Saturday, June 20, 2009

Almost Heaven...but not quite. And then finding my way Home

This weekend will go down in my personal history book as one of the longest, hardest of my life.
I had some programs scheduled way over on the other side of Ohio, in Portsmouth. Being so close to West Virginia, I thought I would sneak over the border and see some birds...and recapture the magic I found there at the New River Bird and Nature Festival. That week in WV changed me in a very visceral way and I wanted to feel it again, that thrill of the mountains.

But it wasn't the same. I missed my people.
I wanted Lynne beside me, crying for joy at her first sight of a Cerulean Warbler.
I wanted Mary and Nina there to get fantastic photos and share them with me.
I wanted Kathi to ID the birds singing outside and sit back with me to open a bottle of wine.
I wanted Kathie to light up at the sight of yet another eastern US lifer.
I wanted Jane there to give me that sweet smile and tell me to Embrace My Inner Sheep.
I wanted Tim to entice me to join him in the hot tub.
I wanted to look at Beth and cause her to break into fits of helpless laughter.
I wanted to sit out on the porch swing with Laura and whisper secrets into the night air.

I was a lonely member of a Flock who had not made the journey with me. NOT the same...

It was raining as I got into Fayetteville. Big surprise.
I got a picture of the bridge I had been so afraid of...

New River Bridge

...and smiled at the rhododendron in bloom:
blooming rhododendron

Found a tiny perfect pink mushroom.
Perfect Pink Mushroom
The birds were quieter than they had been in late April. Breeding is slowing, and the migrants have passed. Oh, well.

Before I left for the trip, I emailed Geoff Heeter (check this post...Geoff is the one shouting, "I like to DANCE!") and asked if he and his family would like a private raptor show, since I was in the area. He loved the idea, so I was welcomed into his lovely home and did a program for him, his charming wife, his kids, the neighborhood kids, the parents of the neighborhood kids....right in Geoff's kitchen. It was fun and relaxed, and the kids loved it.

I was able to meet Geoff's of them here being held by Geoff's daughter:

And I don't know what Geoff is feeding these chickens, but they have reached gigantic proportions:
Giant chicken
Look out, little girl! That chicken looks hungry!

The impromptu program for Geoff's family was the highlight of the trip. I spent all day today driving back home. Five hours in the car.

Unhappy birds in the back (they had been living in their carriers for 2 days, and that just makes them cranky...and Lucy wouldn't eat at all...I was a wreck) and a sore neck and the melancholy of leaving West Virginia somehow unclaimed.
I went there looking for something, and I couldn't find it. I left with a special sadness in my heart.

After stopping at the house to pick up my family to go get the other car from the shop, I then drove the birds back to RAPTOR.
Then it was off to Indiana, to my niece's graduation party.
The Graduate

I miss Indiana and the parties that are to be had.
Some things you can find there:

Manly games of Cornhole, played here on a "Breast Cancer Awareness" board:
The Manly sport of Cornhole
You have to live west of Vine Street (that's the dividing line in Cincinnati that tells you if you are a "West Sider" or one of those uppity "East Siders") to play Cornhole.
I think some uppity East Siders are picking up the game, I guess when they want to come off their high horses and try to act like common folk.

(I live on the East side of Cincinnati, but since I grew up in Indiana, I am forgiven and allowed to cross the state line)

The food at a party in southeastern Indiana is delicious and truly horrible for you, hence the appeal:
Side dishes like Skyline Dip, Seven-Layer Salad, Fritos with everything, and the most Heavenly Bar-B-Que Chicken Dip you have ever tasted. It comes with a HazMat warning.
Who the Hell brought vegetables?????

And the only way to cook your food is with, make that massive....amounts of OIL (lard if you are feeling extra naughty):
Everything has to be deep-fried. (Look, Laura! A cooking barrel!)

The only way to cook all of your food
Fried chicken...and French Fries and also fried pickles and fried Twinkies. Seriously.
For those of you who aren't privy to the ways of I said to someone this weekend, "We may be part of the North, but we ain't YANKEES."

You need something cold and delicious to wash down all that grease, and that's where this contraption comes in:
An invention of my brother's....a refrigerator that has a beer tap right on the side:
The coolest fridge ever

You need to have this Oh-So-Cool fridge, because you need to be able to put your HALF-BARREL somewhere:
Inside of coolest fridge ever
Yes. A half-barrel. Not a KEG...a HALF-BARREL.
There were three half-barrels at the party today...and when I left, they were down to one.

Bright, Indiana has its own gang sign.
I could tell you what it means, but then I'd hafta kill ya.
The Bright Indiana Gang sign


KGMom said...

Susan--as a non-flock member, maybe it's appropriate that I am the first to comment.
What to say?
Oh, heck--forget it.
You know what I must be thinking.
Any post with a half barrel in it has something good to say.

Anonymous said...


As I was reading I was thinking that feast sounded like the food I grew up with. Vegetables are allowed, as long as they're cooked with ham or bacon, or covered with mushroom soup. Or embedded in jello. No, wait - jello is to hide fruit.

and seriously? I read the other day that lard is making a comeback. It's monosaturated, so it's actually better for you the polyunsaturated substitutes that have been promoted in recent years.

If we live long enough, eating may come full circle and be fun again.

Hope you, lucy, and traveling companion have recovered from the trip.

Beth said...

Sweetie, I am so sorry your trip wasn't all you wanted it to be. You're right - the Flock is a special group of people.

And that menu at the graduation party sounds wonderful. There is only one way I like my veggies - deep fried and stuffed with cheese!

Love ya'

Susan Gets Native said...

That beer was the coldest beer I have ever had. It was nearly frozen. Yum.

Heck yeah. Give me lard. And eggs. And all that stuff that isn't as evil as once thought.
I think I'm back to normal now. Whatever THAT is! :)
And the birds are still mad at me.

Beth (aka Tickle-Me-Elmo):
I don't eat veggies unless they are smothered in something unhealthy enough to undue the nutrition achieved by the veggies. :)
And yeah...that trip just didn't turn out the way I wished it would. Next time I arrive in WV, my Flock will be with all its loud obnoxious glory.

Mary said...

Awww, Susan. Did you ride by the Farmhouse? I'll bet it's all leafed out now and the creek out back isn't even visible from the house. You've had a wild weekend!

Being in WV was a special time but flew by so quickly...

Lynne at Hasty Brook said...

I wonder if there will ever be a week like that one. Everything about it was special- the place, the birds, the kitchen table at the Farmhouse, even the drippy weather. But mostly it was the people.

RuthieJ said...

I love that cool giant chicken! I'm glad you found some happiness in Indiana after the melancholy visit to WV.

dAwN said...

Oh..I keep thinking or that Giant chicken! Poor young gal..did she get away? keg...calories..
I am sad about u missing your all bonded you will flock together again!