A last glimpse at summer: I was a guest at a beach house, sitting like Ahab on the uppermost deck,when two young families arrived to take possession of the rental next door. A pair of little girls tumbled from the car and raced instantly to their house’s upper balcony, a boy about four began begging his dad for a game of catch and a toddler in a diaper was swooped up, unceremoniously sniffed and told he needed a new one.
After ten or 15 minutes the adults gathered on the front porch. “There’s no front yard,” said one. “But there’s this nice skinny side yard,” said another. At the beach you don’t always see a lot of land around a rental.
As I half-read my book and half-watched I sorted them out finally: two sets of young parents, four young children between them and a visiting couple who looked to be there just for the day. I went back to my book in earnest, then after an additional 30 minutes scanning the horizon for the great white whale. climbed down a level to the large lower deck – where some 90 minutes later, the little girls appeared.
“We need to borrow some butter, can we borrow butter?” said one. “Also syrup.” smiled the other. “We’re having waffles!” they cried as one, too exhilarated at this stunning fact to keep it to themselves any longer.
“Let’s see what we can do!” said another houseguest and brought them right to our mutual host who reached into his fridge and pulled out the desired items like two rabbits out of a hat.
“Where are you guys from?” I asked the little girls once we were back on the deck. They named two towns out of state.
“How old are you?”
They were seven, born just six weeks apart. “Our mothers are best friends” they said with great satisfaction, their arms now draped round each other’s shoulders.
“And where are your husbands?” asked this other houseguest,who had already gotten them to say that they’d bring him waffles in the morning.
“Well our BROTHERS are two and four!” the said while their merry laughter added their all but audible thought that grownups really were very silly.
“There’s a block party tonight at dark, right across the grass there,” said the same teasing man. You should come!”
But they shook their heads. “We’ll be in bed by then,” one said, too kind to say aloud that anyone with any sense at all is in bed by dark.
So they didn’t come to the block party though their friendly parents did, taking turns so as to guard the sleeping youngsters and a lovely two couples they were who had driven all the way to the shore on this day, in their excitement forgetting all about what they might feed their kids for supper or what that menu might need in the way of tasty extras.
Alas for our teasing friend, no waffles appeared for him in the morning. What did come was this nice card, personally delivered by Miss Aubrey and Miss Lilly, representing their joint gratitude and even the gratitude of their non-husbandly little brothers Sawyer and Finn.