festival after church.

This will dovetail well into a nice fall afternoon. They all come over every Sunday for pasta and Browns football anyway, and this will give the little ones something to do before wrapping up their weekend and starting the same routine on Monday.

The same blessed routine on Monday.

I consider the others I share this planet with. Those without homes, without jobs, without family, without the strength that can only be gleaned through the love of others, and I bow my head and thank God for my own blessed existence this day and this night.

Tomorrow there will be bills to pay and dollars to stretch, problems to solve – hopefully not too big. But chances are good at the moment that all I have to be sure to do tomorrow is get that tire fixed.

Amen.

Ron Ciancutti is the Purchasing Manager for Cleveland Metroparks. He is not on Facebook, but he can be reached at rdc@clevelandmetroparks.com.

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