Sunday, November 02, 2003

Food, Family, Friends

Met up with Darcie's parents yesterday morning at Memorial Park playground in Brattleboro, where I used to spend summers as counselor for the local Head Start camp. The baby -- a toddler now, I suppose, at almost 16 months -- didn't so much climb and play on the wooden structures as squat on the upper platforms, absorbing the new perspective only height can bring a small one. Also sand-sifting and a short gleeful stint on the swing, followed by a visit to the mini covered bridge, which Willow deserted to walk shamelessly into the stream below, getting her pant cuffs soaked.

She walks right up to other kids and stares at them shamelessly; you can practically see the mind growing.

Afterwards a short trip through Bratt's quaint downtown area. Picked up a six of Sierra Nevada Pale Ale (the gold standard of Microbrews) and some healthy snacks at the food coop; got dalmation rubber boots for Willow and two dress-for-work vests from Keri, who Darcie and I know from our Shakepeare in the Park days six summers a go, at the vintage clothing store in town.

Then off to the day's prize: the Top O' The Hill grill, best pit barbecue in a hundred miles (sorry, locals, but its true), closed for the season with an all-you-can-eat private party, and thanks to Neil's creds as a regular we were invited. Ribs, chicken, brisket, pulled pork and pork roast in mustard sauce; gumbo, jumbalaya, paella and beef stew; homemade slaw, beans, cornbread and rice on the side; orange cream soda and fresh local cider in the ice tub. The rub, for once with sauce optional, was sampled dry; I found it excellent and just spicy enough. The pulled pork and other "wet" dishes fresh and meaty and not too sauce-heavy, just like I like 'em.

Back home, after napping off the food coma, we checked the answering machine to find that our dinner guests -- an old childhood friend, complete with live-in girlfriend, now moved local who we bumped into at the People's Pint down in Greenfield last week -- had cancelled, so the three of us watched Bend It With Beckham, a lighthearted romp with a nice international pace and flavor, while we ate the fresh cream horns and cream puffs we had aquired for company, because those pastries with real cream in them may be the best kind, but the cream turns quickly to butter in the fridge if you don't eat them in the first day or so.

And then, this morning, woke up with groaning still-full stomach to find out Dad's surrogate father-figure David had finally passed away after a week in the hospice. Might go to Long Island for the funeral tomorrow. Certainly couldn't eat breakfast today.

posted by boyhowdy | 11:40 AM |

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