Wait, has it really been since Wednesday that I've posted anything? Is that sentence even English?
Last week was, as you can probably guess, difficult. For a lot of different reasons. But fortunately, the weekend was awesome.
You know my circle of friends that's centered around the coffee shop refers to itself as the Village. Yesterday was the annual Village Thanksgiving celebration. It's a standing tradition, that's been going on for a number of years now from what I gather, but this was obviously my first. And it was wonderful.
It's a potluck, so I spent the afternoon baking cornbread. LOTs of cornbread. Regular, pumpkin, and pumpkin pecan. Because when I bring a side dish, I bring the heck out of it, apparently. There were some mishaps, but I ended up with a large amount of a passable product (actually, the pumpkin was reeeeally good). I picked up Larry (since he lives a stone's throw from me) and his casserole, and off we went to the north end of town. There were probably 25 or 30 of us, and enough food for a small nation. Turkey, dressing, beans of many kinds, scratch-made cranberry sauce and mashed potatoes, some sort of broccoli soup, brussel sprouts, on and on and on. And the desserts!! One friend in particular made the most a-maz-ing cheesecake I think I've ever had. Garth and family came with a fabulous apple tart. Misty made rockin' apple pie. Oh, my gosh, it was such a spread. And the evening concluded with ten or so of us sitting around the fire pit toasting marshmallows and laughing a lot. At one point we ran out of storebought firewood, so our hostess sent her husband into the woods behind the house for more. We set a good dozen marshmallows on fire and I stole sips of Larry's whiskey and two friends melted parts of their shoes on the fire pit. And my sides were a little sore by the end of the evening from laughing so hard.
We debriefed on the way home and discussed how I was a little tense going into the evening. I'm new to the collective, some of whom have known each other for quite some time, and I always worry a little about how I'll be received. But invariably I end up feeling welcome and being reminded how grateful I am to belong to the group.
And then, today, after coffee and breakfast with our inner circle, Larry and Garth and I went bike shopping again. Garth was a good addition to the entourage and is by far the most mechanically minded and knowledgeable of any of us. Larry has been incredibly tolerant of me dragging him all over North Carolina while I try to make up my mind about what sort of bike I want. Both of them have been very patient and reassuring and, being very proficient and experienced riders, a wealth of wisdom. We made some real progress on the motorcycle front, today, I think, even if I didn't actually come home with a bike. But I was driving back from Southeastern Nowhere, NC this afternoon, with Garth in my back seat fiddling on his iPhone and Larry next to me humming some Aerosmith song that had been playing at the Harley dealership, and I couldn't help but smile as we headed into the lengthening shadows of an afternoon well spent.
I'm so grateful to be continually collecting good people in my life.