The “early service” on Tuesday morning was a peaceful affair. A very slight breeze brought the faint smells of summer, with it. Someone had cut their grass and that scent mingled with the mimosa blossoms, loaned a sweet, green fragrance to the air. I heard the song of the tanagers, but they were well hidden, being so shy. I startled a squirrel and he made a frantic dash to the young woods. Country squirrels are not social like their city cousins. Country squirrels stay in the woods. The only way you know about them, is when you find half eaten apples or pansys tossed array, missing their roots . . .or you get up mighty early.
It was a beautiful morning, but my stomach hurt, for today I had an “appointment”. Today, I had to renew my drivers license . I should have done it in April – a year ago, when they expired. I realized this sometime in June. I kept putting it off, as is my nature. It is an awful habit of mine. I will plan a Sunday dinner, a week ahead of time and I have the “Christmas Closet” bumping full of secrets. We do not run out of things like butter, at the rabbit patch either. It makes no sense to me why I wait months past the last minute to attend to business. . .so the peace of the morning escaped me, altogether.
All morning, I moped about. Jenny called but, had no sympathy and chided me, for my strange behavior about such a simple task. She did not call to cheer me up, but instead to deliver grave warnings full of doom, should I back out.
Not long after noon, I got ready. I had not eaten a bite all day. I took a book along, one of my favorites, for I would surely collapse in that official environment, where rules are posted on every inch of the walls. I needed a distraction. When I walked in, uniformed folks were everywhere. Their friendly greetings did not fool me. These people love regulations and legalities and were liable to pounce, at any given moment. I took a seat and began reading. All of a sudden, a thought flashed in my head – What if the car wouldn’t start when it was all over? Maybe I had locked the keys in the car ? Oh, to be stranded there would just finish me. I found my keys and quickly went back inside my book,(where there were meadows surrounded by laurel) determined not to panic .
When my number was called, I walked stoically to the examiner. He was a young fellow and quite polite, but I was sure that would change in due time. He looked at my license and we talked about something (I can not remember what) as he typed away. In several minutes – or a year – he asked me to sign my name, for my renewed license. I did so, in shock. Then he asked me to date it. I was so surprised at the ease of the process, that I had to ask the date . . now he looked shocked and said “July 3rd” in a matter of fact manner – at that moment I remembered our “small talk” was about the fourth of July. I felt very unpatriotic. Still,I walked out with my license. I wanted to run, in case I got called back. But alas, I walked out in freedom, and the car started up, as it always does.
I am quite sure, I suffer from some sort of condition. I truly am not a nervous sort at all. In complicated times, I am known to remain calm and level headed . . .but, I will probably do the same thing again, when the property taxes are due.
The fourth of July dawned clear and mild. I had a banana cream cake in the oven, in the first hours, for a picnic at my sister, Connies’ house at the lake. Connie has always had a large gathering on the fourth. Lake Phelps is one of the most beautiful bodies of water I have ever seen. The water is crystal clear revealing a clean sandy bottom. It is a shallow lake and perfect for swimming and fishing.
At the last minute, I decided to make a sauce for the hotdogs. It is really a rue and does not take long. It is mustard based and folks either love it or hate it. I grabbed a mixture of lemongrass and eucalyptus oils, just in case of flying, biting pests, which can ruin a picnic. I also grabbed a book, for I always take one with me. By the time Mama and Daddy drove up, the basket was packed . . . but my hair was soaking wet and there was no time to dry it.
The lake is only about forty minutes from the rabbit patch. There was sunshine and a steady breeze blowing. We sat under Mike and Connies’ huge picnic shelter. They had a very large fan blowing, which cooled and kept the insects at bay. I thought, how nice and practical, to have such a fan. The children played in the lake. Mike manned a large grill and Connie ran the kitchen. Connie is used to cooking for large groups and wasn’t a bit bothered. The food was ready, right about the time it started to rain. No one cared about the rain, for we were eating wonderful food and were “high and dry”.
When everyone was full to the brim, the sun came out again. Little boys splashed in puddles while the older children headed back to the lake. I enjoyed visiting with Mikes’family, who I claim as my own, as well. Who knew, years ago that Stephanie and I would become “fast friends” and kindred to the core – and that her son, Zane would have such a special place in my heart. Then there is Mikes’ mom, Miss Louise who seems like a very dear aunt. She cheers me on, and never fails to encourage me. A picnic is seldom anything but pure fun and today was proof of that.
Tonight, fireworks rang through the countryside, for several neighbors went to great lengths and put on quite a show. Cash, my boxer did not like it a bit. He pricked his ears up and trotted all over the house, unsure of what danger the racket indicated. Christopher Robin, my cat, sought cover and bid us all good luck, but he make it very clear that”we were on our own”.
When the last of the fireworks were over and the familiar silence restored, Cash settled in, having been totally exhausted, in his effort to guard the farmhouse, at any cost. Later, Christopher Robin sauntered out and joined him.
Now tomorrow, I will tend to cobwebs, for spiders are relentless creatures . . .and the yard needs mowing. There is always laundry. There is always a floor to scrub . The picnic basket will be put away, for a short while . . .for if all does well . . . I will use that basket again, soon . . .on the banks of the “laughing river”.