It had been planned for months- Tim, Eleanor and I were to join our friends (Kelley and David and their son Jin and Amy and Darv and their son Jack) at Darv’s family’s house in western North Carolina. “So Darv’s family has this house on Bald Mountain, near Boone,” Amy said one day this winter, “and we’re going to go for a weekend in May. Do you guys want to join us? It’s fun. There’s tons of space for the kids to run and play. Jack usually sleeps like a baby.” It sounded great; I liked it when Eleanor slept like a baby (more accurately, I like it when she slept like other people’s babies because she actually didn’t sleep all that well when she was one).
So, Friday afternoon we packed the car and drove West. If only we had known what we were getting ourselves into…we would have planned to stay the whole week.
The road to the house winds, for a few miles, through old forests and open fields until it delivers you to the middle of the 4500 (that’s not a typo, Darv’s great-grandfather started buying pieces of land in the ’20s) acre tract of land on which the it is situated. The farmhouse (one of the old farmstead houses) is a fully equip three-bedroom, two bath home with a large living room (large enough for three toddlers and a dog to roam freely with their play dough and crayons and bike pumps) and a beautiful brick fireplace.
Each day the kids spent hours playing in the barn (there was tractor, mower, golf cart, and Tom Cat (which is actually his name)), baking cookies and bananas with their play dough, spraying water on the already wet (it rained all weekend) plants in the yard, hiding in each others bedrooms, and generally making sure that their parent’s stayed busy preparing meals and snacks.
And each day, once the kids had gone to sleep, and glasses of wine and beer were poured and the dishes were in the dishwasher, the adults passed by the stack of games intended as entertainment and curled up on one of the numerous couches with a book or magazine in hand. We occasionally chatted about Rob Lowe’s new memoir as someone read something interesting, or briefly discussed the Newsweek photos of compound in which Bin Laden was found, but generally our nights were spent in the quiet enjoyment of reading. It was blissful. To an outsider it might be tempting to think that we did this because we had so little to say to one another or because we didn’t know each other well enough to really engage. But I wholeheartedly disagree. I think it shows just how comfortable we were with one another, and, as Darv (or Amy?) put it, “really don’t get much time for that [reading] otherwise.” So, so true.
Thanks again, Amy, Darv and Jack, for sharing your space with us. Anytime you want to have us back (no pressure), we’re game!
Action shots of Eleanor’s picture she called “brown balloon.”