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Saturday in the Country

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Yesterday, the sun peeked out and stayed out, all day, for the first time in two weeks. It was blindingly bright and clear and cool. Phoebe had a softball game in Beverly, and we all took off at 9 AM to watch her do her stuff. She's Catcher. It's such a pleasure to see her do something she's good at, and hang out with her friends.
I was intrigued by the photographic potential of all these sweet little girls in bright colors on a sunny day. They creamed the Beverly team three to fourteen. And especially moved by the scene when Phoebe's friends would descend on her after each inning, and either remove or apply her protective gear. I never participated in team sports, but it's neat to watch Phoebe digging it. She gets that from her dad, a team player if ever there was one.
When my father, who was pretty much bald from his late twenties on, would see a group of girls together, he'd always mutter, "Look at all that HAIR." I remember his saying it at my college graduation, as we looked down from the bleachers on a sea of mortarboards I caught myself muttering the same thing to myself as I looked down the bench. It was like a visitation from Dad. Look at all that shiny bright blonde hair. I used to be a honey blonde, before the hormones of pregnancy decided I'd serve better as a brunette. Same thing happened to my mom. She was a platinum blonde until the first kid, then bam! Gone. At least I was warned.
This is our friend Missy with her dog-nephew, Bentley. I grew up with a dachshund and still have a big soft spot for these great little dogs. They're personality-packed, quirky and individualistic.
This is Dozer. He's an English bulldog, who weighs around 80 pounds (down from over 100). Despite his formidable appearance, he is a real cream puff, and I spent much of the game hanging out with him and his owners. His owners said they'd never seen him make over someone like he did me. When he saw my camera, he literally smiled. Every time I pointed it his way, he smiled again and gave me his best side. His six-year-old owner was about as proud of that dog as a kid could be. What a delightful giant superfudge chunk of a doggie. Utterly huggable. Chet's got bulldog in his lineage. That's where his sweetness comes from. It perfectly modulates the rat terrier fire.

A stop at the school playground proved that my mother's instincts are still honed sharp. Even as I was shooting Liam as he shot down the slide, I realized that he was coming much too fast for it to end well. I threw out my arm and stopped him just before he removed his brand-new incisors on the gravel below. Phew! And made another rule: No sliding down on tummies. Not even big girls.

After the game, we went to a terrific local and heretofore undiscovered pizzeria, Jukebox Pizza in Waterford. They were using the best North Dakota-grown wheat flour for a crust that was crispy on the outside, perfectly moist within. Man, what a nice pizza place. Liam, who loves pizza more than any food in the world, was in nirvana.

Then we went to two different country nurseries, where sweet Bill bought me whatever I wanted. This included trailing perennial snapdragons, Salvia guaranitica "Black and Blue," portulaca, Sanvitalia, two quarts of just-picked strawberries, and yet another fancy-leafed star-flowered geranium. Can't have too many of those. How much was that? Do you take Visa? (Photo by Phoebe)

We ended the day with a glass of wine and barn swallows swooping low over the yard, picking eggshells off the sidewalk. Bill digiscoped a kingbird. I enjoyed my small, sweet canine lapwarmer, thankful that, as easy as it would have been to do so, I had not fallen for a hundred-pound English bulldog. There's a lyric from a seemingly fluffy Sheryl Crow song that comes to me at times like this:

It's not having what you want
It's wanting what you've got


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