Here are two things that made me happy since I came home. I saw the frog while I was watering. The baby to come will be my first great grandchild.
A lot has happened since I came home.
My third husband, Hugh, died in Atlanta. He would have been 80 on his next birthday. He was having dinner with his girlfriend at his apartment. They had planned to go out, but he wasn’t feeling well, so she got take-out food. They had just finished their appetizer when he had a coughing fit, collapsed and apparently suffered a stroke. I heard about this from his first wife, who was later called to the hospital. I was married to Hugh for 20 years and we were still friends. He was a lawyer, a good and honest man; loving to me and to his sons (he had four). His problem was a life-long struggle with alcohol. I find his sudden absence from the world difficult to think about.
My second daughter, Clare, who is presently in Atlanta, tells me her fiancé has swine flu, complicated by pneumonia. He has been very sick, but not bad enough to be hospitalized. Soon they are both going off to Afghanistan to work for an NGO. It’s a perilous world.
Since coming home I have played Mah Jongg with friends. We have an island game going now. My new playmates learned the game quickly, and there is enthusiasm for it. The first time we played in my house, next time in the wine tasting studio up the street. The others played while I was in England, and last week we played at Dianne and Mike’s place in their “tower,” a little room they have recently built as the only second story to their house. The room serves as a game room and a guest room for their grandchildren. It has a marvelous view of both sides of the island. To the east is Hale’s Passage, to the west is Legoe Bay.
Jerry and I walk every night after dinner with the poodles. We do a circuit, down to Hale’s passage, up past the firehouse, turn to overlook Legoe Bay and then home. We pass great beauty and lots of grazing animals. On Friday there was a cow (actually a black steer), loose on the road. We tried to pass by on the other side of the road, but the steer took an unfriendly interest in the poodles. The poodles barked. Jerry stomped at the steer and shooed it back, but for a while it continued to lunge at us. I walked quickly down to Harmony’s, thinking it was theirs. They said it had been 5 years since their cattle were in that field, and it belonged to Grangers. I asked if they would call Grangers.
As we rounded the corner we saw 4 Grangers, including Earl who is almost 90, swoop down on the steer. John Granger’s trotter ponies dashed across the field to watch, and about 15 of the llamas stood at rapt attention to see the spectacle of 3 female humans and an old man herding the young black steer back to his home pasture. There was a lot of hand clapping and shouting, and the animal finally obeyed its masters and joined the other cattle which were calmly munching grass.
On Saturday I went to the island market and I bought some beets and got a free zucchini because it had grown too large. I talked to friends. Naomi was selling the jewelry she makes from her big bead collection. Naomi’s son died this year, and she has had a difficult time. But she visited a daughter and grandchildren in California and that was a help. I listened to Jill playing her violin with two other musicians; one had a guitar, the other a banjo. They were playing soft country music and it sounded lovely. I saw Lis, whose daughter, Olivia, just graduated from Smith College. Olivia has a table at the market where she sells delicious baked pastries and cakes that she makes herself. She always sells out within a half hour of the market opening, well before the county health inspector can come around to shut her down for not having an approved kitchen. By the time I got to the market the table was empty. I saw Chuck, the island organic farmer, who isn’t farming this year because he has multiple myeloma. He has been having chemotherapy, and I almost didn’t recognize him without his beard. He is doing well, though, and has only one more treatment to go.
On Saturday afternoon Jerry and I walked over to wine tasting. The wines were good as usual and there was lots of lively conversation. Richard, the host, was holding forth about the wines. He really talks the talk. He is an educator at heart, and when I said I couldn’t tell the difference between the first two wines we tasted, (both light white wines, cool and refreshing,) he gave me a little of each at the same time. By sipping first one and then the other I found I learned something and could detect a slight variation.
On Sunday my grandson James and his wife Maria came to get the small baby bed I brought back from England with me. Next month their baby, Julian, will be born, and he will sleep in that bed which had been his father’s, it seems like yesterday.
My friend and house sitter Linda came as well. At dinner Linda told us all about the perfidy of her erstwhile boyfriend. Apparently he had hundreds of other women and he milked them all, Linda included, for money and possessions. Linda had gone to the RV he was living in, provided by her father, to reclaim some of her possessions. He had threatened to call the police. I called my lawyer daughter for some legal advice.
The weather was beautiful, and I cooked the entire dinner on the grill. We had steak, the large free zuccini and roasted vegetables (potatoes, beets, carrots, and onions.) I parboiled the carrots and beets, then tossed all the veggies in chopped garlic, halapenio and olive oil and put them on the grill in foil. I sliced the zuccini and cooked it on the grill in foil as well. A salad went with all that. It was good.
Tomorrow I am off again. This time to New York, but only for 4 days. My oldest son, Steve is to have an operation there. Last fall he had an accident on his bicycle. His collar bone was dislocated so that it is sticking into his neck. He has not been able to find a surgeon willing to correct it until now. He lives in Charleston, and no surgeon there would do it. The neck is a tricky place to operate because there are so many blood vessels and nerves in it. The surgeon in New York who will do the operation is the world’s expert on this surgery. I want to be there.
I’ll be back with you all next week.