We played Chicken Foot, a dominoes game, with Pap this morning.  It was Pap, Harper, Amanda, Shelby, Adam and me.  Shelby had to leave before we finished the first round, but Renee took her place.  We started a second round but I left with Mom and Dad to go see John Quinn at the hospital.

I’ve always really liked John Quinn.  He’s just a big old funny and fun-loving guy and, for some reason, he’s always seemed to really like me.  Maybe it was because he and Mary Joe had four girls, all about the same age as the four Dotsey kids.  In fact, the first time I remember spending the night anywhere, or even sleeping in a bed with any girls who were not related to me, was when Mom and Dad went to John and Mary Joe’s one time and left me overnight.  I guess I’d fallen asleep and they just didn’t want to wake me.  I woke up the next morning and cried because they had left me.  What can I say- I was little.

I mentioned it a while back, but a tumor had been found in John’s brain a while back.  Things have been pretty tough for him and I don’t know, well, I just don’t know.  I’m glad I got to see him.  We picked a pretty good time to go see him, too, because his whole family was there outside of the hospital having a Fourth of July party with him, so we got to see everyone and spend some time with him and with them.

Hunter’s engaged and Becky’s kid, Quinn, is getting so big.  He took to me pretty fast.  John wanted to see some of my photos of old buildings and such, so I’d brought that along on the trip.  There was one in particular he liked- the one I used on the front cover of my “portfolio” so I offered to give him that one.  He said he’d just print it off the CD I burned and was going to drop by the house later.  Later, when I did go by the house, I left the CD and the photo.  I can print myself another one.

On the way over to the hospital I was looking on the off topic Duke message board and saw that former North Carolina senator Jesse Helms had died and passed that information on to everyone else in the van.  Erin’s response was “Good.”  I expressed that saying something like that just wasn’t right, barring that the person in question wasn’t Saddam Hussein or Osama bin Laden.  She said that to her, he was like one of those.  Well, we had a discussion about a few things that had been bugging each other.  Mom finally played the mom and said that Erin had expressed herself and I had apologized and that we needed to hug and make up.  Well, we never hugged but it didn’t come back up again.

Later on, back at Baba and Pap’s house a basketball game was started.  It was going to be three-on-three but I wanted to play so I got Alex to join in and it was four-on-four.  It was Dotskins versus Shirtseys (I just made those up- we didn’t say them at the time), with teams decided by who could make free throws first.  Everyone missed their first attempts, which foreshadowed the quality of play, but I was one of the ones that made the basket first.  My team, the Dotskins, was made up of Uncle Bernie, Bret, Roger and me.  The Shirtseys were Dad, Uncle Steve, Josh and Alex.

The Shirtseys won pretty handily in the first game, I must admit.  Josh was the star center.  The second game was much better though.  The rule was that we were playing to ten but the winning team had to win by two.  The final score was Dotskins 13, Shirtseys 11.  I actually made four baskets (playing single points) and had a few assists and steals.  Josh was impressed with my improvement, and a few people mentioned I played well.  Considering my low self esteem when it comes to basketball, that made me pretty happy.

Us younger guys wanted a final tie-breaker game, but the old fellas were a little too worn out.

We had a really great dinner not long after that.  Mom made some pulled pork bar-b-que and we had green beans and mashed potatoes to go along with them.  We also had corn on the cob, but it was forgotten until most of the food was already eaten.  It was still good of course.  A little later we celebrated Baba’s birthday.  We had cake and she opened cards and presents.  Her kids had made a sign with their address on it for the front lawn, and they did a really good job of it.  Amanda and I gave her a painted iron butterfly stake made by the same lady who made the horses we got for Mom for Mother’s Day and her birthday.

Amanda, Jackson, Bruce and I walked to Quinns’ house after dinner to deliver the photo and CD.  Nobody was home so we left them in the mailbox.  Jackson wasn’t overly willing to walk back so we started to leave him, but he caught up to us by the time we rounded the street corner.  He told us that he wasn’t our friends anymore, which is his go-to thing when he’s not happy with something you’ve done.  That or he’d tell him mommy, often after fabricating the fact that you’d yelled at him.  Jackson made up though- he told me that the cars across the street had told him he could be friends with me again.  We jogged back down to Baba and Pap’s.  Amanda pointed out that Bruce wanted to run with us, so I held his leash while he and Jackson ran a little ahead.

Bernie’s crew left after a little while.  From then on we spent most of the evening in the dark on the porch just socializing while fireworks went off all around us.  We didn’t see many because of the trees, but we heard them going off to the left of the porch and past the Tate’s Creek football stadium the porch faces.

Zach Dotsey