30 Years Together, Part Two: NYC and Points North

Today we hit the road to celebrate “30 Years Together – Part Two.”

Part One was the body-punishing first attempt at cross-country skiing back in February – a satisfying trip in terms of character and accomplishment. Pain is good, we assured each other. And the woodland trails were lovely.
30 Years – Part Two will be different in that our destination is not the working man’s Midwest, but the working man’s East – NYC and Queens! And while we will hike our feet to nubs and our joints to arthroscopic anguish on the concrete trails, it still won’t hurt like falling on cross-country skis. I know this.
So here’s the plan:
We will leave Dixieland on Sunday, September 30, after church. Andrew will preach and I’ll teach and then we’ll load the CRV with probably the most wrong-headed clothing for October in the the upper East, and we’ll drive as far as we can along the spine of Virginia. Our camp stove will supply the coffee that beggars all others including that Seattle liquid. Behind a Circle K or at a rest stop picnic table, a cup of our coffee is like a drill instructor setting the cadence. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b65RQtL4H3Q
And then, Monday, October 1, my happy birthday, we’ll make that giddy trip over the Hudson River into Manhattan right at Midtown and over the East River to Queens and check in to our Airbnb in Long Island City that has parking included!! Perks, and whatnot.
We look forward to Asian, Italian, Jewish, and Middle Eastern food in Queens.
A visit to our son-in-law’s high school, St. Francis Xavier, near Union Square.
Time with Ben and Kim Kaufmann, kin and friends.
A visit to the Cloisters up Riverside.
Another walk along the High Line because it’s really awesome.
And then!
We’ll leave the teeming city and visit the campus of the United States Military Academy at West Point, for Andrew. Once we get there, I’ll buy the T-shirt and really be enthusiastic about it, because I’ve always wanted to be a hero on the battlefield, ‘stomach of a lion’ and all that. But my heart will be feeling the call of the next stop which is for me.
Stillmeadow in Southbury, Connecticut. Home of Gladys Taber, a soulmate author and homemaker who lived, wrote, and homesteaded in the early years of the 1900s. Her books are little oases of pleasure in undistracted things.
And then!
We will continue north to Pine Plains, NY, and Fat Apple Farm. A Farm to Table Dinner in October replete with butchered meat demonstrations and yoga classes and art opportunities. Since I read Washington Irving”s “Legend of Sleepy Hollow” in American Literature I’ve dreamed of visiting the Hudson River Valley in October. Irving’s lush descriptions draw me: apple-mouthed swine on platters surrounded by every root vegetable known to New World pioneers, pies, gravies, and all the denizens of the barnyard converted to plump Sunday dinner. Add Sunday morning worship in Kingston, NY, at a reformed church plant, and what more could you ask from a 30 year anniversary trip??
We will keep you posted of highlights along the road. And we declare ourselves to be unworthy of all the blessings which our Lord showers on our heads.

~30 Years In: A Tableau~
I’ve been sewing in the dark for the last few days because the switch for the lights over the big table shorted out and died its death. We’ve discussed it a few times and so today I casually said, “I put in a call to So and So Electrical to get on their schedule.”
Understand, I had no manipulative motives here.
Him: “Oh, no. I can do this.”
Me: “Ok, but I thought when you went up into the attic you discovered that the wire has no play on it and without electrician’s tools (whatever those are) you can’t replace the fixture.”
Him: “Well, I’ve thought about it and I think I can do it.”
Me: “How?”
Him: “I don’t know yet, but I know I can.”
Me: “Okaaaay.”
Him after work last night and three trips to Marvin’s: “Ok, come stand over here one more time and holler when this wire wiggles.”
And wouldn’t you know, he did it.


Back Porch Devotions in September

Wing-whir and squeak
Of the resident hummingbird.
Mr. with a band of white at neck and tail –
A collar and tennies. His four-spouted feeder,
He says,
Is three spouts too many.
Scritter and crunch of two squirrels.
Brothers. Frenemies.
Chasing each other for
Possession of one pecan among ten
Thousand, in figure eights around trunk
And limb-split. Siblings obviously.
Dove whoo. Shell pieces dead-fall
Onto the tin porch roof
As the siblings truce to tap open and eat
Pecan meat.
Silent things add their inhalations and
Exhalations to the glory chorus;
Butterflies catch the early sun-slant on orange
Wing and light on a taller zinnia.
Chipmunks hug the ground, never looking up,
Intent on the earth.
Silent, too, are birds in flight, a feather ruffle on landing.
But from their tree-y houses, though lip-less,
They opine with
Consonants and vowels:
Answering one another
Impatiently, mothers with a work day ahead.
Cicadas trill on a sleepier key than they will
This evening. It’s early yet.