Saturday, September 17, 2011

No Lobster for You

I have the schoolhouse to myself again this morning. Though it's just past 7:00 my eldest granddaughter is on her way back home to Cape Cod and the other granddaughter is still snoozing away. It means so much to us that Emily drove all the way (about an hour and 15 minutes to 3 hours depending on traffic across one of two totally inane bridges each with a rotary at the bottom just to spice up the Friday night drives) to spend a day with us. Other than a short conversation yesterday there's been no talk of lingual hole punching, but she seems committed to it. It gives me the heebie jeebies just thinking about it. I hear a rooster. This is a farm and the animals obviously don't care about sleeping kids, or late night revelry. He's got two things on his little mind, the first of which is to eat. The school bell is still sitting there on the fireplace mantel, tempting me. Knowing how much both Kat and Alyssa value sleep time, I just can't bring myself to ring it. Yet.

Saturday - September 17, 2011 - Tiverton, Rhode Island

This Saturday morning starts off cloudy and damp with a lot of dew on the ground. It takes me back to growing up in Newport where a damp start to the day was the norm. You can tell it's going to be another beautiful day when the sun warms the place up. The Little Compton crew showed up and they had NO problem waking their sister. Saturday is market day at Four Corners and that is where I headed with a couple of the kids. Normally Kristin would have a table and sell some of the farm products, but because (or thanks to, depending on your disposition) our visit she is taking the day off. The baker however did not, and we took full advantage. We returned with freshly baked croissants and muffins and while Adam and Kristin did the farm chores we entertained (and were entertained by) the four munchkins.

An example of the conversation: What's your favorite color?

Jonathan - Red (a boy's natural response).
Megan - Bluish/Green like the ocean on a summer day (our romantic).
Alyssa - Bruise Blue (huh?).
Jami - Manly Pink (how does she make this stuff up?).

While we had the kids attention, I thought I would pass along some of my worldly knowledge. Alicia had given me two cigars at dinner the night before. She had been given them while on a business trip to Atlantic City and rather than smoke them she saved them for me (what a sweetheart). One had a split wrapper (beautiful, shiny, Connecticut leaf), and as everyone knows (or should - even 8 year olds), you can't smoke a broken cigar. I decided we would dissect the cigar, explaining how the leaf was grown, and aged, and cut into strips, and then packed tightly with a very thin almost transparent single wrapper wound around it, holding it together. They were mesmerized and I was feeling pretty good about this little information transfer. It is a schoolhouse after all. With the lesson under their belts, they took off to "work the farm" while we got ready for a day with Edward, Alicia, Zachary and Taylor.

Ed and Alicia have a new boat and they invited us to spend the afternoon with them and the kids on Narragansett Bay. We don't have to be asked twice. After a quick shower I double checked to see that the munchkin kids were working. Adam had just arrived with a trailer load of round hay bales for the goats, and was in the process of offloading them (with Jonathan's help of course). The girls were working somewhere out back and I had a little time to kill before we left (not suggesting I was waiting for Kathy or anything). Adam asked if I had ever operated a backhoe (no) and did I want to (yes). What real cigar dissecting man doesn't? In minutes I had received my lesson, and was excavating like a pro. Not really, but I sure look like I knew what I was doing in the pictures. Of course I had Alyssa there to guide me. Without her I would have been lost. It was pure adult-as-a-child fun.

We drove to Melville Basin in Portsmouth where the boat is docked and it's a real beauty. Edward handles it like a pro, and his crew knows exactly what to do and when to do it (unlike me). In the back of my mind I was concerned that a hard bounce might shake loose one of those (expletive deleted) calcium ear rocks that had caused so much angst at the end of our trip last year. I did not want an episode at the beginning of this trip. Edward told me he would take it easy as we gently cruised northward along the coast of Aquidneck Island and into Bristol harbor. Everything looks so different when approached from the water. On the way back, thinking that perhaps good fortune would smile on us, we looked for Zachary's lobster pots but couldn't locate them. The hurricane we suffered through in Virginia must have caused the pots to shift when it hit the bay, so there would be free lunch today.

On the way back Edward asked if he could open it up a little since the protected bays were very calm. On the way out he had kept this thoroughbred purring along at half speed in deference to me. With my consent he pushed the throttle forward, the bow lifted and we were speeding south, Zachary standing as if he was on solid ground, and Alicia and Taylor sitting on the front deck their hair whipping around their faces. It was a moment to savor. Back at the dock the crew secured the boat with military precision. I couldn't help notice the name: Eatzs. Ed, Alicia, Taylor, Zachary, Silveira - acronymed out. It's also a clever homage to Ed's profession, supplying restaurants with high-end food products. It was a beautiful way to spend the day.

On shore, we shared another special moment. Since we had two cars, I asked Edward to ride with me while Kathy rode back with Alicia, Taylor, and Zachary (who was driving). Edward and I watched my grandson handle the car with aplomb as if he had been driving for years. When a father sees his child acting in a responsible, adult way it puts an emphatic point on how quickly time is passing. Neither one of us missed the truth in that. With no free lobster we decided on the Atlantic Grille in Middletown for dinner. It was very good and an opportunity to chat about what was going on in their lives. We love them and miss them.

We ended (almost) the evening sitting in Ed and Alicia's backyard with a hearty fire going in the Zachary designed and fabricated chimera (in mid-September the Rhode Island nights already have a chill to them). Kathy gave Taylor a framed picture that she had painted in Taylor's favorite colors. Like me when turning something for someone in particular, there is a lot of care and love that goes into the creation. It looked great on her bedroom wall. Some wine and conversation and we were ready to head back to Tiverton for a good night's sleep.

We stopped at Adam and Kristin's to say goodnight and stole the only child who was awake (Jami) to keep us company at the schoolhouse. The three of us sat around talking, she is quite the conversationalist, and it has been reported to me that while I rested my eyes for a few moments, Kathy read to her from my journal, the two of them sharing memories. And making more.

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