Quite a different summer this year. "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times...." Really.
We began with the glorious wedding presented in a former piece. The garden, my physical sanctuary was a vast wasteland beginning with the seed that rotted followed by season of brown roses. Oh but the weeds were grand and Gargantuan.
There was the vacation that never quite got off the ground. Right on schedule the day before the sewer literally effervescent in all drains. This was followed by the days of digging out the old cement work- a 20 foot trench - and laying new PVC pipes. The good news here, given our ages and the longevity of PVC we shouldn't need doing this again in our lifetime. Also we have the most charming of plumbers. He's a lovely man from the English Midlands. Frankly I could listen to him describing pipe fittings and measurements all day long in his soft, honey-drippin' accent.
We did get two days away with A Daughter. Wonderful days. We had a lovely time exploring the grand old town of Port Townsend. This jewel of a town has shops of every fair and fine sort. Excellent charity shops. These we love. There are restaurants for every hunger or craving. And there is William James, Bookseller. This is a quintessential book shop, quiet, comfy chairs here and there. And order. It smells like an antiquarian book shop should, it looks like one should as well.
Next day we caught the ferry and spent the next 12 hours in Victoria. We visited the shops we love, we visit the fine old Craigdarach mansion, had afternoon tea at Murchie's. The weather was perfect as were the traveling companions.
On my birthday, as a special reminder of the fragility of life, The Husband fell and broke a shoulder bone in two places. Right side of course. That is a story in itself. Suffice to say, it changed the tenor of our days.
So what's the Best of the summer? A phone call, a voice 'out of the misty past'. It was that of a dear friend not seen for some years. She was our pastor's wife of the Mennonite Years. These were the glory years, the farm years when we both were raising our broods. Our children were friends, chums, buddies all.
These were people who were not only dear friends, whose children were close with our own, but they were trusted wise counselors, confidants, edifiers. She provided for me, along with my mom, the template of how a pastor's wife should be shaped. He challenged me for the first time in my life to define my own theology. He wasn't content with answers that echoed my father - he knew him. Many times I have thanked our God for her excellent example, for the wise discomfiture he handed me and my gain.
So the call, and a visit 'as I'm passing through....' The time was lovely catching up with where one anothers children are geographically and in their lives. There were moments of recollection, of reminiscence. There were tears. There was much laughter.
After some days the visit was followed by a thank you. It was the thank you card to end all thank you cards. This was not the commonplace trendy made-it card. It was a beautifully executed water color of our cottage and front garden - without the weeds, bless her.
What a perfect reminder of perfect friendship one that has lasted through the years because of the Friend that unites us. It is a picture of the history we share and where we are now.
It is framed now. It is what you see at the start of this post.
It hangs directly in my line of sight when in my cloister chair.
It feeds my spirit.
It makes me happy.
It reminds, too, of all the ways in which my life is blessed.