Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Just another weekend in New England

My work week seemed to close in a flash. I suppose staring at more than 100k images over and over again pulls me away from any sense of time (not to mention reality). Anyway, Friday was an early release day for the folks at Johnson & Wales (during the summer at any rate) and I was home by 2:30 prepping for the arrival of our guests.

Susie's sister Joyce and her husband Carl were due to arrive from Maine late in the afternoon. They were on their way to South Carolina to see their daughter Melissa and grandson Lucas and flying in and out of Providence -- so the plan was to have Susie's two other siblings, Mary and Dick, over for dinner that evening. It's not often these kids get to see much of each other and so this seemed like a perfect opportunity to spend a little time together. (There would also be a porch part at Mary's the following evening. Thus the photos. . .)

Joyce:

Susie:
Mike:
Jean:
Mike and Jean:
Traffic snarls around Boston aside Joyce and Carl arrived in plenty of time. Soon after they were unpacked sister Mary and brother Dick and his wife Dorothy arrived and we all settled in for a supper of warm conversation amidst a dinner of grilled pork and roasted potato salad (the potatoes not the salad) and a delicious green salad fresh from Dorothy's garden.

Saturday our guests slept in while Susie slipped off to work a few hours at Gracie's (they're in the middle of "restaurant weeks" in Providence). Anyway, after a leisurely morning I took Joyce and Carl downtown to show them Gracie's -- or rather to let Susie show them her pastry kingdom. Afterwards the three of us strolled around downtown, or "downcity" as its called here.

It's always a pleasure to have out-of-towners visit since I get a chance to see new parts of Providence. We walked along much of the "waterfire" route and I was reminded how terribly rare it is for communities to put their collective imaginations and wallets to work together to turn a city's future and fortune right around. But that's what they did in Providence some 20 years ago. Yes, I know this city has the worst roads in the country -- even Carl admitted they are in worst shape than rural Maine -- but what the city did once serves as an example of what can done in a spirit of genuine cooperation.

The day had begun overcast and warm and by late morning the humidity began to rise to seriously damp levels. We sought refuge at Cafe Choklad where we enjoyed a little a/c and iced coffee (for some) before heading off to run a few errands.

About noon the three of us vagabonds drove to Trinity Brewhouse for sandwiches -- and since it was just around the corner from Gracie's persuaded Susie to join us for what turned out to be a fairly mediocre lunch. But it was cool inside, the service was friendly and it was good to just spend time talking about the foibles of our species.

Susie went back to Gracie's, Joyce, Carl and I went back home where we relaxed (OK napped) in the cool comfort of the old Prata Funeral Home.

By late afternoon the humidity quietly dissipated, which was certainly good news to us. Mid-afternoon the four of us drove over to Dick and Dorothy's for a get-together outside on their patio before heading to Mary's house that evening for her annual porch party.

After getting turned around several times with no help from Google Maps the four of us arrived at Mary's about half past five and spend the next three hours or so in animated conversation a couple of her neighbors. Uncle Frank soon joined the party and the evening turned into one of the most pleasant we can recall.

Uncle Frank:

Even though folks were still dropping by at half past eight we had to say adieu – Joyce and Carl were scheduled to fly out of Providence (“PVD”) early Sunday morning so we had to call it a night.

As Scarlett said, "tomorrow is another day. . . "

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