The day after cousins Debi and Peter arrived, grandson Nathaniel had to go back to college. We had lunch after church in Asheville.
All six of us piled in the car and drove to Charlotte. It probably took two and a half hours. We figured we could visit in the car and not miss a moment of being together. Photos taken during a break show the faces of three of our traveling guests.
Nathaniel offered to pose in his dorm room, and who was I to refuse?
In the parking lot, I saw his view of the city of Charlotte for the first time. Those tall buildings were just a few blocks away. The stadium was in view, too. We knew the trip home was going to be long, because a game had just let out. There were various groups of people dressed alike and walking together, as well as gridlock in the streets. John deftly maneuvered us away from the city center, and we shortly hit molasses traffic on the interstate. Lise used to live in the area, so she directed us on back streets. The trip home was twice as long as it would have been on a normal day, but we could talk as much or as little as we liked.
The next day, as we sat at the dining room table, I said, “I miss Nathaniel.”
I may have imagined that Lise and John steeled themselves for an outburst of grandmotherly grief. They laughed when I continued, “No matter where he sat at the table, he could reach anything and pass it to you.”
A footnote for Rooster: Nathaniel told us at church that he had forgotten something at the house. In the hubbub of leaving, he didn’t lower the mirror in the foyer. We all agreed this was not a terrible thing, since he will be back for Christmas in less than a month.