Our friends Jenny and Dean came for a visit this past weekend with their three-year-old son in tow. It had been awhile since we’d seen each other so we spent some enjoyable time catching up on what was new at homes and workplaces while downing a few too many glasses of wine during dinner.
The little guy was a bundle of energy and it was tiring just watching him in endless motion. When he qualifies for “Jeopardy” he’ll be the champion as long as the final category is Parental Catchphrases and the clue is: “Because I said so…” With, of course, the correct response in the form of a question being, “WHY?”
Although evenings have gotten quite nippy up at the lake, I still built a bonfire one night for us to huddle around and roast marshmallows over. Dean had his guitar with him — he’d been practicing since January and had mastered many familiar tunes. He strummed for a while and I complimented him on how well he plucked the opening riff from “Stairway To Heaven”. He then pointed out he’d been playing “Wish You Were Here”.
We played some ferocious rounds of Boggle while the youngster napped one afternoon. While Carol and I picked out words like “ATE”, “EAT”, TOE” and “TOES”, Jenny and Dean identified connected strings of letters spelling “EQUILIBRIUM” and “PUSILLANIMOUS”. Perhaps here I should mention they’re both MIT grads. Dean and I argued over whether proper nouns were permitted, with Dean being in favor of them. He eventually wore me down and I conceded by saying, in all propriety, “Go fuck yourself.” We then began a spirited game of Scrabble, with Jenny starting the game and her first two plays being “ZOO” and “MA”. Granted, the “Z” was a valuable tile but suddenly that MIT education seemed a bit overpriced. We managed to cover a good deal of real estate on the board and I brought the game to a finish when I played my last letter. I’d served as score-keeper and announced that Jenny had defeated me by a single point. Dean then helpfully reminded us that the rules said the first to go out also receives credit for the points the other players are holding when play ends, meaning that I’d in fact surpassed Jenny’s total. It was quite chivalrous of him to offer that correction and I immediately felt bad that I’d earlier buried his capo in the cat litter.
Sunday afternoon was brisk but clear and we all kayaked over to the small island in the middle of the lake. Dean had rowed crew during his university days and moved through the water so powerfully (with his son as passenger) he could likely have towed one of us behind him on water skis. Jenny took a somewhat meandering path toward our destination, favoring a starboard tack and occasionally doing a complete 360° even while alternating her paddling on both sides of the boat. We eventually made it to shore and disembarked for a brief hike. When we returned to the kayaks, I jokingly told Jenny she could catch the ferry for the trip home. She looked quite relieved before realizing I was kidding.
They stayed through breakfast the next morning before heading back. After they left, Carol and I commented on how much we enjoyed their company… how much we enjoy ANY company since it’s just the two of us up here. Well, of course there’s the cats, but they aren’t much for conversation or board games. We broke out Scrabble again later that evening and tried to entice one of the kitties to play with us; he chewed on his tiles and coughed up a hairball on the board. H-O-R-K is eleven points plus the double word value for going first – he’s off to a strong start. If he wins I have to buy him a guitar.