Me: "Who has the best seat in the house, me or daddy?"

Adam: "Well, Daddy's is nice, but yours is best. Your's is squishier."

Friday, September 6, 2013

Summer Album I ~ Francine

Something strange happens in September.  I find myself holding with a garden-gloved death-grip to the 'lasts' of Summer; last cooling swim, last taste of sun-sweetened fruit, last lazy-late-night dinner in the gazebo. We like to think 'tis but a small thing to go back to school, to go back to regular work hours for Guy.  We pretend homework won't cut in on our all-too-swiftly dimming evenings; that the early mornings will not make our eyes heavy in those last warm late nights.  It's never true.  By September, Summer is only looking over her shoulder at us as she traipses out of Autumns oncoming path.

But this August, as we were still in the midst of Summer's sweet glory, something else glorious visited us, or rather, someone; precious Francine.

Francine had not been able to come for a visit since the day Natalie was born, and it was nearly impossible to cram enough hugs and smiles and stories into the short day and night of her stay.  Like chocolate for me, and potato chips for Guy, a little bit of visiting with Francine only begs for more.   

As usual, she arrived bearing gifts:

 She swept into the house with arms laden; organic tomatoes, peppers, corn on the cob, and an enormous flat of organic strawberries that were so sweet and abundant, we could eat with both hands.  Strawberries are a bit decadent around here, and usually selfishly guarded and handed out one and two at a time.  But these were so ripe, so begging to be enjoyed before they lost their magic, that we sat with bowl-fulls in our laps,  laughing and chatting and unabashedly wiping berry juice from our chins.
In familiar reply to Francine's gifts, the children showered her with homemade crafts and drawings, and Guy spent the afternoon preparing a lovely feast, staring the fresh corn Francine had brought.

 Parboiled and then roasted...

Plates were piled high

Grilled chicken on ciabatta bread with avocado spread, and Mexican corn
 (mayo and hot pepper sauce, garlic and paprika,
 then topped with Cotija grated cheese - yum!).

 Don't forget the black beans, homemade 
mango salsa and homemade black bean and corn salsa.

There is something so perfectly magical 
about eating outside on summer evenings.

 Time doesn't matter, only savory food eaten
 in slow bites between stories and laughter. 

  And while my yard never quite manages to become
 the yard I envision in my wishful heart,
 it still holds the sunset in the leaves on the trees,
and in the pink glow on my children's faces.

 I had no other gift to offer Francine than an armful of squirmy, delicious baby.
  Francine joyfully accepted, toting little Natalie around, and cozy-ing with her for hours. 

 We only got to have Francine for one night, but she and I stayed up visiting into the wee hours.  Natalie slept contentedly on Francine's lap for all those hours.  She was stockpiling.  I know the feeling.  I try to do it too, when Francine comes. 
But Natalie will learn eventually; 
there is no way to get enough Francine.

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