The bottle of champagne remains unopened.
Steve had a headache; I have a head cold. We talked about celebration and seriousness, listened to Medieval motets and re-read John Keats’ The Eve of St. Agnes. We watched The Apartment again, and fell asleep shortly after midnight, listening to music. Thich Nhat Hahn talks of birthdays and other milestones simply as “continuations”. Life goes on; time is our own invention. There will be another occasion for champagne. Today we slept and listened to our bodies healing.
Ring out, wild bells, to the wild sky, The flying cloud, the frosty light: The year is dying in the night; Ring out, wild bells, and let him die. Ring out the old, ring in the new, Ring, happy bells, across the snow: The year is going, let him go; Ring out the false, ring in the true. Ring out the grief that saps the mind For those that here we see no more; Ring out the feud of rich and poor, Ring in redress to all mankind. Ring out a slowly dying cause, And ancient forms of party strife; Ring in the nobler modes of life, With sweeter manners, purer laws. Ring out the want, the care, the sin, The faithless coldness of the times; Ring out, ring out my mournful rhymes But ring the fuller minstrel in. Ring out false pride in place and blood, The civic slander and the spite; Ring in the love of truth and right, Ring in the common love of good. Ring out old shapes of foul disease; Ring out the narrowing lust of gold; Ring out the thousand wars of old, Ring in the thousand years of peace. Ring in the valiant man and free, The larger heart, the kindlier hand; Ring out the darkness of the land, Ring in the Christ that is to be. from In Memoriam A.H.H. by Alfred, Lord Tennyson blogged by thousandfold echo
Leaving the National Forest and re-entering the 21st century was a bit of an adjustment. How ironic that we fled from a generator only to find ourselves in a modern hotel room with no less than 14 electrical appliances to its 60 square feet of space! I immediately turned off the heater and fan and also a separate air purifier. I unplugged the refrigerator. Still, every 15 minutes, something made a punctuated whooshing sound. Eventually, I figured out it was an air freshener mechanism above the door releasing a neutralizing odor into our “smoking Queen” like clockwork. I learned how to sleep through it for a few hours.
Since we had traveled so far north in search of room in the inn, we decided to keep going on into Ohio. We crossed the Ohio River at Portsmouth and found our way toward Wayne National Forest. We stopped in at the public library in a light rain to do a bit of research, and there, Steve made a discovery that changed our course. We had promised ourselves a “splurge” portion on this trip. Paying more than $100 for a room at a franchised motel off the Interstate did not count. But now, we were within 2 hours of a bonafide historic hotel in a state that Steve had never visited. We decided to go east to Parkersburg, West Virginia, to spend the night at the Blennerhassett Hotel and then return to Ohio the next day to visit the Hopewell Culture National Historic Park. From there, we decided we’d head back home directly. There comes a time when you know that your adventure has taught you something important and you need to pull back to your interior to focus on that. It’s like a mythical journey: leaving home, learning, and returning changed. But every hero needs some time and a place to figure out what he’s learned. We figured we were close enough to use home base as that place.
Nestled deep in our gear, we found dress shoes, a long skirt for me and a tie for Steve. We were off to enjoy a dash of historic elegance and some truly fine food, not cooked over a campfire. We were not disappointed.
Final phase: the Pre-historic. That’ll be my next post. Thanks for following so far!
Last Tuesday, I went to visit my daughter and son at their new house in Batavia. I brought along a box of mixed photos from storage to sort, and I got the opportunity to meet Becca’s boyfriend’s parents. Becca and I made a simple supper out of what was on hand in their garden and from their purchases from the Farmer’s Market that week. I find it a challenge and a victory when I can figure out how to put a meal on the table without having to go out to pick up any more ingredients! We made a corn/potato/bacon chowder, a loaf of Challah bread, and a salad. It was great fun planning and cooking with her in her new kitchen, and of course, I had to show off my new camera, too! Here’s a shot:
My father was born on July 10, 1933. He died in 2010. He had a group of work colleagues who were also born in July, and they used to call themselves the SRA Cancer Society. My father did have prostate cancer at one time, but surgery eliminated it completely. He died of Alzheimer’s. He was never one to celebrate his birthday in any obvious way, but he did enjoy fine dining. Fortunately for him, he had the wherewithal to enjoy the very finest. I benefited from the “trickle down effect” of that boon, meaning that I have dined well on his generosity myself. On the occasion of his 70th birthday, we stayed at The Benbow Inn near Garberville, CA. Located on a river in the redwoods, this beautiful resort was established in 1926. My father counted it as one of his favorite places. The first time I went there was on the way north to Oregon for my sister’s wedding. My 9-month old daughter Susan was with me. Ordinarily, children are not allowed in the dining room after 8pm, but the management made an exception for my father, who promised that the baby would be beautifully behaved…and she was. Later that evening, I realized she had a bit of a fever and digestive distress, but that only mellowed her out. The next time I visited the Inn was my father’s 70th birthday. I had begun to notice signs of memory loss and confusion during that trip, but he was completely in his comfort zone at the restaurant. My mother and brother look a bit skeptical in this photo:
I remember the delight he showed in settling in at the bar and sampling from their extensive selection of Scotch before dinner. I compare it to my absolute thrill at finding a decanter of sherry in my room. So nice of them! The next day, we had them pack us a picnic to eat while out hiking. It was elegant and tasty, but a far cry from the granola bars and such that my father usually took on his woodland walks.
My father would be participating in the heavenly banquet of eternity right now, and I can imagine him enjoying himself immensely in that setting. I’m off to get myself a little supper, probably just some hummus and a glass of Shiraz, but I eat and drink to his honor in gratitude this evening. I love you, Dad. To Life!!
We’re closing the museum early tonight. Bands with modern sound equipment, street vendors with FOOD, and other period inappropriate shenanigans will materialize in the Village for a midsummer festival (and fund-raiser). Staff members get to mingle, eat, drink, and dance for free! Guess where I’m going to be after hours! Here’s a link to show you more.
You go to punch out at the time clock after work and there’s a bowl of freezer pops and a scissors beside the machine.
You’re too hot to cook, so you end up at the local Mexican restaurant drinking a frozen margarita in your Indian print drawstring skirt and sandals.
It’s a race to see who can get down to wearing next to nothing as soon as you get inside the house.
You’ve got all the windows open after the sun goes down, and you can hear dog-walkers chatting together on the sidewalk every 5 minutes.
The squeaky ceiling fan becomes your bedtime lullaby.
The thunderstorm that’s predicted for 2 a.m. gives you that secret thrill that you look forward to in your dreams.