In Which T. Tiger and I Ink My Mama, Age 91!

Did you ever have a day that was so full of good things that you do not even know where to begin? This day was such a day! My husband and I had plans to visit family, and we had a side errand or two scheduled as well: a tiny shopping trip, and a stop along the blue Juniata River. But the big news of this day is that I gave my mother, Norma Colyer, age 91, her first tattoo, as T. Tiger looked on!

Now, before you start trying to prosecute me for the abuse of an older person, know this: the tattoo is a temporary one, and it didn't hurt at all. My sweet Mama said YES right off the bat, and I treated her with tender care! The tat will probably last about a week, and she can take it off with baby oil if she's tired of it before then.

The butterfly is in honor of my big sister Barb, who put so much love and light into the world. This is her birthday month, and my thoughts often turn to her, and the summer fun we always had. I miss her like the butterflies miss the sun on a cloudy day. On this day, on Barb's behalf, I tattooed every single person I love who would let me with a butterfly!

I also got to visit all of the living members of my immediate family, which is a thing that has not happened in several years now. On our way down to Mom & Dad's, we stopped and visited my sister Pat, who is in assisted living. And we got to see everybody else who was present for a combined Father's Day, Wedding Anniversary, Birthday event. There were grilled burgers and dogs and sausages and potato chips and fruit salad involved.

There were several fathers there, and my mom and dad are celebrating their 72nd wedding anniversary. My husband and brother-in-law recently had birthdays. So there was all of that, as well.

Oh, and did I mention that my tattoos are full of magic summoning power? My brother insisted he did not NEED a tattoo, but his wife informed him otherwise. *giggle* She selected a dragonfly and I put that on his arm. When we were hanging out outdoors during the grilling process, a dragonfly, summoned by the image I'd put on my brother, tried to sit on him! So watch out, for these are very SPECIAL tattoos.

I know I'm hopping around all out of order, but I can't help it. Let me tell you about the two side trips. First, our day's adventures started out in State College at the Colonnade shopping center. My husband had a $10 gift certificate in birthday bucks from Kohl's, and I was in search of a new camera bag at Target. So he parked in the middle and we split to go shopping.

About the quest for a new camera bag: "This is WORSE than cole slaw!" my husband said to me, as my pursuit of the best cole slaw in the world has been legendary. To my disappointment, most places don't have decent cole slaw at all, and so I am afraid to even TRY most places' cole slaw, though I love it. Now, camera bags are worse. My ratty camera bag is the same one I've used forever. It looks terrible but it's functional. Oh, and of course, I did NOT find a new one at Target, alas.

I did, however, find an awesome new sports bra (originally $24, marked down to about $7) in a fun color and with structural supports and construction engineering that's not unlike the Verrazzano-Narrows bridge! Also clearance undies in soft shades of cotton for less than a buck a pair. (My husband, for his part, used his gift certificate and got some outstanding bargains of his own. So we both came home with bags full of bargains.) But wait, there's more!

Scoot back to a couple of.years ago, Before The Troubles (as I think of The Time Before The Pandemic Time). I am a member of Groupon and I bought a $10 gift certificate to Starbucks for $5. Except that I never got to use it! Every time I was on campus at Penn State, the lines at Starbucks were out the door. Then they closed the Starbucks down when everyone left campus for the pandemic. One way or another, I could never get my freebie. Access denied! (And I HATE that.)

But guess what. There's a Starbucks inside Target. So guess what I did when I finished my shopping: I went and got a marvelous (and I know I'm gonna get its name wrong) cold drink that is like a milkshake drink, with a name that includes caramel and frappuccino and maybe some other stuff in the middle about the little brickle-like crunchy bits. Oh my goodness, it was my first one. NOW I understand! So I finally got to use part of my long-lamented Starbucks gift card! You may see a photo of my awesome sugary confection in the extras.

Second side trip: the blue Juniata River! Just as we got there, a boating party arrived, two guys and a gal, and got into their kayaks and put them into the river. I was right there on the scene and I'm sure they were sick of me, for I was having a great time enjoying THEIR good time. They laughed when I told them I was "officially jealous" and wished them "fair winds and following seas!" You may see the boating party in the extras.

On a more serious note, I also brought along some of my friend Ellen's ashes, and asked my parents' permission to scatter them on their property. Of course, they both said Fine! Ellen had only ever met them one time, I think. Years and years ago, Ellen and I and our friend Peggy went to Hershey Park for a day, and we took a rest break at my parents' house along the way. My mom took a picture of us three girls standing in their yard, on our way to Have Big Fun; someday I'll come across it, I hope.

Well, Ellen has finally come home. I scattered her ashes among the flowers (lady's slipper, peonies, pink roses, and lilacs) at my parents' house on Shade Mountain, and in the spring behind the house. Be free, my friend, I whispered, as the current took her ashes away. (And I'll tell you a quick secret; I put some in the Juniata River, as well! That gal sure gets around!)

I think that's most of the story, all out of order, and I'm sorry for that, but I hope you had some fun being dragged along with me on my big day's adventure that included family time and butterfly tattoos, shopping and some fun bargains, a sweet treat I've never had before at Starbucks using a gift card a couple of years old, and a trip to the river to enjoy a vicarious adventure. Wow! What a day!

I have no idea what songs to pick, but I guess it's gotta be about love, and rivers, and fun. Let's start with this one: John Mellencamp, To the River. Second is Bryan Adams, Rod Stewart, and Sting, with All for Love. In honor of the sweet confectionery treat, here's the third one: Air Supply, with Sweet Dreams. And here's a bonus FOURTH song, by special request, for my friend Ellen's continuing journey into freedom: Loggins and Messina, with Watching the River Run.

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