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July 24, 1999
a year ago
two years ago

Stone Soup


Cera once shared, on-line, with me the memories of summer peaches. It's one of the things that I love about on-line communication that isn't really possible face-to-face, or becomes affected rather than real. Mark called it 'supplanting reality with the imaginary.' It seems an appropriate way of calling it. I really like it. It enables some things that just are more than reality with those that are capable of imagining it and experiencing it through text.

Books, for me, I guess, are an experience. So MUSH'ing and on-line interaction really become experiences for me.

But I remembered Cera's memories when I was cutting and peeling and then eating the ripe, summer peaches, too small for the grocery store to sell them at extravagant prices, perfect in their ripeness. Sweet, soft, yet not mushy, the flesh parting juicy and rich against the teeth. I could just pull the skins right off, and then I cut them into pieces and covered the pieces with yogurt and whole wheat cereal and then ate 'em happily for breakfast with John.

After breakfast, we both pitched a bunch of things into the Crock Pot, including the pork butt after John had browned it and a pile of onions and garlic. I added tomatoes, many green chilies, and a bunch of red potatoes. Then we turned it on and left it to cook.

Jumped into Borax and the Green Monster and took a harrowing drive through the countryside to get to the new Land Rover dealer in Superior. Harrowing because the Green Monster is still not very easy to drive and it's not very fast uphill. It's great downhill with a tailwind, but uphill it's rather slow and Colorado drivers are insane for speed. I think it's just that they're so used to all the long, straight roads or something, but they're just crazy. Nuts. Insanely frustrated by slow vehicles and will do completely insane things to get around them. There was a moment when John had slowed, pulled halfway onto the shoulder, and even though there were cars coming right at them, they dodged around the Monster just to get around it even when they were risking a head-on collision with on-coming cars going a good sixty miles per hour on a road signed for forty-five. The more I drive here the more I hate the drivers here for their impatience.

Maybe I need to work with the other Land Rover owners about how they deal.

Anyway… we got to the dealership around 10, and spent the next two hours wandering about. There were about 20-odd Land Rovers in the front dirt area all from the local club. The Monster got front and center as it's just the oddest thing ever. The Carmichael conversions were made for fire trucks and airport repair vehicles, creatures with a lot of capacity and it was nice to have the ability to go mildly off a road. The conversions were done by Carmichael, who bought stock vehicles, did their thing to them, had it approved by Land Rover and then sold them that way. What they did was put the front seats where the fenders were, add a fire wall, add plates to allow the driver to get at the gear shift and all the other controls, and then raise the roof over the entire vehicle so that the driver wouldn't bang their head on the ceiling. So the resulting truck looks a bit like a green house because all the glass in front, along the sides, on the doors was all heightened to reach the new heights of the roof. It's huge, all in all, which is why we call it the Green Monster.

Woah. Meta-comment. Look at yesterday, a year ago, and you'll see a picture of the Carmichael soon after we bought it.

The dealership was having their Grand Opening, so had everything out, had caterers, had a nice test track for the new Series 2 Discoveries. The manager of the site had just said 'Series 2's' and both John and I were very puzzled as to why the old Series 2, leaf-spring Land Rovers could do a track that our coil-sprung Defender couldn't do, until we saw the Series 2 Discoveries wandering about along the trail with various wheels in the air. There's a new automatic traction system that actually brakes the wheels with no traction at all and puts the power from those wheels into the wheels that are still on the ground. It was nearly supernatural when John drove it about. Hills normally, with the old trucks, need a bit of momentum to go over them when one loses traction the momentum acts as another way of getting through, as the sheer momentum of a ton or so of truck really does help and work pretty well with getting it over the spots where it has no traction onto a spot where it does. But with the Series 2 Discos you could almost stop with two wheels in the air, apply just a bit more throttle where you'd normally just be stuck and the new traction system would apply power just to the two wheels on the ground and the truck would go forward. It was like a defiance of natural law.

Around noon we piled into Borax, left the Monster on its hill, surrounded by the other Landies, and went home to get ready for the party. Mexican chocolate ice cream mix and iced tea later, I was sitting in front of the TV, playing 10 more floors of the Chrysler building. I had the time, finished those floors before 3, and then puttered about doing the Last Few Things before 4. There were some folks that arrived even before 4 and asked, eventually, if that was all that there was going to be. I'm used to the invitation saying 4 and folks not arriving until 7, and told them there would be plenty more coming. I was right, the last family didn't arrive until about half past seven.

The party went really well. The food worked beautifully, and, afterwards, John and I really shook our heads wondering why the heck we hadn't thought it through before and done this all those other BBQs. It made for so much less to worry about. So long as the food was remotely warm, people enjoyed it, and we didn't have to worry about raw anything going bad in the summer heat. That was most excellent. Folks brought all kinds of salads and desserts and we had ice cream galore. Ray and Joan brought more sweet corn than anyone could eat, but it was so good everyone tried. The ice cream maker burned out badly, so we had to use our high-tech Donovan critter with the ice canister from the freezer, and that worked out pretty well as well, though it did mean that folks had to turn it. Which turned out really well, actually. Kids love seeing ice cream form.

People enjoyed themselves. I had fun talking with wives and folks we didn't normally see, but were connected with co-workers, and it was all pretty fun and really interesting and much, much better when I didn't have to spend most of the party standing and getting smoked by the BBQ.

Late in the evening, when most everyone had already had their food, the skies grew dark, then opened up and it just poured. Everyone got into the house when that happened, and were already moving in that direction as it was getting dark. What was really keen, though, were the chairs on the front porch, where we could just sit and watch the lightning strikes like they were fireworks. Folks pulled folding chairs out on to the porch and watched the light show happily out of the rain. Fezzik wandered about on the lawn and just got completely soaked, all the kids were screaming when he showered them with a good, solid shake.

Since nearly everyone had kids, everyone was gone around 9 p.m.. Nice and early. Fezzik flopped into the middle of the livingroom while we cleaned up. My legs were so tired that after I put away most of the food, I sat at the breakfast counter and cut the last of the corn off the cobs that were left over. It was nice to just sit and do something mindless. John wandered about gathering and cleaning and washing. He usually does most of the cleanup, 'cause I'm usually the one that watches everything during the party. It's a nice tradeoff, and since I hate cleaning up and hate things dropping through the cracks when a party is going on, it's even better for me. There was so much corn that I filled a large Tupperware with cut, sweet corn. That's going to be yummy for the next few days.

By the time I actually finished putting everything away, John and I figured that we probably had more food than we started with. I guess that, as with any thing where we ask everyone to bring a little something, we ended up with a lot. Stone Soup.

Eventually, I wound down enough from all the other things to actually go to bed and sleep. I was sticky and sweaty and smoky from the day, but so tired I wasn't in the mood to shower before getting into bed. John said, "We'll just change the sheets tomorrow." and we both fell dead asleep.

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