Monday, September 10, 2012

home again, home again....

We're back from vacation on Oak Island, North Carolina.

Seems we missed the humidity in New England. Every day on the beach was 85 with a 20-25 mile an hour breeze off the ocean and no clouds in sight. The wind keeps it cool and keeps the bugs inland. Truly great weather as it always seems to be on Oak Island in September--except when a hurricane comes....

Since four of the six people who go each year to Oak Island were born in West Virginia (Bern, daughter Mimi, friend John and me) we fly the West Virginia state flag from the deck of the house. To further explain the wind, the flag is flat out blowing the whole time we're there. WV was born on June 20, 1863, which means next June 20 will be the 150th birthday of my home state. I'm planning either a big party or a bus trip to Charleston (anyone interested in 3 days and 2 nights in the state capitol for the festivities?

The Latin motto of the state is on a ribbon on the flag: Montani semper Liberi--"Mountaineers are always free". There's a woodcutter in buckskin holding an ax and a coal miner with a helmet that looks like a WWI doughboy helmet, holding a pick ax. Really a nice flag. the whole thing is circled with rhododendron--the state flower.

We stay in Frank's Folly. It is a great house. There are 6 bedrooms and 3 1/2 baths, two flat screen TVs and the best equipped beach house kitchen I've ever stayed in. And remember, We've gone to Oak Island for 33 of the last 39 years--so I know something about the quality of the stuff in a kitchen...There is everything you'd have in your kitchen and of very high quality. Since one of the things we do at the beach is cook a lot, that's a big plus. This year we had grouper, shrimp, crab, red snapper and several other things from the local sea. Tim and Mimi bought a grill, which we left and did remarkable things on it two different nights. Food is a big part of our Oak Island life.

Well, there's Bern and me. And Mimi and Tim (loves of our hearts) and two great friends, John and Sherry. Sherry's husband Jack would make it complete but he is the head of a child care center and can't leave New Haven in September, when we always go. I've known John since the late 60's and have spent as much time with him as with any other friend. (I never realized that until this moment!) We met Sherry in 1980 when we moved to New Haven and Bern has been in 'Group'--a woman's group with no particular agenda and never more than six members--for at least 30 years. Tim and Mimi went to Bennington College at the same time and were friends, but it was only when they both were in NYC a few years later that they became a couple. And have been for, I don't know 7-10 years. I asked Tim this trip if I could refer to him as my "son-in-law" when I talk about him to other people. He said that was fine since he called Bern and me 'the in-laws' already. We love him like a rock. The thing that makes this all work is that the six of us could probably live together all the time (with Jack who would make it even better). We just 'get along' in lots of unspoken ways. We're all left-wing politically, which helps. We all read a great deal and like to talk about what we read. We all love to cook and eat (except for John, he just loves to eat enough to make up for not cooking!). And, all of us, in our own way, are really funny. (I don't mean 'odd', though that applies as well, but 'humorous' and ironic and droll. We laugh more than we eat or read or sleep when we're on Oak Island--which, I submit, makes life worth living in a remarkable way. People who laugh a lot live together in peace....

More later about the trip....

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some ponderings by an aging white man who is an Episcopal priest in Connecticut. Now retired but still working and still wondering what it all means...all of it.