Paula and I drove to Frederick this past Sunday to have lunch with two friends we hadn’t seen for what seems ages. On the ride over we counted political signs along the roads and highways. It’s what we do these days.
We saw more signs for our side than the other.
It’s too soon to be giddy, but we did feel a twinge of optimism. The tide is rising, but we don’t say that out loud lest we tempt the fates or arouse the demons lurking in the pesky electoral college!
We arrived at JoJo’s Tap House.
“Inside or out?” the receptionist asked.
The forecast was for rain. We glanced at the sky, sniffed the wind, and checked our weather apps. We requested a sidewalk table and took our seats—and chances—along Patrick Street under an oak tree.
As it turns out, this is fall. Hello!
For two hours a hail of acorns would pummel us. Every five minutes or so one would ricochet off the table. One grazed my head. (I should have worn my bicycle helmet.)
One bounced off the sidewalk right into our friend’s glass of water. I asked the server if that meant we’d won a stuffed animal. (No, it did not.)
Our order arrived. We raised our glasses. We broke bread. We praised the crab dip. We relished our sandwiches and hand-cut fries, not to mention Frederick’s finest ale.
Acorns kept pelting us. We laughed and raised another glass.
We talked of former days, of treasured memories, of adventures and mishaps unknown till now. We caught up on our children and grandchildren. We spoke of sorrow, of friends now gone.
We talked on through the hailstorm never once speaking “The Name.”
It can be done.
The server delivered the check. We requested a photo of our happy reunion. She gladly took our smartphones in turn. We smiled. Smiled again. And again. We thanked her. She smiled. I left a handsome tip.
Let’s do this again, we said. Let’s do.
We donned our masks, held our breath, and hugged each other—signs of friendship on Patrick Street in historic downtown Frederick. (Kisses would have to wait for another time.)
We drove back to Shepherdstown with a bundle of fresh memories and hearts full of joy.
We didn’t count the signs along the way.
For the moment we were counting our blessings.
See Paula’s “Barn in the Fog” photograph on the home page.