Tuesday, July 11, 2006

New Hampshire: More Mischief than Musing

Saturday, July 1 we spent watching Portugal play England and France play Brazil. I was rooting for Portugal just because I have recently become so fascinated by the writer Katherine Vaz who is of Portuguese descent. Between the games we held our own soccer match in Dr. and Mrs. Blackbottom’s backyard. That night a whole crowd of guests came over, making the party that much louder. We ate Man Salad, Salt and Vinegar potato salad, and for the meat eaters there was House Pulled Pork and Pickles on Portuguese Rolls (no one spoke with her mouth full; the food was that good!). We feasted on savory grilled halibut fillet. We drank vermouth with mangos. To recover Sunday we lounged on the beach and played croquet. We ate oysters and jumped the waves. Spirits would have remained high; however, Dr. Blackbottom’s computer crashed, and he lost all the data on his hard drive, which included several chapters of his book and hundreds of the coolest downloads of party music. Lesson: always make backup copies. Monday we didn’t do much but lie around and talk. Later in the afternoon we jumped off a local bridge into a lazy river; the bridge had been half destroyed by the floods this past spring; floodwaters ripped a colossal hole in the pavement. At night we steamed shellfish over the fire. When the bugs became too fierce, we retreated inside to play the card game Skat around the dining room table. We each tossed in five jerks; indeed, playing for money brought out the best in us. Monday we enjoyed a long, slow breakfast; Dr. Blackbottom makes the best slow-cooked eggs in New England. We spent the day napping and observing a family of Pileated woodpeckers that lives in the oldest Sycamore tree in Newmarket; a lovely spectale right there in the Blackbottom's front yard. Just as Don Hall thinks it is purest joy to watch his dog run through the woods, I think it was purest joy to glimpse the stunning, white under-wing of the adult woodpecker; she swooped down from the tree’s hollow that is almost 25 feet off the ground; she disappeared to retrieve carpenter ants and rose again to drop the insects into the open mouths of her hungry babes. So eager! So alive! They may as well be honored guests at this party in the land of the free and the well fed.

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