Remembering the Picnic of the year this fine sunny day…
It was time to drive to the Castle; the Diva’s Castle Bash would be tomorrow and we really needed to hit the road.
Betty is my Mother-in-law’s best friend from kindergarten; I finally managed to kidnap her from the Garden State (or the state of perpetual pressure as I like to call it) and dragged her off to the farm.
I had Jack with us too (Teenage Man with Muscles – TMWM) so a stop at a hamburger grease pit would be a necessity. I mentally suggested a sushi bar to Jack and Betty; looks of horror on their faces instantly came to mind – I decided a verbal proposition was not in order.
After four hours of hoofing it down country roads, we were welcomed in the drive by very bright light left on by the MWM to guide us in. It must be new, I thought, blinking back the tears. The NJ red-eye left me dead beat tired.
I had not seen the MWM for two days; we unpacked. He looked ravenous and assumed food would be needed.
Scrambling through my blue rubber carry-all, I produced some hard and soft cheese on a plate, kissed the MWM, popped a bottle of wine for Betty and my Mother-in-Law, and headed off for a hot shower.
By ten I emerged properly seared by my steam bath. The others were enjoying Jack Benny on NPR.
I must say NPR and Benny sounded appealing, but my body kept tempting me towards the bedroom. I obeyed, hit the pillow, and lights were OUT!
Next day was full of preparation for the fun and festivities planned for the HBF picnic at the Diva’s Castle. HBF is our Church upstate, and Putter, the Pastor, knows everybody who ever lived or is presently living within 50 miles of Hamilton, NY. Maybe even people who aren’t living yet.
Putter is on the Board of the Earlville Opera House, heavily involved with Colgate University (and its students), and very plugged in to the community, and the music scene. He is truly a cornerstone of the community. I know am leaving out pages of accolades here, but this is just a blog remember – not a novel!
That being said, there are always new and interesting folks to meet when Putter is around!
Putter and Reyna, better known as “Reyna and the Rev” are playing below in the “grove” – a little spot on the farm Putter dubbed with the name.
I smiled. Reyna wanted a ground protected outlet — obviously; she had never been to the “castle” yet. She was in for a surprise. The electrical system was very distinctive to say the least.
The MWM, his Mother, Betty and Jack took on the outside duties, and I manned the kitchen. After cleaning, mowing, preparing two batches of chili and a vat of mac and cheese we were able to get dressed.
Betty came out first, and I almost laughed aloud. “Ha! Stepford,” I shouted in reference to her hat, “wait, I’ll join you in that idea!” My Mother-in-law gave me one of those “what are you up to” looks as I left my kitchen duties.
I was back in a flash with my flowing black linen jacket, black pants and shirt and a nice wide brimmed black hat, and a grin. My mother-in-law muttered, “It has that turn of the century look, it looks like a modified swim suit for the Victorian era, or some sort of retro riding outfit – all you are missing is the crop.”
“Stepford, ladies, Stepford,” I said. “Remember; don’t take any of those pills the men hand out at Noon!” I warned, arching an eyebrow, and headed off to the grove.
Well, needless to say we had over thirty-five people show up. We heard a bit of Reyna and the Rev. Jack was far too interested in the tractor to remember to take any pictures. But I managed to get a couple; here's one of the hay ride.
Then, there it was – thirty-five people sitting in the grove, and just as the charcoal was lit a crack of thunder hit! And the rain came pouring down.
Yes, all of my readers know what happens next – the angels have taken out their popcorn bags again. We are officially on the DE (Divine Entertainment) Network.
Thirty-five folding chairs and their carriers quickly piled into the living room. A few brave men carried the B-B-Q off to the little barn to cook the food on.
One of the students actually knew who Johnny Mercer was and identified the music playing on my stereo – I was elated! All is not lost in the world. And, even better, They left the music on.
People were happy. There was food. There was harmony. There were games. Everyone was chatting.
The hit of the party though was the MWM’s raffle. We used a deck of cards that had little bits of scriptural wisdom the MWM would read aloud. I’m sure the angels loved that.
Plus, we had prizes that ranged from Gas Cards, to Bibles, to Word Puzzle Books, other oddities, and Bottles of Wine (Yup folks — it was a Church Picnic — but the raffle was handled by us; Putter knew nothing about the prizes – especially the wine! *smile*).
We managed to squeeze in the great hall, and if the power remained on – the water and toilet would operate. The angels would have to settle for watching a bunch of folks have a great time despite the weather. And so they did.
Everyone left about 7PM – Stuffed, content, and happily tired. I tried to send off as much food as possible, and the rest would be lunch. It was a chock-full, fun filled event that will surely happen again.
The next morning I was standing in the church. Despite all of the activity yesterday, I still had no ideas for this blog. It was fun, but there was just no story-line sparkle.
I was freezing as usual – one of those little issues I have to deal with. I whispered to the Maker of All Things, “Will ya just show me that silver lining already?”
Then, I must say, I had the biggest laugh since day one of 2011. Instantly, I felt a tug on my pant leg and a determined little girl said vociferously, “Hey, why are you so cold anyway?”
I looked down at this gritty little blonde in a slip of a polka-dot dress – probably four or five years old I think. She was clearly a visitor – I had never seen her before. I answered, “Well, why aren’t you cold in that little dress?” and zipped up my Colgate sweatshirt.
The answer didn’t intimidate her.
After a few more verbal encounters from the young lady to include – how come authors from the nineteenth century are dead, and what color red eyeglasses REALLY are. (Kiddo — yes, my reading glasses ARE red — And yes, everyone else, I DO have eyes.)
I thought, “Oh look, it’s me come back from my childhood.”
This must be a DE episode from Scrooge!
I smirked, “I thought He broke that mold for sure!”
My mind began to whirl – Scrooge episode or not – that little powerhouse holds the sparkle I’ve been looking for.
I noted the ruby slippers and said, “Hey, who are you anyway, Dorothy?” My Mother-in-Law insisted she was too young to have ever seen or identified with the political undertones of the Wizard of Oz.
Sensing the child’s superior intellect, I was certain she had seen the movie. I said, “Hey, did you ever see the Wizard of Oz, and is your name Dorothy?” She said, “No, it’s Ruby – and yes, I have the video at home,” and then buzzed off like a bee on a business trip.
The Maker of All Things laughed.
You see, Rainbow has always been a religious song for me. The lyrics of that song are very important – kind of my mantra. I could understand Dorothy’s plight — just her and Toto, and even he was on his way to the dog house!
The Maker of All Things has used imagery from those lyrics to get me through life’s roughest spots.
Our Farm upstate was purchased under a beautiful rainbow after the worst CNY flood in decades. It has communities of bluebirds abounding on it.
Now, I have this wonderful picture of a little girl with sparkle in a pair of ruby slippers to add to my “collection.”
Those slippers reminded me of another little girl who wanted to make a journey over the rainbow – to a place she felt she would finally “belong.”
Now, at nearly forty-eight, she has come to realize that place was not over the rainbow at all; it was beneath the rainbow, near an artsy little town in Central New York, on an old farm – just like Dorothy’s.
The ghost from childhood past – or just a star from a great DE episode for Sunday morning? I don’t much care – she did her job.
Well, as the saying goes, “There’s no place like home.”
Don’t lose that sparkle Ruby!
Muck Boot Diva