Thursday, July 10, 2008

A Summer Shower

Shawna over at Shouting at the Wind recently asked whether her fellow writers are actually writing and what goals they’ve set for themselves. I dashed off something of a jujitsu non-answer, saying that these days I’m working on goal-free livin’. That’s an honest answer, if a partial one: on the one hand, yes, I’m concerning myself less and less these days with hard-and-fast deadlines when it comes to completing the various stages of the current opus, recognizing that when we allow it time is not so much a steady march as a wandering, though purposeful, exploration of a balmy summer day; on the other hand, the extended process of writing a movie is never far from the frontal lobe. But there’s a bigger fish to fry, too, and that’s the impending (though timely) arrival of my first child.

Thus, I’m excited to be about a sixth of the way through a new draft. A Real Draft, as opposed to previous outpourings of the ongoing iterative development methodology. It’s going well, swimmingly, in fact, and that’s probably because I’m not hammering at it every last second. But I’m also taking the time to prepare the house, read up on the baby literature, and enjoy my oh-so-busy social calendar. Please join me, then, as I set the flux capacitor to the second day of summer . . .

Earlier that day, which my traveling buddy the Kid had pointed out was already in fact “tomorrow,” I had returned from my field trip to New York City. There would be no rest, however, as I was to play second fiddle to the first, Jenifer, or rather the one within. We would be hosting a shower to celebrate the baby, and there was work to do.

Actually, my part involved showing up and waiting for my parents to arrive. I also bought four bags of ice (not enough) and poured them into a large bucket. In truth, however, much of the preparations had already been made, and we were fortunate to be blessed with so many helpers. So we waited while our guests made their pilgrimages to Phoenixville, to the backyard of our friend Susan’s yoga studio, ocean earth wind fire. Apparently, there is a fifth element, a cloaking device, that prevents otherwise high-functioning adult humans from missing the building, or in some cases the town, and so I sat and drank my Artisans house blend as they cranked their Google machines, GPS devices, maps of seven seas, and other assorted amulets. Previous weeks had seen frantic e-mails expressing great consternation over the coordinates to be plotted in the navicomputer; if at all possible, a friend explained, he would prefer to avoid coming out of hyperspace in the middle of the Cheesecake Factory several towns away, a likely occurrence since he had charted no less than four Phoenixvilles in a 50-mile radius.

But the guests arrived without incident, chief among them my parents, Bearers of the Cake. This was a confection built to exacting specifications by Martín and his staff at the House of Clarendon, an English-style bakery in Lancaster, and no one would dare cut the thing without my parents’ consent or exacting methods (which involved, among other things, a tape measure and dental floss).

Soon the afternoon was full with greetings and well wishes and plain old good conversation, as old friends and new mingled and enjoyed the garden, the music, the food. After a course of quiches, raw veggies, and mixed fruit, the Cake (chocolate pound with Bavarian crème filling) was dispersed throughout the gathered, accompanied by a trio of homemade artisanal gelato: strawberry, pistachio, and a very fresh and herbal mint. And the people were happy.

And so were we. Jenifer and I made our rounds individually and later reflected on our day, our friends and family. They had come for us, for the baby, this new person who occupied the most darkly shaded area of a sprawling Venn diagram of fellowship. These were our people and they would be the little one’s people, if only for a time, and we found ourselves deeply moved by both their generosity and their acknowledgement of our part, however small—or, perhaps, however grand—in the unfolding human story.

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Anonymous Eric said...

Is that green thing the cake?! It looks fascinating.

Sorry we missed this occasion, my friend. But you'll be happy to know that I'm putting together your shower gift right now...

2:47 PM  
Blogger Mainline Mom said...

So bummed that I missed it. Looks like a great time.

9:42 AM  

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