Like The Queen
Whatever happens to strike my fancy, but surely some sort of fiber content.


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Saturday, August 14, 2004  

Our intrepid travelers arrived about midnight, accompanied the last 50 or so miles by torrential rains. This precious family has stayed with us on reunion weekend for about 12 years. In many ways this family’s visit is the reunion for us. That first time they came, the kids were 1, 3 and 5. Now they are 13, 15, and 17. As the heavens opened yesterday I thought about how rare such rain in August is for Virginia and was glad that if it was going to be deluvian, I’m glad nobody is trying to hustle the sleeping babes up our front walk.

By the time the older girls were 7 and 8 they were spending a week with us, sometimes the week after, but usually the week before the reunion. I have a house rule: You can’t spend a week here without your parents till you are 7. A sleep over is one thing, but a whole week is too long for a kid under 7. Not all the canoe trips or tree house forts can make homesickness go away when the stars come out and the crickets sing. It was one of life’s hard lessons, that the 5 year old boy mastered, the first time he had to drive away, leaving big sisters free to roam the forests and fields or play with all of Cousin Bess’ cool toys.

I would bet, though, it was worth the wait, for the year he did turn 7 LD was home, a month old college graduate with a scant 2 weeks to go before he shipped out to Navy OCS. He undertook the role of host and gave that little fellow a week of boy-heaven. He made the trip up to Bedford to pick up W and when they got to the James, just outside of Lynchburg he pulled over and they went swimming - and did the same in every creek or river that falls between the Blue Ridge mountains and the Atlantic coast. Their schedule that week was to get up early, fish for breakfast, eat that around 10, go fish for lunch, cook that mid-afternoon, fish till early evening and dine on their catch after dark. On days they didn’t fish, LD took W up to the farm where he’d worked since high school and they drove tractors and played with LD’s adopted soul-siblings. That child never even opened his suitcase, he wore his bathing suit all week. It was a perfect slice of time for a boy and a big boy.

There have been other fun summers. Weeks when they toured the sites of Tidewater VA. Weeks when they made wonderful things, slept late, experimented in the kitchen, or went to work with Cousin Bess. But there never could be another week like the week during the summer W turned 7 - not for him, surely, nor for LD, but not for those of us fortunate to watch either.

So - there are full up beds, mattresses on all the floors and yrs trly is still up at Crack-0-Dawn. Only one dedicated cross country trainer has asked to be wakened at anything like a morning hour. I realize that, though I went to that stupid grocery store every day last week, I never bought any cereal - and whatever boxed breakfast food I have in the house is sure to be full of mealy bugs - dang - it is so hard eliminate all the Proof of Sloth in a kitchen. This means I’ll have to do some cooking - which I try to never do till supper time on reunion weekend. What a fool I am.

The weather promises to be awful today - rain, then some rain, and then a big rain storm and then rain. 4-6 inches of rain. It’s a heart break what hurricanes do anywhere south of Cape Hatteras, but they can do some pretty serious damage here too. At least we’re supposed to get only the westerly winds, and those only about 45 mph. My prayer is that it all starts up in the late afternoon - which is the forecast.

And thank goodness I have a gas cookstove and a gas grill and a box of Bedford peaches.

In a final note, I wish to bid a farewell to one of the greats.

Julia Child - you filled my wide eyed youth with a great love, not just of cooking, but of trying. You are the Elizabeth Zimmermann of food. I’m glad I lived on this earth along side of you. Farewell.

posted by Bess | 7:27 AM