Catoctin Mountain
Monday November 10th 2008, 8:57 pm
Filed under: Family,Friends,Life

Karen picked me up this afternoon and we meandered: first, we drove past the house I grew up in.  It’s been sold and remodeled.  It’s lovely, but it was an odd feeling–after 44 years of my folks being there, it’s definitely not home anymore. We drove past the driveway going down to the Frank Lloyd Wright house around the corner, too, where you could just see the outline of the ship-shaped roof through the winter-bare tree trunks.  Wright’s grandson lives there still, an elderly man who a few years ago welcomed his neighbors by special invitation, including my parents, to a tour of the insides, right at the edge of a nature preserve and overlooking Cabin John Creek.  Like all Wright buildings, it blends right into its landscape.

Then Karen took me past her daughter Amy’s office, where Amy did a really cool braiding job on my hair.  In my Kaffe Fassett coat, my Begay turquoise necklace, Birkenstocks and handknit socks, and my ready-for-a-wedding braids, I felt like I looked like a Californian somehow in the air that was finally beginning to chill.

Karen announced to my surprise that we were going to Cunningham Falls so I could see the falls this time when it was no longer a drought. Oh GOOD! I’d really wanted to do that, but I wasn’t going to ask; it’s way out there in the Maryland mountains, on the opposite side of the road from Camp David.  COOL!

The woods near the falls were surprisingly open to the sky, with tree trunks on the ground, many of them sawed into chunks.  What happened to my park?! Turns out a tornado had ripped through there right below the falls.  More water in the falls now, but fewer trees in the forest.  I look forward to going back to see what changes and rebirthing comes there next, to see what tree varieties grow up in place of the old.

Catoctin? I asked Karen?  Absolutely! And so the two of us turned north a mile or two and went to Catoctin Mountain Orchards, where my family had picked fruit every summer growing up, weighing our boxes before and after we went through the strawberries, the cherries, the you name its, stooping low for hours or, better yet, climbing ladders up into trees with our parents’ actual permission to be up there.  They have a large roadside farmstand now.  I bought one of my daughter Michelle’s favorite foods, their homemade apple butter, and talked to the woman about shipping it home for me.  I’d once hauled an extra suitcase back to California filled with their jars, very heavy, wheels or no wheels, worrying about breaking glass and sticky jam; I had no desire to do that again.

She had no idea about any of that.  She showed me the chart with the shipping charges and warned me that that was besides the cost of the bottles themselves.  Yes, I understood that.  Karen and I hemmed and hawed over a few other purchases–I got a gorgeous matted 8×10 photograph of the falls in the Fall for $25 to take home–and the elderly woman felt the need to tell me twice more just to make sure I understood what costs I was about to be in for.

Yes, thanks.  I got it.  Twenty for the shipping: “Well, yes, those jars are heavy!” I explained to her that I didn’t want to haul them through not one but two airports.  I didn’t feel the need to explain about me doing airports in wheelchairs, about how happy I was to let the UPS guy do the work.

But more to the point, I wanted those jars home safely. My daughter had just had a major health scare last month, she was coming home at Thanksgiving for some doctor time, and I needed to do something to make it all better.  Catoctin Mountain Orchards apple butter was exactly the right thing, and I couldn’t wait to see her face light up.

Sometimes, it’s knitting that I do to try to get that effect.  But I can be flexible.

(ps And then Richard, Karen, Amy and I went out to dinner afterwards and got The. Best. Waitress. in the entire state of Maryland.  I made a point of telling her manager how much we’d enjoyed her as we left.  And if she reads this–THANK YOU!)

7 Comments so far
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Yay for great apple butter from a favorite source. I have a jar in my mother inlaw’s birthday bag…

Isn’t a great wait-person a joy?

Comment by Channon 11.11.08 @ 6:41 am

is there a photo of you in your Kaffe and your Birkenstocks and your braids? pretty please? ps–which Kaffe Fassett coat?

Comment by Tola 11.11.08 @ 7:24 am

I am sooo enjoying your trip home. Thank you.

Comment by sherry in idaho 11.11.08 @ 9:29 am

I’ve given you an award on my blog…come visit! I’m so glad to hear about your trip home. Plus, I love thinking about you in your braids and birkenstocks…:) Sorry I missed you at Stitches, friend.

Comment by Joanne 11.11.08 @ 9:54 am

I always try to came sure good ervice is noted to supervisors. I tyr to ignore bad service (unless it’s REALLY bad), but I always compliment good service. And when it’s over the top good? I definitely make sure someone knows.

Comment by Sandra 11.11.08 @ 11:00 am

Waitresses can really make a difference sometimes.
One of my lifelong friends was the best waitress I ever knew. She was talented and generous and smart, and she kept her job at Bob Evans in part because she could touch so many people there.
When I am feeling overwhelmed, I like recently with my Dad sorrows, I have a meal there, and you know, I often meet a waitress or waiter there who reminds me of my lost friend.

Comment by Diana 11.11.08 @ 3:31 pm

I always feel like I am right there with you in the stories you tell in your posts. Cannot wait for Friday to REALLY be with you!

Comment by Amanda 11.11.08 @ 7:29 pm

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