I know I’ve been silent for more than a few days now. What can I say…it was a holiday weekend, I left town, and I had no internet connection for 3 whole days. Really. Three. Whole. Days. And I survived. And then I came home and logged on and was immediately overwhelmed by the amount of email and spam in my inboxes. I finally finished digging myself out almost 36 hours later.
For Labor Day weekend I headed up north to Hanover, New Hampshire. Some good family friends (we consider them extended family) live up there and were having a big celebration on Sunday. So I went as the family representative. My dad and DH went to law school together, and DH literally has known me my entire life (he sneaked into the hospital after visiting hours the day I was born). His partner JF entered the picture a year later. Here we are 30 years later and I’m amazed a just how lucky I am to have two such incredible people in my life. I’m even more amazed that they are still together after all these years, despite society (for the most part) not accepting them for who they are and who they love. But they made it. And as different as they are (and oh boy are they different), there is so much love there it’s humbling. And knowing that they love me and that I always have a place in their home and in their lives is so priceless I don’t know how to describe it.
Enough sappiness…they also throw a great party. JF arranged for my dog and I to stay with a very nice woman, ED, who lived nearby. ED was more than happy to have a dog in her house again for a few days, and lucky for me Aussie was on her best behavior (she always behaves well in other people’s homes…hm…). I got up nice and early on Saturday and hit the road, arriving into Hanover by early afternoon without incident and without encountering any traffic to speak of (can we say miracle?!). ED and I had a nice visit and Aussie made a thorough inspection of ED’s very beautiful and fenced in yard (it’s been awhile since the dog and I have had one of those and Aussie was in heaven) before ED and I headed over to DH and JF’s for a delicious spaghetti dinner. As always, DH and JF pulled together a very eclectic, intelligent, entertaining, and generally wonderful group of people. The conversation was fun and overall just fantastic. So many interesting people to talk to. And the spaghetti sauce that JF made was so good. As was the garlic bread with chunks of garlic sitting on each crusty piece. Delicious. And then there was raspberry or strawberry-rhubarb pie and various ice cream flavors for dessert. It was a feast! After dinner ED and I headed back to her place to let the dog out and get a nice long night’s sleep.
Sunday we got up and read the paper for a bit. ED told me that there’s a craft fair on Sundays in the same place there’s a farmers market on Saturdays just across the state line into Vermont. I had obviously missed the farmers market, but the craft fair sounded like a lovely way to pass the day until the big celebration for DH and JF that afternoon. So we said goodbye to the dog (Aussie made herself right at home and was decidedly unconcerned about our departure and immediately laid down on the couch for a nap) and headed over to Vermont. The craft fair was full of local artists from nearby towns in New Hampshire and Vermont. Woodcarvers, lots of jewelry makers, an incredible glass blower, and all sorts of fabric crafts including silk screened t-shirts, things made from recycled fabrics, hand-spun wool yarn, and various knitted and crocheted things. So much talent in a rather small space. The crafts were beautiful. I even found a belated birthday gift for my friend Catechresis (surprise!) that I will put in the mail soon. And ED and I got a gift for DH and JF that was just perfect (they thought so too when they opened it!).
After wandering and admiring everything, we made a quick stop at the local Co-Op for some local maple syrup for me (grade B, nice and dark and thick, and you can’t usually find that grade in the supermarket) and some pure maple sugar candy to share back at work. Then we headed to the house to change (the day had warmed up into a beautiful and sunny day that wasn’t too hot…absolutely perfect weather) and take care of the dog before heading to the party site.
We arrived at the Storrs Pond Recreation Area and were immediately put to work by JF (he has a habit of doing this). They had a collection of pictures of the two of them through the years to be hung for people to look through. These included everything from their class photos from elementary school and other childhood photos, photos from around the time that they met, various photos of them individually, photos of them with friends and family, to photos of them together from the past 30 years. So much fun to look through. It was hard to stay focused on the task of hanging them because we kept stopping to look and laugh and ask questions (when? where? who’s this? OMG so young!)!
They also had the friendship quilt that was made for them for their 20 year celebration. A friend sneaked into their house and stole their address book and sent the information to another friend. She in turn sent each person on that contact list a quilting square and a request to put something personal on it. She then incorporated all those squares from everyone into a beautiful hand stitched quilt for DH and JF to treasure. Such amazing handiwork! It’s incredible to see how the two of them have touched so many lives. And it’s held up beautifully through the past 10 years.
Other guests started arriving, and tickets were handed out for the raffle. Now, the door prizes were really more of an opportunity for DH and JF to give away some of the massive amounts of stuff they’ve gathered (few people leave their house empty handed). And it included some really nice prizes: like books (with the authors present to sign them, no less!) and some of JF’s amazing photographs (including copies of HIS new book!). Oh, and JF had fun telling a story about each person that won. I was drawing numbers (see? he gives out jobs!) and I made sure I did not draw mine…god only knows what embarrassing story from one of the many visits made during my childhood he would have come up with!
The afternoon was full of much feasting, an opportunity for guests to turn the tables and tell stories about JF and DH (such fun!), a surprise serenade by an excellent Elvis impersonator from JF to DH, there was a DJ, a little dancing, and lots of excellent conversation with all the interesting people in attendance.
They had the celebration catered by a local barbecue restaurant. OMG it was so incredibly delicious. I must get the name of the restaurant from them to see if they ship the sauce! They had hand pulled roast pork with a whiskey-molasses sauce. I just had to go back for seconds and was so full but it was so good! Add to that cornbread, salad, coleslaw, and some amazing sweet and spicy baked beans and wow. Just wow. They sent me home with some of the leftover pulled pork and I think it got even better. It was that good.
On Monday I thanked ED profusely for her hospitality (I must mail a thank you gift soon!), and popped over for a quick visit to DH and JF before hitting the road. Despite the fact that it was Labor Day, I once again had a nearly traffic free drive. Unbelievable. And Aussie slept all the way home. She wore herself out with all her yard explorations. Old dogs need their naps and she was just too busy smelling everything to sleep.
I had a wonderful weekend. The weather was perfect. The company was great. And New Hampshire/Vermont is just beautiful. I really wanted the weekend to last longer, but alas, I had work to get back to and massive amounts of email to deal with. Next time I go up for a visit it will definitely be for longer than 3 days.