It’s not often that Miss Ward is on this side of the world, Gentle Reader. Once every year or two or three, she’ll drift through briefly to see family and friends. It’s always a marvelous time when she’s here.
I’d just started a new job* the day she arrived – and suddenly I was in the midst of G.I.S.H.W.H.E.S. – and I don’t drive. It was therefore impossible to meet with her before this last Sunday, so we made arrangements to go visit Mr. Darling up in Town and stay the night.
Or so we thought.
It came to pass, while we were on the bus up to see him, that things weren’t arranged at all. Darling was only expecting Miss Ward – and he wasn’t expecting her until eleven that evening. It was around nine thirty in the morning.
He graciously rolled with the mix-up, and off we went to get brunch on Broadway, while we figured out what we would do with our day. Naturally, we decided upon a pastoral adventure right in the heart of Seattle. Off we trotted to Darling’s place to pick up picnic supplies, art supplies, and his new ukulele.
Once we arrived at the Arboretum – which neither Ward nor I had visited before – we wandered through the wilderness until we chanced upon a little bridge leading towards the water.
We soon found a shady spot under spreading trees; Darling and Ward worked on sketches, I tooled around on Chordelia – we watched the college boys kayak on the lake.
Later, I gave Darling a uke lesson – he’s just starting out. We picnicked and shared a bottle of Rex Goliath’s Cabernet Sauvignon – because it’s the best red you can get for five dollars. We wrote an exquisite corpse or two, we read one another’s tarot, Miss Ward and I spontaneously figured out the chords to Hallelujah while Darling sang – it was a perfect, golden, afternoon.
Around sunset, we finally returned to Darling’s apartment; we were all too exhausted to go out. Instead, we played this charming little card game called Once Upon A Time – you’re dealt a hand of fairy-tale elements as well as an abrupt ending. Whoever begins crafts a story, trying to use all the elements in their hand, that will fit their ending; the other players try to interrupt and hijack the story for their own purposes. It’s a fast-paced game that results in quite delightful silly stories, with elements like the Swamp Window Laundry Kingdom, and Beggars who have been transformed into Clothes, Tiny Dragon Princesses Who Are Served Up For Dinner, and Frog Wives.
Dear lord, the frog-wives. The frog-wives quickly became a theme. There were buckets of them, and one actually jumped through the window of Darlings’ second-story apartment. All in all, it was a perfect end to a perfect day.
*The job is newish. I’ve actually returned to a job I left two years ago.