It didn\’t feel as if I were on holiday, but more like I had just stepped out of a long dream, or into one; it was a surreal, disconcerting feeling. All around me were sights, sounds and smells that were so familiar yet strangely foreign. There was so much I had forgotten about life in rural America:
– The soothing symphony of crickets
– – The hum of June bugs
– – Snake spit
– – How the world just seems suspended during a lazy, sunny afternoon
– – The dewy freshness of a meadow in the morning
– – What a really hot day feels like
– – The stillness and quiet of a country morning
– – Screen doors
– – Houseflies
– – Fire Flies
– – Thunderstorms
– – Yellow School Buses
I could go on, but I\’ll spare you more details. Suffice it to say, it was magic.
it\’s not from a snake, it\’s a sort of bug larva covering.
Turns out, I wasn\’t the only one glad to see her.
Neo and Alphie becoming reacquainted.
Later, when they thought I wasn\’t watching, they slipped away and I caught them, in flagrante delicto in the spare bedroom.
While based on home turf, there were two major reunions: one with my family and one with my friends.
I\’ve always said that the best thing to come out of my moving to England was the fact that my visits home provide an excuse for my family to get together without requiring someone to die. My siblings come up from down south and down from up north and we all descent upon my cousin and her husband, who willingly open their home to the horde. The day is filled with barbeques, beer, campfires and reminiscing, and it is always the focal point of the trip.
At my Dad\’s house. that\’s Becky on the right, my brother\’s wife,
and my sister, Mel, with the hair (you figure out who my Dad is).
When we were young, I used to call my sister \’Cousin It\’.
We might have been a small group, but we had a grand time and made a pact to meet up again on my next visit.
future daughter-in-law. In the background is Glenn, who has
already abandoned us to chat up a bevy of young beauties.
After that we moved further afield, visiting my friends, Matt and Lisa, on their croft. Having visited there before, I hadn\’t bothered to print a map, believing (in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary) that I would remember the way. My backup plan (and I did have one) was to buy a map once I got in the general vicinity.
I had been taught a lesson about pay phones the day before when I went to locate my son\’s apartment without benefit of having an actual address, but I never supposed the phenomenon would encompass road maps.
It seems, as the proliferation of cell phones is causing the demise of pay phones, the same is happening to maps because of the widespread use of GPS devices. After not finding any maps at the first two gas stations, I asked the young lady behind the counter about it and she told me they had no call for them any more.
I finally had to resort to asking directions, which proved useless, but by continuing to stop at every gas station we encountered, I eventually found a map. And we eventually found Matt and Lisa\’s farm.
We had a terrific lunch of real, homegrown products and a nice long chat on the screened-in porch during a spectacular thunderstorm. Then we headed off to our next destination. Fortunately, I knew the way.
you can\’t take the country out of the boy.
– – \”Have a GREAT day!\” seems to be replacing \”Have a nice day!\” I guess they felt they needed to up the anti.
– – Despite reports that the US recycles more than the UK, I saw little evidence of it.
– – Everywhere I went, no matter what I was doing, I was inundated by a barrage of options: crushed ice or cubes? Chocolate sauce or caramel? Economy sized or extra large? I think it supposed to be a good thing and emphasize the casual prosperity they enjoy, but I found it inconvenient and annoying after a while.
And finally, my Food Quests were all fulfilled::
– – Clam Chowder: The Real Seafood Co.
– – Ruben Sandwich: East Greenbush Diner
– – A Decent Bagel: Brugger\’s
– – Eggs Benedict: East Greenbush Diner
– – Buffalo Wings: Pump Station
– – Barbeque: my buddy Glenn\’s house
Next: Quebec and Beyond