Thursday, June 21, 2007

A Day of Pleasure (mostly)

I didn’t post yesterday because I was busy having fun most of the day. In the morning, we picked up two of Onkel H’s writing group-mates for a trip to Christmas Cove (I believe it’s part of South Bristol, Maine – a few peninsulas up the coast). En route we enjoyed a vicarious trip to Italy recounted by Yoga Writer, who was the instructor for the class on memoir-writing that spawned the group. Even the 15-minute wait to get through Damariscotta, which is having its Main St. torn up and so has alternating one-lane traffic, was made enjoyable by good conversation. (An aside – if you ever want an outdoor job that pays about eight bucks an hour, I don’t think I’ve ever seen as many street repair “flaggers” employed as here in Maine.)

The scene of our get-together was a quintessential Maine family cottage – beautiful setting, well-designed and comfortable but not fancy, with generations of interesting and lovingly-chosen deorative bits. I especially liked the American Gothic wall in the kitchen. Centered by a photo of our host and hostess dressed and posed as Grant Wood’s iconic painting, a wall (or was it a door?) was covered with representations of everyone from Bill and Hillary to Ken and Barbie in the famous pose. Each guest had brought a salad component, Yoga Writer had baked challah and seven-grain rolls, and there were several desserts as well.

Notice the lamps in the pictures, which unfortunately don’t show up too well. The bases are figural bottles (look like Santa to me) which I remember from my childhood as holding either a syrup to make a fruity drink or possibly chocolate syrup for mixing in milk; the shades were made by our hostess, years ago, with delphiniums and a special kind of paper. Quaker Cousin and her mother had similar shades with autumn leaves, and I’m told the special paper is hard to find now. Advice from crafty people would be welcomed!

The host comes from an old and distinguished Maine family, and one of the most interesting things to me was that his mother was the “real” Miss Rumphius.

Barbara Cooney made her home on the same peninsula, and although she took several liberties with the biographical details (and also included elements of her own life and personality), she gratefully acknowledged the actual planter of the lupines. And lupines there were!

Here’s another picture of a very small detail that charmed me – shells on the path from the cottage to the driveway.

So, then we came to the less pleasant part of the day – a visit from the refrigerator repairman. Not that he’s not pleasant, and he’s the same guy who fixed our stove and saved us from spending $600 a while back. But this time he had to tell us that the occasional jet-engine noise was indeed the compressor, and if we wanted to fix it it would cost $300+, but on the other hand, the food is still cold, so if we can stand the occasional noise, we can wait a while to replace the fridge. Not the best outcome, but not the worst either.

After a light supper we went to Freeport to see a production of Oliver! Now, this was a production Onkel Hankie Pants had auditioned for, and they didn’t even want him for the Ensemble. While most of the cast did well, there were a couple of parts (non-singing, non-dancing) that Onkel H could have played better, in our humble opinion. The kids in the show were quite excellent, though. Three of them had been in the Lyric Theater’s production of The Sound of Music earlier this year. The show was also cut quite a bit, so I’m not sure if someone who didn’t know the story would have been able to follow it. Still, it was the preview evening and cannot be judged as harshly as Opening Night. We had a good time anyway, and I’ve added to my life list of musicals I’ve seen “live”.

At the end of the show, on the day before Summer Solstice, it was still twilight outside. Home, and not long after, to bed.

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