So, I told you about John and Jackie trekking across 520 miles (math-wise that's 1,040 round trip) of soon to be frozen tundra to come help us with our temperature troubles, our warming woes, our heating hullabaloo, our climate conundrum, our degree debacle, our...
Sorry. You get the point.
While John and Guy were busily cutting a large-ish hole into the wall of the house, Jackie and I took a jaunt into Jackson on official business dropping Addyboy at work, and sort'a accidentally stumbled into The Hub, to show Jackie where my kiddos have classes. Then whoops!, we tripped and fell into the Hein & Company Bookstore. It's an amazing Harry-Potter-esque place, that sucks you in and won't let you leave.
So you see,
Certain delays simply could NOT be avoided.
We staggered around helplessly, completely subject to the whims of old book smells, rustic romantic lighting and ancient dust. It happened that just then my husband called. As you know, any time a fix-it project is begun, about 15 minutes later a run to the hardware store will be required. The menfolk needed doohickies and whatchamabobbits for the heater installation, and we were tasked with finding them. I believe the conversation went like this:
Guy: "Are you on your way home?"
Me: "Something like that."
Well, technically we were going to end up home, so we were on the return leg of the trip. Somewhat.
(shhhhhh. Don't tell. He'll find out when he reads this).
We headed to the Jackson big-box hardware store, and much to our mutual dismay, we could not fit a 16 foot long piece of lumber, the only option for what we needed, into Guy's Hundai. We scooted over to a place called Meeks, and the nice fellow there thought it seemed silly for us to have to buy a whole 16 feet of wood when we only needed 4 feet, so he just cut a bit off and gave it to us for free. That's Jackson hospitality for you. It wasn't the first time, and it surely won't be the last.
Guy called and let us know that they had decided to see if the little Pine Grove hardware store had the other baubles they needed, so we were off the hardware-hook. We then felt it was only prudent to stop by the little town of Volcano, because IT WAS THERE.
I showed Jackie the Volcano Country Store, the oldest continuously running store in the state of California, built in 1850. Cute owner Debbie was as sweet and welcoming to Jackie as she was the first time we met her.
The shelves are mixed with modern and vintage products, some for sale, others for display.
Well, we tore ourselves away from Volcano to deliver the 4 feet of wood we had acquired, and offer our help to the men. As our husbands are quite manly men, we were not needed. Shucks.
What do you do when you are with your bosom friend and the children don't know you are home? You run away into the woods, of course! (quickly! Hurry, before they catch your scent!)
Jackie and John live with their three girls and sundry dogs, cats, chickens and horses in a beautiful house (well people and pets in, hourses and chicks out) on what I would call a "prairie" (though Jackie calls it a desert). Much to Jackie's chagrin, there are only a smattering of trees there. Jackie was smitten by our woods, and in a new way, so was I. The rain over just two days had been like a magic spell, waking patches of dry, brown moss into lush green shag rugs on the trees and rocks all around.
She managed to find about 7 uses for a leaf.
Here, you will enjoy seeing her reenact several scenes from history, accompanied by various British-y voices.
We tromped all around our little wood, and seeing it through Jackie's fairytale lens made me see it with the little thrill I had the first time we saw the house. All the inspections and documents and approvals had quite smothered my enthusiasm about our lovely wood.
I wish you all could go on a walk in the woods with Jackie. She sees magic everywhere. She makes you realize that you really actually DO believe in fairies and such, but that the rude old world has snuffed out the candle of your imagination. But luckily, Jackie carries imagination matches.
Alas, one cannot stay in the woods.
Moss is not excellent toilet paper.
Jackie went to my dad's place to visit him. He was convinced she had grown several inches since college, which is very tricky of her. It was fun to listen to them catch up. I heard him tell stories about their mutual childhood stomping grounds in Montana that I'd never heard before.
The gentlemen worked quite late into the evening, but when all was done, there was a gorgeous little stove burning away in my dad's place, and he was toasty and content. We stole away to one of the few places that is open after nine in Jackson, and enjoyed dinner and conversation, both, rich and sweet. We talked about hard things that both our families have been through with our children, and I felt so understood, so loved. The time was over, far, far to soon.
They left the next morning.
After Jackie left Sunday morning, we texted back and forth pretending that they forgot something and simply must turn right around and come back. It's the only way I could cope knowing they were getting further and further away.
After they left, Jackie sent me the link to her pictures from the trip. It was so interesting to see my world through her eyes. Even the mess in my studio seemed to carry the mystique of purposeful-clutter, rather than neglected-haphazardness. I think it was Natalie's little shoes. Children's outgrown shoes are precious relics, after all.
And then there were the books. I've told you before that Jackie and I gift each other with books. Well, Jackie snuck and hid two sweet books in our house, one on my painting easel, and one in the window accompanied by a sweet fairy door.
Better than the books were the notes inside them, too dear to share here, but ones that will be sought out and read on future cloudy days, when I'm having trouble feeling the magic of our enchanted wood.
At least now John knows the way to our house in the woods.
Maybe he'll make his way here again,
and maybe he'll bring Jackie with him.