March of 2008 came in like a lion.
Bucky was driving into Westminster to meet Loie at her gym. They were going to Mom and Dad’s house for Saturday Lunch. The vent sauvage* pushed New Trucker back and forth on the road. Bucky waited a few minutes at the gym, and had just begun reading a three year old magazine when Loie came out of her class. Soon the lunch supplies had been transferred to Loie’s car and they were driving to Mom and Dad’s house. Loie was having to control Rocket Grrl’s tendency to dance almost as much as Bucky had to control Trucker’s. Loie and Bucky discussed the old aphorism.
In Like a Lion
“Is this ‘in like a lion?’ ” said Bucky. “Does this count?”
“Oh, I think so,” said Loie. “So that should mean ‘out like a lamb.’ March ends the opposite of how it began.”
“OK, good,” said Bucky. “That will help save the woodpile.”
Once at Glen Burnie, the day seemed to go about as expected. Loie arranged the new cut flowers as Bucky put the chicken and potatoes in the oven to heat up. When he was finished in the kitchen, Bucky told Dad it was time to trim the grapevines. This is an annual ritual. Bucky likes to keep the old grapevine; he uses it in the Weber grill, adding pieces to the charcoal to help flavor chicken and fish. As they worked, Bucky made sure to tell Dad that the chicken had been cooked using some of last year’s grape vine trimmings.
Trimming the Vines
“Ooh,” said Dad, “Now I know we’re going to have a good lunch.”
It took less than an hour to trim the vines, even though the wind was trying to push the trimmings around the patio and overturn the can. Dad and Bucky trooped in from the windy day, announcing they had worked up appetites and were ready for lunch.
“Did you look at the vines?” Bucky said.
“Yes, they look very neat and clean,” said Loie.
Bucky nudged Dad, to make sure he was listening.
“We didn’t have to do anything,” said Bucky. “The wind just nipped the old vine right off and blew it into the collecting can.” Dad nodded and made fluttering motions with his hands.
“Oh brother,” said Loie. “Do you want wine with your lunch?”
Everyone agreed that the lunch of herb-stuffed chicken roasted over grapevines, mashed potatoes with cheese melted in and roasted green bell peppers was delicious.
“I know when Chef Bucky is cooking, I’m going to eat a good meal,” said Dad.
Intimations of a Day
Aftr lunch, Loie told Bucky that as usual, Aunt Dolores had called to discuss what groceries she should buy for Mom and Dad. Aunt Dolores had told Loie Nephew Bill was in the hospital with some kind of respiratory complaint.
“I think she told me that yesterday, when she called while you were at the Spelling Bee,” said Bucky.
“Yes,” said Loie, “I remembered you wrote that down in your note. She just wanted to remind us.” The Lovebunnies were talking in the kitchen, out of earshot of Mom and Dad. Loie hadn’t told them the news of Nephew Bill, as she didn’t want them worrying.
“And did she tell about everyone being sick, and Evan breaking his finger?”
“Well, it was Josh broke his thumb, it seems,” said Loie. “And Evan has the ruptured eardrum, and yes, Amanda and the boys all have some kind of flu.”
“Maybe Bill just has some really bad kind of flu,” said Bucky.
“That would be good,” said Loie. “If were only that, everyone would rest easier. But right now, no one seems to know.” Bucky shook his head. It seemed Amanda and Bill were having a streak of very bad luck.
Loie began to do the dishes, and Bucky sat in the living room with Mom and Dad.
“I like having a glass of wine with lunch,” Dad announced. “And these cookies are very good. But the two don’t go together very well.” He was smiling as he spoke, and didn’t in the least seem reluctant to enjoy the dessert that “didn’t go.”
“You’re supposed to have a glass of your port with the cookies,” Loie said from the kitchen. Dad just laughed a bit.
“Something’s the matter,” said Loie. “Dad, is there something wrong with the faucet?” Bucky waved his hand at Dad to get his attention.
A Day Begins
“Loie wants you in the kitchen,” said Bucky. Dad got up from the table and went into the kitchen. Bucky heard him and Loie talking.
“The water won’t shut off.”
“Well, I don’t know why. Let me try…” Bucky heard this conversation go back and forth a few times. He got up and went in to check. Sure enough, there was something wrong. No amount of fiddling with the faucet handles would turn off the water. Eventually, Bucky ousted Dad from in front of the cabinet under the sink by making flashlight-turning-on-and-off motions.
“Oh, yes,” said Dad, “I’ve got a flashlight in the cellar.” Once Bucky could get a look under the sink unobstructed by Dad, he found the valve for the cold water and turned it off. By then Dad was back up with the flashlight.