Last night we had our first grand meal since February. Some members of our family are here for a summer visit and we are doing the things we love to do: swims in Ruby Lake, watching children play on the grass as the sun moves from east to west, and eating dinners under the vines on the deck. Nothing much changes, though everyone is older, there’s one new person to get to know and love. Yesterday Forrest prepared smoked pork ribs and cauliflower on the barbeque (using the apple prunings I’d saved for just this sort of occasion) and I cooked prawns, made a watermelon and feta salad with mint brought decades ago from John’s grandmother’s garden in England. There was Wild Goose Pinot Gris on ice in the silver bowl Angelica gave us a few years ago. There were also mosquitoes and early wasps but it didn’t really matter. We do this whenever we can and it’s as predictable as the sun’s passage. I’m reminded that I wrote about our summer dinners in Mother Tongue Publishing’s The Summer Book:
And now it’s time, the sun-dial showing itself beneath a tangle of green leaves smelling of lemon and loud with bees, the yellow-faced, orange-rumped, Sitka, and western. The table is set; time to come up from the lake. Old songs play on the stereo, the ones we’ve sung all these years in summer. You can’t hurry love. Come along, your bodies cool, duck-itchy, the baby fat turned to muscle, your own children in your arms as you scatter damp towels and hang bathing suits on the railings. Friends are bringing food from their cars, even the ones who’ve died and are remembered on birthdays or the anniversary of a wake. Here they are, with their dishes of tomatoes, prawns, skewers of chicken, the familiar brownies dusted with icing sugar. They are standing on the patio where the young robins are learning to fly, where the lizards cross from woodshed to stones in the blink of an eye. I’ve waited forever to welcome them here. The table is set, beautiful platters with barbecued salmon, chunks of lamb stuffed with garlic and rosemary, warm bread, little potatoes drawn from their earthy nest and roasted in olive oil, that salad gathered in early morning. Bowls of raspberries wait, picked from the canes that have only just been planted, cream whipped to soft peaks. I’ve gathered enough chairs for everyone to sit, taken the summer plates out of their box, painted with figs and dark grapes. The fig tree a seedling, the grapes sending out first tendrils. Wind-chimes are making music of the air and the Supremes sing. There are babies and children and the very old. Time to open the cold wine, fill the glasses all polished and shining. Nighthawks swoop for mosquitoes, quick as sparks in the falling light. The loons are mourning the end of the day.
You can’t hurry love.
No, you just have to wait,
You got to trust, give it time.
No matter how long it takes.
It’s still too early in the course of the pandemic to invite our friends but expanding our pod of two to include some family means everything to me after an isolated winter and spring. It did take a long time but last night it was as though nothing bad had every happened.