|Say hi to Gabriel!|
We made our way to the mountain house, all my sibs and their families under one roof with mom and dad, and we had a blissful five days together. I love having unstructured time from morning 'til night. Drink some coffee, shoot the breeze, hold a baby, go out and get sweaty, come back and drink a beer while making some trenchant observations on the State of the World Today, read a magazine, holler at kids, eat some cheese, sass and be sassed, ride in the jeep, play some cards, stay up late chatting, let the dog out one last time, stand outside and shiver in the cool air, go to bed. That was the basic itinerary and if heaven is like that, it will be great and I'll totally already know how to do it.
The only bad thing that happened was that, one day, my dad came home from a trip to the dump and said, "I saw what looked like a pair of nightstands in the back of the Swap Hut." (You might remember my mentioning the Swap Hut. It's where I found my owl lamp. O Hut of wonders!)
I said, "A pair of what? A what? A pair? What did they look like?" He said that they'd been at the back of the hut, but he could see that they were "blond wood, kind of blocky, maybe you could describe them as mid century modern."
He had left them there. I vowed to remedy that.
An hour later, my brother-in-law Jason and I were heading down the mountain. I don't know where we were going, but we had some kids with us and we were going into town. I asked him to please detour by the recycle center so I could peer into the Swap Hut.
The nightstands were gone. There were no nightstands. There was nothing in the hut. Only emptiness, in the hut and in my heart. I got back in the car and fumed to Jason, who didn't seem that upset about not needing to get out of the car at the dump and load furniture. I said, "I can't believe he left them there! A pair. A pair! You take a pair of anything, I don't care if it's gilded turds!"
Jason pursed his lips, eyes on the road. "Gilded turds," he said, with an air of meditation. I think the subject of his meditation was how crude his sister-in-law is.
In my mind's eye, the Lost Nightstands have become someone's meticulously cared-for but discarded Heywood Wakefields. Oh well. I'll go on. But it still hurts!
Some of our adventures need their own posts, and Baby Gabriel, the cutest and smartest baby ever seen, definitely does. But here are a few pictures, and more are here.
|See how I'm just smiling but Amy is really selling it?|
|Jason fussed at by ranger for riding on top of jeep backseat.|
|He's a hunter-trapper.|
This family group picture, oh man. The night before, Amy and Mom and I were agreeing on the need for such a picture, and I said something like, "Okay everybody, you know these group picture situations are stressful and there will be people who don't want to be in the picture and we'll lose patience with each other and there may be some bitching, crying, and snapping involved. Let's just commit to the process and we'll get through."
The next morning, while a large contingent was still down at the Waffle House (Ava wanted to experience the WaHo), I scouted locations and checked lighting. Then they returned, and Jason and Dad moved a bench out in front of the house, with only a minimum of lip. I did, at one point, have to bark, "I just want you to stand there and reflect light!" Which caused them to snicker and make smartypants rejoinders. Lacking a proper tripod, I built one out of a kitchen stool, three game boxes, and an overturned plastic ice cream bucket. Then Hank was upset and not wanting to be in the picture, causing Amy and then me, independently and unknown to each other, to offer him bribes for cheerful compliance. Finally everyone drifted toward the photo spot and assembled themselves, where they got that look of impatient passivity that people have when they're waiting for the photographer to do something.
Y'all, I loved this moment so much. They were all standing there while I looked through the viewfinder one more time, and then pushed the button to start the timer. Then everyone suddenly has that sense of urgency, you know? Like, "Okay, come over here! Right here! Quick!" Even though you have ten leisurely seconds and you could saunter over to take your place before the shutter clicks.
But I did hurry to them. I pressed the button and ran around and up the slight hill to slide in behind Hank. We did this a few times. Afterwards I realized that I'd felt pure joy. Seeing the family arrayed there, expectant and still, with me in motion. The crunch of the gravel and the beeping of the camera. Matt holding out his hand to me, beckoning. Running to them, whirling around, and smiling. And watching them all wait for the time to smile. They couldn't see themselves like I could--that's the photographer's privilege, I guess--but then I could join them and be part of the scene too. There was just such pleasure in it.
I hope you found some pleasure in your week. I missed y'all, I'm back on duty now. xoxo