Essie rolled her bicycle off the road and onto the sidewalk rounding the corner from Roosevelt Drive onto Monroe Street. She eased herself off the seat and stood straddling the bike for a moment. Breathing hard, a bead of sweat escaped her red headscarf and ran down the bridge of her nose.
Grandma was on her hands and knees edging the grass on the walkway leading to the house and hadn’t even noticed Essie. She moved slowly and left a trail of dirt and grass schnibbles in her wake.
Suddenly Hank pulled his fat-tire bike in with a screech of the tires. “How long have you been standing here,” he asked Essie as he let his bike fall to the ground and dropped to his knees and then laid on his back under the shade of the tree.
Hank’s shirt was soaked with sweat and his chest heaved as he tried to catch his breath.
The pair had made a commitment to try and get in shape and ride more often.
Essie’s grandma took a break from the weeds. Hank’s entrance caught her attention. She didn’t understand this whole need to exercise. “If you all have that much time on your hands to gallivant around on those bicycles, why don’t you clean the house or do more laundry rather than make more laundry,” she said with a harrumph.
“You’re really looking strong Essie,” said Hank as his dog jumped into his lap and tried licking the salty sweat off his face.
“Strong,” said Essie looking down at Hank and raising her eyebrows. “Like sturdy and I should heft an axe? Or strong like bull?”
Hank meant it as a compliment, but he could tell that’s not how Essie was taking it. He swallowed hard and could f
feel a slight nervous pain as his Adam’s apple plunged and struggled to come back up.
“Listen Ess… I just meant you’re fit and solid and…”
Hank was getting himself in deeper, just then grandma grabbed his arm. “Come on boy, bring those biking muscles round the back of the house and help me shuck this corn for supper,” she said.
Within a second Hank found renewed energy, hopped to his feet and followed grandma like a puppy. “Yur a dang fool,” said grandma. “Just don’t know when to keep your mouth shut.”
Essie watched as the two walked past the bushes and round the corner of the house. Hank towering over grandma as she shuffled with stooped shoulders and walked with purpose to get dinner on the table.
It had been a long week. Essie had grandma in to visit Doc Driessel. Her forgetfulness was becoming more and more apparent.
Doc brought up some things Essie didn’t even want to think about like possibly checking grandma into a nursing home. He even explained to her how Alzheimer’s would affect grandma’s diet and how she may forget to eat.
“And how are you holding up Essie,” said Doc.
The question startled Essie. “I’m fine,” she said quickly and with confidence. “Just fine.”
Doc Driessel gave her an easy smile and gave her a gentle pat on her knee.
Essie bit her lip as Doc Driessel rose and walked over to talk to grandma. She knew she was the primary caretaker and she could start to tell that the responsibility was getting more and more overwhelming … but she was hoping nobody would notice.
Hank crossed the lawn and approached Essie. He put his hand on the bike and presented her with an ice cold glass of lemonade. “Your grandma said I should bring this to you,” he said. “She asked me to stay for supper – I hope that’s OK.”
Essie nodded while downing the lemonade. “I’m good – this helps, thanks,” she said. “Yes…. I was hoping you’d stay.”
The pair wheeled their bikes to the back yard and climbed the creaky stairs to the second floor. The kitchen was hot as the yellow corn boiled in the pot.
Grandma had already set out small dishes on the table. Pickle spears, a few red radishes, cottage cheese on top on a lettuce leaf with a half of a cling peach hanging off the side.
Essie watched as grandma’s hand shook as she pulled the glass pitcher of water out of the ice box. “Let me get that grandma,” said Essie as she took two big strides across the kitchen floor.
Hank was pulling the steaming ears of corn out of the boiling water and piling them like a pyramid on the white serving plate.
The three held hands around the table and bowed their heads to say grace.
By the time dinner was done Essie had cleaned five ears of corn and she finished off the last of everything on the table including two pieces of homemade rhubarb pie.
Hank knew better than to stare but was impressed with Essie’s appetite. He volunteered to wash the dishes and clean up so Essie could tend to grandma.
Scraping Essie’s plate into the trash Hank thought, “That girl can eat like a trucker.” But he knew better than to say anything and kept it to himself.
St. Mary’s 160 Landmark Campaign
St. Mary’s Church in Barton is in the midst of a Landmark 160 Campaign as it raises funds to perform some immediate repairs on the historic church and steeple. The “160” is because the goal is $160,000 to accommodate the needed repairs and because in September 2017 it will be the parish’s 160th anniversary of its founding.
Volunteers needed for Barton Day
Barton Day is Saturday, August 13, and it’s expected to be one of the biggest events yet as organizers have rallied activities and music for friends and families.
“I expect there to be a great turn out,” said Stacy Biertzer, owner of C&C Business Management in Barton.
“Across from St. Mary’s Church near the playground we’ll have activities for the kids including a bounce house, super hero and princess characters, a fish pond and much more.”
Local businesses will participate including face painting near Maverick Tattoos. There will be music in the grassy area on Barton Avenue next to Over the Moon and Joker’s 5 Pub & Grill will feature DJ Bob Bonenfant and a Bags Tournament.
Local establishments will have specials and St. Mary’s Parish will host its annual Polka Mass and silent auction.
There are more than 20 paid vendors already signed up for Barton Day. If you’d like to participate get a hold of Stacy at 262-365-0900.
Volunteers are also needed to bake items for a bake sale and the parish is looking for volunteers to help with kids games at 2 p.m. on the church grounds. Please call Mary Hernikl at 262-338-5600 for more details.
Rev. Rehrl’s Rectory & Exhibit
Father Rehrl’s Rectory & Exhibit Open at St. Agnes Historic Convent and School Site will be open August 18 from noon – 2 p.m.
Built in 1856, it was here that the Sisters of St. Agnes managed one of the first schools in Washington County, educating children of all denominations.
Within the fieldstone rectory of Father Caper Rehrl, the exhibit “From Mound Builders to Church Builders” highlights the triumph of survival over inexperience on the unsettled Wisconsin frontier.
The exhibit is free and open to the public.
Build. Boost & Buy in Barton – – Shop these local businesses
Wisconsin House Woodworks
Reflections by the River
Lake Lenwood Beach and Campground
Do Your Hair Justice
Play’n for Pennies – Resale and Consignment -Featuring adult and children’s clothing
Sandy’s Barton Cafe
St. Mary’s Parish
The Sign Shop of West Bend, 1624 Schmidt Road All exterior signage including Banners, Yard Signs, Sandblasted, Illuminated and Monument.
Interior signage including, Engraved, Way finding, and Room Identification Decals include: Corporate branding, Security, Serialized, Safety/Warning/ OEM decals, and Control Panels.
Vehicles graphics for Corporate, City, and County fleets, Recreational and Personal Vehicles, and also Window Decals identifying business name, and hours of operation.
Vrana Frame & Body Shop
West Bend Glass Block, 1527 N. Main Street
Woodland Iron & Firearms