Sunday, July 23, 2017

Sunday stories

There are several truths that must be told -- perhaps all are obvious to you, but still, I should be blunt and write it as it is.

First of all, I must admit it: I am a weed addict.

I heard a story on the news about a guy like me, who just wouldn't face up to it until his wife spelled it out for him: what started for you as a minor event turned into an obsessive drive. From a trivial thing there came the addiction.

Yes, I suppose the same is true for me.

Indeed, my first thoughts when I get up this morning are not -- I must finish cleaning the kitchen after yesterday's dinner, but -- I must find time today to go out to my flower fields, because it's too hard to be eating breakfast on the porch with a view toward spent lily blooms and sprouted locust and creeping wood sorrel and who knows what else.

Yep. A weed addict.

Despite promises of dry weather, the rains keep popping up in forceful cloudbursts and the bugs rejoice and multiply. Yet I will withstand it all just to pull the weeds, snip the blooms and tend to my flowers.

But not immediately. Ed and I have a quick and small breakfast interlude. There is a family brunch later on and one cannot be totally piggish about eating before the noon hour.

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And here's the second truth: I do love all family meals, whether they're at the farmhouse, or at daughters' houses, or restaurants here, or  Chicago.  They are always festive, comfortable, happy events. But just as I have a special fondness for breakfast with Ed each morning, so, too, I hold a reserved spot -- a sweet special love for family brunches. Maybe it's because I never otherwise eat brunch -- not with friends, not with just Ed -- it's always with daughters and their families. It is, therefore, always wonderful.

This morning we are all at Forequarter -- a longtime family favorite that has only recently (to my knowledge) offered Sunday brunch.

And guess who else loves, loves, loves it when the young families come together here, in Madison?

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Yep: Snowdrop.  She just cannot stop smiling.

So many laps to sit on!

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So many faces smiling right back at her...

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Even the bear, with a claw suspended over the little girl seems... well, at leas nonthreatening.

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It is true that after a Sunday brunch, there is the inevitable good bye to the young couple as they must head back home to Chicago.

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Just one more chance for Snowdrop to hold her aunt's hand...

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And they're off. But, Chicago isn't the other end of the world and even if I don't quite see them as often as I would like, knowing that they're close by makes it easier to see them drive off.

Now I must get back to the farmette, past freshly harvested fields where sandhill cranes have taken to hanging out...

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And into my netted armor, so that I can take a big bucket and head out to do my work in the flower fields.

There, things are in order once more!

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I have to admit to one more thing: when I work on a mature flower bed, I always, always have a song running through my head, for the entire time I'm there. Lately, it's been this one: "Nymphs and Shepherds" by Purcell.

Nymphs and shepherds, come away,
In this grove let's sport and play;
For this is Flora's holiday,
Sacred to ease and happy love,
To music, to dancing and to poetry.
Your flocks may now securely rest
While you express your jollity!
Nymphs and shepherds, come away.

The mood is exactly right. As perfect as the lilies that are standing proud proud and tall!

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Jollity and love. Renewal, growth, beauty, expressed in a field of flowers.

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Evening. The young family is here for Sunday dinner.

Snowdrop is growing alright: stronger, more patient, she and Ed do things that even a month ago would have been too tough for her.

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We eat on the porch and occasionally, I'll throw a glance toward the cleaned up garden, feeling the satisfaction of having kept up with its demands today.

But mostly, my gaze is in this direction:

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A happy girl! She had a grand weekend. And so did I!

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