Joshua and I did not do much this weekend.
We stayed home on Saturday, catching up on things. My father and my brother played golf on Saturday, but Josh and I do not golf and we did not join them.
Today, after church, Josh and I went over to my parents’ house. We are still working on our Oxford itinerary, believe it or not, trying to fashion a beautiful day in Oxford on the last full day of our trip. It is not easy, given the constricted hours Oxford colleges are open to the public. We all spent the entire afternoon reading about Oxford, and we still have not decided how to spend our time there.
The rest of the month will be very busy. Both Josh and I are working long hours, completing assignments at work before our last day on the job (July 25). Next Saturday evening, Josh and I will host a cookout with our friends at my parents’ house. The following Thursday night is my farewell dinner at work. The next day is Josh’s farewell lunch at his firm. The next night, Josh and I have a party in our honor to attend.
Somehow, over the next two weeks, Josh and I will get all our work done, prepare for the trip, take care of some other things, and try to spend time with my brother while we still can.
It is nice to have my brother home. He has been helping our mother and father with things around the house and yard, and driving my mother around town on her errands, and taking care of the dog (who, in a fit of pique, has announced that he will NOT be accompanying us on our trip because we will not be visiting The Shepherd Islands).
To help us get into the proper frame of mind for a trip to Britain, Josh and I have been listening to four discs of English music whenever we have the chance: string music by Frank Bridge, George Butterworth and Hubert Parry; Edward Elgar’s Violin Concerto; music for wind ensemble by Gustav Holst and Ralph Vaughan Williams; and Anglican church music by Herbert Howells. We did not select well, all things told, but we will keep the discs in our player for eight to ten listens, since it often takes time to appreciate fully a composition or a performance.
For this evening’s dinner, my mother made us what she calls a “Farmer’s Lunch”, concocted from fresh ingredients grown on a typical Midwest farm in the summer.
She started with a garden salad made with leaf lettuce, sliced radish, sliced green onion and shredded tomato. She followed that with fried chicken, pan-fried in cast-iron skillets, mashed potatoes, corn-on-the-cob, green beans, a special sweet-and-sour cabbage-and-carrot salad and homemade applesauce. For dessert, she had prepared one of her greatest masterpieces, her strawberry pie, made from her secret recipe that took her more than twenty years to perfect. It should be patented—it is to die for.
My father loves my mother’s “Farmer’s Lunch” because it was the kind of lunch he enjoyed while growing up on the farm. The rest of us love it, too.
The dog was given de-boned fried chicken and mashed potatoes, with a little applesauce, too.
He loved his dinner.
Of course, he is still furious about that Shepherd Islands thing . . .