Triple teamed by Addi, Ellie and Jack

Sitting in the second pew of the beautiful sanctuary of North Oxford Baptist Church, granddaughter Addi Claire had her music books open and was practicing every note in silence with her tiny fingers tapping the pages as if sitting at the piano.
We were there for her Christmas piano recital. Addi Claire takes lessons from Kim Gregory of Bruce and seems to love every minute of it.
She’s a perfectionist, speaking of Addi Claire, although Kim might be, too. I could see her going through the songs in her head as the other music students played and sang, up until each time it came around to her turn.
“Open that book,” she would whisper to me firmly. She spread it out across both our laps and let her fingers start tapping every note.

Joel McNeece

Joel McNeece

When her time came, she walked up to the piano and played beautifully. I could listen to Addi Claire play all day. I love to sit and listen as she practices at mother-in-law Jo Ann Denley’s each evening. My wife Lisa, who has some piano skills herself and reads music well, sits on a chair near her and assists. I can do neither, so I’m merely the audience, which suits me fine.
One of the many songs she’s worked with when first starting lessons last year was “When the Saints Go Marching In.” It’s one of my favorites and estimated to be the most requested song in the world.
I remember a sign posted on the wall of Preservation Hall in New Orleans while attending a concert there that read, “Traditional requests $5, Others $10, The Saints $20.” But they never let you leave without hearing “The Saints.”

I requested it so much from Addi Claire that I wore her out on it – not a good move on my part.
Addi Claire’s piano recital was just one of many events we’ve been rushing to the past few weeks with kids seemingly hanging off every arm.
Earlier that morning Lisa and step-daughter Jo Ellen had taken Addi Claire, Ellie Kathryn, and grandson Jack to Pancakes with Santa at the Bruce Museum. I got to stay home on that one and pick up around the house. There’s plenty of picking up to do around our place with three kids, two dogs and lots of Christmas everywhere.

Thanksgiving week Lisa and I had baby Jack for the full week while the girls were off to Disney World with their parents and other grandparents. Thankfully, Jo Ellen was around a good bit, but as she hit the home stretch of her semester at nursing school, with finals this week, she has been extra busy.
We thought Jack by himself would be a breeze, but during the week we had him he went from sitting still and smiling at you to crawling to every nook and cranny of the house and pulling up on everything, with two dogs on his heels.

This week we have all three, which in a way is easier because the girls are helpful, but it’s like Union Station at our house with lines to get into a bathroom, shower or sometimes bed.
Last Saturday they all did the pancakes, then we were off to Oxford for a birthday party for Ellie Kathryn’s friend Saylor Dye. The piano recital followed with Jack in good spirits. We raced back to Bruce for the Lions’ Club Christmas Parade for the girls to get on the Jody’s Dancers float while we ran to City Hall to be in position for pictures of my mother-in-law coming around the square as grand marshal.

Once we got everyone herded up afterwards, it was off to Calhoun City for their annual parade. Things just don’t seem to slow down. Mix in soccer, basketball, board meetings, school meetings, and the routine business of every day life in these times, and I find myself forgetting where I am on occasion.

What I do recognize is as hectic and exhausting as it all is, I don’t lose sight of how much fun our kids are. I was speaking to a class at Northwest Community College last week when in between chugs of a Venti cup of  Starbucks coffee I reached into my pocket to pull out my glasses and felt something pinching at my wrist. I pulled my hand out and saw two little heart stickers that had somehow made it into my pocket.
I believe I stayed on course with my major points of the responsibility of media in today’s political environment, but in my mind I was thinking Ellie Kathryn got me again. It’s good to be gotten.