Thursday, August 4, 2011

My Return to Gordonsville

On Saturday afternoon I drove down to Gordonsville. I was rather anxious about the trip, not having been down there since the end of last year. Passing forgotten landmarks and familiar sights did little to quell my angst, even seeing 'my' old armchair at the end of Rob's road, in the same place, the same position and looking none the worse for wear. The familiarity of the trip ended as I turned into the driveway and saw Rob's house at the end. He had warned me about the felling of the pine trees and although I had been upset to hear of it I had thought I was prepared to accept the change in the house's surroundings. Wrong. I was shocked at the desecration and the area resembled a war zone. Rob had felled all the pines at the front of his house and Jim had had a good third of the trees at the back chopped down. Rob had chopped his pines down for fear of them falling on the house in a storm and though I tried to understand his reasoning I was still dazed at the change in scenery. A few small hardwoods still stood, their branches trying to reach out and apologetically fill the empty spaces. It was amazing at how different it all looked, bare, almost raped and I averted my eyes concentrating on getting inside the house, hoping to find friendly familiarity inside. 
It was comforting to hear the ticking clocks and Rob proudly showed me his new collection of cuckoo clocks, all purchased broken from Ebay and now all running. He pointed out the one he had bought and repaired for my birthday and I loved it, the unusual decoration and the music box that tinkled after the cuckoo had heralded each hour. I was impressed at his newfound skill and we chuckled as we watched each one take its turn to announce the time.
We went into town for pizza at Fabios and for the first time that day I found myself relaxing and accepting being back in this world that I thought would remain in my past. Returning to the house, we saw Jessie and it was wonderful to hug her again. I had missed her.
We had nothing planned the next day and I was grateful to Rob for that, we needed to re-establish our old routine, so we were content to just potter about with a trip to fetch groceries and mundane activities.
 Rob had planted some flower seeds under the window which were flourishing and attracting a young Great Spangled Fritillary butterfly.He was perfect and fearless, not concerned about us shoving a camera up close to him and at one point even dangling from my finger. He stayed on the flowers all afternoon.
Rob had also hung in the shrub outside the cones I had decorated as part of a Christmas decoration for his dining room. I was touched.
I had bought carrots and apples at the store for Jessie's new pets. Sam is a jackass and Blackie a horse, both of whom are the best of friends and had suffered abuse. Jessie had rescued them and welcomed them onto the farm.
Whispering in Sam's ear.
They were both friendly although Blackie was a little shy but both loved their snacks and cuddles and seemed perfectly content in their new home. Sunflower the cow also enjoyed a few bites, making me laugh as she still liked to head butt me if I let her.
 Stuart reflected in Rob's car.
Rob disconnected whatever he had attached to the tractor and parked it next to Stuart while I stuck a Massey Ferguson sticker on Stuart's trunk.
 The two Masseys!
And then it was time for a tractor ride with me driving. I'd forgotten most of the controls but Rob soon reminded me and we were off trundling down the road again just like old times.
I still don't know how Rob manages to take great photos holding the camera out the way he does but he always gets good shots.
Checking the mail and then my favorite photo of the day taken by Rob of me slowly plodding down the driveway. 
 The two Masseys again.
A cute little salamader that Rob found under the bench on the front porch. The poor thing was trapped in a spider's web so we gently rescued it and managed to pull most of the sticky web from its tiny feet.
The view from 'my spot' by the fence is still the same and still beautiful.
It was soon time to leave and to head back to Meadow House and a hungry Kota. Rob had earlier fired up the BBQ and we'd had a wonderful meal of chicken and potatoes with veggies. He had looked over at me and said, "It's nice to see you across the table again", and it was nice. Nice to be back. And I'll be back again, especially since he gleefully sent me a few days later a text photo of a new vacuum cleaner for me to use. It's been nice laughing with him again.
The journey home to Meadow House isn't quite as long as it was to Centreville and it's certainly a lot more enjoyable with no traffic hold ups the whole way through. It was also wonderful to not lose the 'country rural' feeling that I used to experience as I neared the snarling roadways of DC's suburbs. We now drive from one country house to another.

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