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The Jefferson Journal is JPR's members' magazine featuring articles, columns, and reviews about living in Southern Oregon and Northern California, as well as articles about finance, health and food from NPR. The magazine also includes program listings for JPR's network of radio stations. The publication's bi-monthly circulation is approximately 10,000. To support JPR and receive your copy in the mail every other month become a Member today!

Tickity Boo!

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Image by pixabay.com/users/andisbilderwerkstatt

So you want to see pictures of my new grandson? Sure you don’t, but that won’t stop me. He’s only the best baby ever, said the grandmother before the readers turned the page to study the JPR Program Schedule.

So I’ll just stop and hope you return to see if I’ve “read” the exasperated eye rolls of my readers.
Why I like living in a small town is illustrated in the “How I first found out my grandson was born” story. Daughter Sally texted me in the wee hours of August 27th to say her labor was starting. I, like many of you who did not grow up with a cell phone attached to my head, turn off my phone at night because a vendor at the Farmer’s Market told me EMF’s are bad for you. I get a lot of health advice from random, chance encounters as I’m sure you do. So the phone was off and I did not see Sally’s text until the morning. Jim and I hurriedly headed out to Ashland but needed to gas up before the trip. At the local gas station, our son-in-law’s uncle was there and called out hearty congratulations to “the new grandparents.” His countenance (I’m reading a lot of Victorian novels during the pandemic so my vocabulary is flourishing) quickly changed when he saw my husband’s puzzled expression. Realizing he had let the cat out of the bag, he tried to back track because his wife, who elbowed him in the ribs, figured out we didn’t know the news, yet. Which we didn’t know but now we did. I didn’t care, I was just thrilled and asked him if it was a boy or girl. He was really uncomfortable at this point, probably thinking we were going to be miffed hearing the news from a third party, but he fessed up and said, “Uh, I thought you knew, it’s a boy!” Covid be damned, I threw my arms around him and chortled, “Callooh Callay!” To which his wife interjected, “I hope you’re not mad.”

I may well be mad in the Victorian sense, but anger at learning we had a grandson from an in-law at the gas station? That is top notch or, as they say in The Crown, tickity boo!

I love chance encounters that turn my world upside down. Not ones like Bathsheba’s ill-fated valentine in Far From the Madding Crowd, but unplanned conversations that enlighten and change the way I think. One more example of this came up in a conversation I had with my soon-to-be daughter-in-law, Malia. While I have so far avoided the Coronavirus, I was plagued with a crazy rash that was driving me mad. I drove down my considerable insurance deductible with doctor visits but nothing they prescribed helped. Real help came in the form of a simple question Malia posed. She asked if I had tried cutting out gluten from my diet. Since the Grain Street Bakery opened in Etna last year, I’ve done my part to ensure its success. Since I tried everything else, I gave “gluten free” a gander. With the help of the internet and a good book, I learned a great deal about “gluten sensitivity” and after months of restructuring my diet, I am very pleased to say my skin is a lot happier. All it took was a simple question, posed at the right time to get me to look for answers in another direction.

Sometimes the best health advice comes from random, chance encounters. And sometimes you find out you have a new grandchild from a guy at the gas station.

Happy New Year. We made it!

Now that’s tickity boo!