I sit here penning this missive awestruck at the whirlwind the previous 76 hours have been. Two airplane trips (complete with accompanying quests to the airport and various encounters with 'security'), travel to Jacksonville from aforementioned airport, a brief sojourn to Saint Augustine, more travel to Jacksonville, assorted shopping sprees for various and sundry articles, and an inordinate amount of food consumption.
I have returned!
I need a nap
As Lou and I emerged from the world's tiniest aircraft, we distinctly noticed how much the air felt like New Orleans. Rather made us want to head back to the gates and try to wheedle ourselves onto a flight bound for NOLA. Instead, we collected our belongings and headed for passenger pickup. While in flight, regardless of the fact that phones must be turned off, my mother proceeded to phone me 3 times. She did phone me just before we boarded, so that leaves a called every 40 minutes or so. A call to a phone that was turned off. I think she just likes to hear my away message.
We arrived at 11:30pm to tears of happiness and great warm hugs. By 12:45 we had arrived at their home. Lou and I tried to count how many times my mother checked my father's driving speed, questioned his directions, or repeated when to make certain turns. We are in complete control of our abilty to keep track of numbers of this nature. It was the sheer quantity that forced us to give up the attempt. Apparently, one never can be told enough times that the turn coming up is the one that is required. Imagine, now...if you can...that the turn that my father was alerted to for 10 miles turned out to be inaccurate, and we all came close to traveling to an undetermined destination.
Retirement is only something the very wealthy should engage in. With an endless supply of disposable income, one can readily travel, engage in sports, persue hobbies. When you share one car (and are used to having two) and spent the better part of your life rasing a family and working hard, it's hard to know just which hobby to persue or where to travel to. Like Frick and Frack, Abbot and Costello, Laurel and Hardy, Amos and Andy...those two are a team, and wild horses couldn't pull them apart. I believe they sleep so soundly at night for trying to get apart all day.
They are relentless in their ability to nag each other.
They are both 70 years old and you'd figure by now at least one of them would be able to remember to turn off the lights, or the stove, or shut the sprinkler, or close the garage door, etc...without a dozen reminders from the other. You'd think they would each know how the other takes their coffee without the reminder of which sugar or which cream to use. The toaster sits idle unless both are involved in it's use. Two coffee pots on the counter are apparently better than one. Why have a normal size garbage can in the kitchen, a place where more refuse is produced than any other room in the house...when a 12 inch wastebasket will do? It's come to my attention that Jacksonville has only one radio station and it plays soft jazz. Either that, or, as I suspect, they don't know how to program their stereo. They have 7 toolbars visible on the desktop of their computer. The email screen is the size of a postage stamp because they don't know how to close windows. I suggested they simply use the computer to hold the desk down in the event of a hurricane. Naturally, the reason behind any bickering (and for the most part, it's laughable, really it is) is always the others fault. Invariably, if something is wrong, the other must be guilty. As my title declares, if they ever arm themselves, they are doomed.
After a lovely afternoon on Friday at St. Augustine (where we got to tour the fort and watch them fire the cannon!) we proceeded to a store called Fresh Market. Publix has clear rule of the sunshine state when it comes to grocery shoppes. One cannot swing a deat cat without hitting a Publix, a Wal-green or a CVS. I was beside myself with bliss when they showed me the Fresh Market. Subdued lighting, marvelous produce, the freshest meat and fish I've seen, and a bakery to rival any NYC shoppe. I proceeded to purchase the makings of a 4 course meal for my parents, Lou and I, and my sister, brother in law, and nephew.
I began with a salad of roasted cranberries, lemon zested stilton, sauteed mushrooms, served atop boston lettuce drizzled with honey and olive oil.
Next, I prepared angel hair pasta to accompany the sauce I made of butter, garlic, white wine (an entire bottle) and 2 dozen little neck clams. I served this with bruschetta topped with roasted roma tomatoes, basil and locatelli cheese.
Dinner was two racks of frenched lamb chops crusted with dijon, herbs and bread crumbs. This was served with roasted fingerling potatoes and chopped apples.
Dessert was a raspberry tart, purchased from the Fresh Market bakery.
We had an Italian wine with dinner, but I don't recall the name. By 10pm I was falling asleep to the sounds of other people cleaning the kitchen!
Saturday was party day. My sister and I spent the better part of the afternoon running errands, making a few dishes, and decorating the house for guests. We expected people for 5pm. The first guest arrived at 4:30!
Remember the aunts I mentioned? The original members of the Lolipop Guild? If they stood one upon another's shoulders, standing all three atop each other, they wouldn't be 12 feet tall! In the words of Stymie of the Little Rascals...those are fidgets! Diminutive, while a more ladylike word and possibly more appropriate, simply doesn't do the ladies justice. It simply has to be 'fidget'. No other word will do. I only stand five feet, three inches. I had a good foot on each of them. Strangely, their voices were precisely as I remember them! It was wonderful to see them again. Their years are advancing (as ours all are), and I may not get many more opportunities to visit with them.
My parents arrived at 6pm to the minute. The ruse of meeting at my sister's home before going to a restaurant to celebrate their anniversary played wonderfully. Any woman who walks up a flight of stairs to a parlor whining that she has to go to the bathroom before leaving for the restaurant clearly has no idea that company was just 5 feet away. And the tears began flowing again. And again, more tears of happiness. With nothing but love in my heart, and all sarcasm laid aside for the moment, I toasted my parents and their good fortune, my sister and her family, and all my parents wonderful friends who came to celebrate with them. My parents have only been in Florida for a little longer than 18 months and they have surrounded themselves with some wonderful people.
I didn't think they'd ever leave
. By 11pm, Lou and I were back at my parent's home, replaying the events of the day and evening with my parents before we all passed out very shortly after that.
We were on the airplane by 8am the following morning. I listened with mixed emotions as they bickered again about the speed, the turns, the weather, the garden, etc... We all cried when it was time to leave each other.
My father has since phoned once. My mother leads the race with 3 calls to his one.
ps...the birdhouse is beautiful but too large to bring home on the back of the carrier pigeon that Lou and I came in on. Pictures of that, and the rest of the long weekend will be posted by the end of the week, I promise.