Wednesday, August 25, 2010
On Sunday evening, my friend Seth called me from upstate. He was standing in the driving rain beneath the awning of a Sunoco station in a town up North. I had not seen him for years. I knew him because I use to date his delightfully maniacal brother, but Seth and I were friends in our own right. And now he was biking across the country, from Seattle to the Atlantic, and his gear cable had broken outside of Montpelier. I put down the phone when I heard this, flew to the car and drove with the wipers slashing sheets of rain off of the windshield. It was completely dark, and in the rain the interstate felt like a tunnel. An hour North on the interstate and a few miles of state route and there he was, leaning against the wall of the closed up gas station with his bike beside him, my friend from another life. With a beard.
I spent the better part of his visit feeding him. Cooking for Seth was like an extreme sport. As I cooked him bacon and a dozen eggs for breakfast in the morning, he plowed through an entire huge loaf of bread, carefully toasting each piece and taking a jar of jam and a stick of butter down with it. We made chicken pot pie and corn chowder, thai peanut sauce with rice noodles, pasta with a sauce that cooked on the stove all day. We ate peach rhubarb pie and Ben and Jerry's ice cream, slices of caramel apple cheesecake, cream scones and pistachio sponge cake with chocolate centers. We ate huge plates of heirloom tomatoes from the garden- everything from the garden, chard, zucchini, cucumbers. We drank coffee and wine and Vermont beer and margaritas with crushed salt on the rim of the pint glass. And he was only here for two days.Seth told me that as he spun through North Dakota and the Upper Peninsula into Canada, he craved one thing -okay actually he probably craved many things but this was one of them- jumping off of high places into water. And after he got to Ottawa and saw an exhibit of elaborately balanced rocks by the river, he got it in his head that he wanted to stack rocks.
So that's what we did. We swam and balanced rocks on the riverbank, and when it rained we went to the cafe in town and played mancala and read the New York Times.
I took him on a long walk around the land, up to sugar house hill and through the upper field. We talked nonstop for two days and, I don't know, we just had a good time. I really like it when people come and visit me out here. I especially like it when they come hungry.