then every­one said goodbye

-- August 30th, 2014 --
hydrangea 2014

It’s always so hard to believe, when we wake up on the last day of sum­mer, that the next time we get out of bed it will be in Lon­don.  I’m too old-fashioned to think that’s nor­mal, no mat­ter how many sum­mers (and Christ­mases) we go through the unbe­liev­able tran­si­tion.  Change, and say­ing good­bye, is never my favorite thing.

We drove one last time to New Jer­sey, four weeks after the big Sum­mer Exper­i­ment of 2014, to pick up Avery at Jeanne and Cynthia’s where she’s lived, high at the top of their celes­tial house, com­mut­ing to New York.  Good­ness, the expe­ri­ences she has had, many of them she is anx­ious not to repeat, mostly of a com­mut­ing nature.  South Orange, New Jer­sey Tran­sit, the PATH train, Hobo­ken, Sea­cau­cus, Penn Sta­tion, Grand Cen­tral, Bridge­port, Sey­mour.  The Metro­Card in her wal­let can now be shelved.  But liv­ing with Jeanne and Binky?  That was heaven.

avery jeanne2                           We arrived for lunch, bring­ing egg salad made from the eggman’s last deliv­ery.  But there was no one at home!  I thought for a moment that they had all been beamed up by aliens (includ­ing Binky’s car).  In a moment, though, we found that Jeanne was tak­ing a quiet nap in the library, and then the girls came in from a most prof­itable trip to the con­sign­ment shop: glo­ri­ous sweater bar­gains!  We had our lunch, then said good­bye, feel­ing a funny cock­tail of emo­tions: nos­tal­gia for all the meals we’ve enjoyed around that kitchen table, relief that Avery’s sum­mer of tri-state drama had come to an end with no bones bro­ken, and sad­ness at say­ing good­bye. Avery, in her end-of-summer exhaus­tion, growled out the win­dow at the pass­ing land­scape.  “Blast you, Newark,” and then slept peace­fully all the way home. At home, we raced to the farmer’s mar­ket to meet Mike, Lau­ren and their kids for a pic­nic from the Chubby Oven, a move­able pizza feast: but they had run out of food!  A quick exchange of phone calls revealed that Mike and Lau­ren already knew this and were headed to Red Gate Farm armed with Di Palma’s piz­zas, which we devoured on the ter­race.  As the sun set, we moved inside for some seri­ous doll­house time for Abi­gail, for me to hold Gabriel on my shoul­der.  Rosemary’s gift, left behind for Abi­gail, was a big suc­cess. abigail magic flower

To think that we met Mike only because Anne-across-the-road thought he might be a can­di­date to adopt one of Avery’s shel­ter projects, the divine kit­ten Jes­sica.  Four years, two kids and count­less meals together later, they are a trea­sured addi­tion to the cast of char­ac­ters at Red Gate Farm.  It’s good to have friends who are at a dif­fer­ent (ear­lier or later) stage of life than where we are, fun to look back and remem­ber, or look ahead and imagine.

The last days slipped by. Every…