an imbalance you can smell
Sunday, December 30 2001
setting: in the Shaque, south of Staunton, Virginia
Sally the Dog was reasonably happy sleeping down on the couch instead of up in the Shaque bunk with Gretchen and me. Truth be known, she'd be exhausted by running around in the woods of Muellers' Mountain. But in the morning she started complaining and wanted to come join us, so I picked her up and put her in the bunk. But she's such an agile mountain goat of a dog that we worried she'd eventually decide to jump down on her own and break her leg.
It was a day full of the usual simple pleasures of the old homeplace. These pleasures are very unlike the pleasures of the city; there is no high-speed internet, there is no cable teevee, and (owing to the endless water shortage) no water for bathing. There are, however, plenty of wooded trails for walking and a large cache of alcoholic beverages. My parents seem to stockpile the latter in anticipation of my arrival, but since I never drink as much as they stockpile (and since they never drink it either), there's always a bountiful supply.
In the evening, my mother Hoagie completely outdid herself in the kitchen, preparing two deep-dish pizzas piled high with a rich diversity of vegetables, tofu, and various fake meats (though a vegetarian, Gretchen loves fake meat, with the exception of fake bacon - don't ask). The crust was whole wheat and somewhat leavened. I haven't had a meal this good in years. If Hoagie ran a restaurant featuring pizzas like this, there are cities where she'd be an institution, particularly in vertical-pizza-dimension-challenged New York. Hoagie also made two pumpkin pies, and though I love pumpkin pie, I was all about pizza tonight.
After dinner, my brother Don came up to the Shaque wishing to surf the official website of the company that makes the World War II soldier dolls he collects. I got the distinct impression that Hoagie discourages Don's use of the internet, and over the course of the evening I understood why this was a good idea. Whenever Don wants to do something, that's all he wants to do. He would have stayed in the Shaque late into the night researching these dolls, but eventually I had to kick him out. Don always makes it so you don't feel too bad when you kick him out. He has a way of grossly overstaying his welcome and then, instead of finding a way to compensate for it, he overstays it even further. In this case, this involved asking me if he could use my credit card. "I'll pay you back," he promised.
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