Stump Fire and Returning Nathaniel

Son John $pencer has a little camping auger he has been experimenting with. He drilled holes in a stump and showed grandsons David and Nathaniel how to set a tiny fire in it. The young men were in the dark, although they saw the light.

On our way to take Nathaniel back to his dorm, we ate at Flat Rock Wood Room not far from Carl Sandburg’s home. We were surprised to find any restaurant equally featuring barbecue and pizza. I thought the food was tasty and served imaginatively. The fellows all had a skillet filled with macaroni and cheese, topped with barbecued pork. David’s side dish was fried sweet potatoes in a tiny bucket. I had shrimp and grits with barbecue sauce.

On the way home I savored the memories of Nathaniel’s quick visit. He told us about his busy life – working one job in the dorm and one in the cafeteria, for a total of 40 hours a week. He attends one class in person and takes the rest of his classes on line. He doesn’t have much time to cook. I was delighted that he brought some sweet potatoes and was willing to prepare them any way we wanted. It’s a pleasure to cook with him. He never gets in my way, and I try to stay out of his. The mashed sweets were marvelous.

My favorite story was set in the cafeteria. There was an area in the dining room where people were not supposed to step. Despite a sign on the floor, people continually walked there while glued to their phones. Nathaniel suggested they tape it off and put a mannequin there. It was his suggestion that turned into his assignment. He said he changed the clothes on the mannequin once a week and put it in different positions on the floor. Lots of people commented on it, and no one stepped there again. I wish I’d asked for a photo, because I’m sure he took a few.

After we came home, David and I were relaxing in easy chairs. I said, “I don’t think Nathaniel moved the mirror down.”

John had looked and said that was correct. David got up, and I reached for the camera. The ritual was obligatory, even without Nathaniel. With the mirror lower, John and I can now see our heads. It would be comfortable for David about five inches higher.

23 thoughts on “Stump Fire and Returning Nathaniel

  1. Ah, that answers my question from before – I was hoping it was a long visit, but it was short and sweet and over too quickly Nathaniel is a go-getter, that’s for sure. To have that energy again Anne.


    1. Nathaniel is cooking Thanksgiving dinner for a couple he knew on Long Island. We hope to see him sometime next month. The university has had conflicting info about when classes are over, so he doesn’t know exactly when he will be free. We’ll be happy to have him any time he can come here.

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      1. That is nice of Nathaniel to do that – those people must be special and doing something he loves at the same time. I hope he will come to visit again. I was hearing most universities will close down at Thanksgiving and not open until after the MLK holiday in mid-January … that makes lots of sense to me. We have spikes in cases and deaths intensifying by the day. I have laid in all my provisions for the Winter … I could use a few more peanuts and paper towels but there was a limit and I got all the peanuts on hand, so I’ll go back on morning mid-week, next week and be done with it.


          1. I am happy to be done with it, but the house is pretty cluttered right now. I figure I can organize everything later – the main thing is I have got everything in. Right now, no one sees it. I bought a crock pot recently so now had to get additional items for dinners that I never would have bought before as I used only canned soup for dinner. I figured I’d go while the weather was good – we are having rain on Sunday (as of now) and I have to spend a good six or seven hours out there cutting down the roses, doing the leaves and some other outside chores. Everything else is done for the last three or four weeks. I am taking this Saturday for myself as it will be nice – I know our Winters and one weatherman says we are having snow showers Sunday night. It won’t stick, but still … ugh.


              1. I hope it fades away … in the past few years, I’ve done blog posts about the snow … first landing on my roses which I had not cut down (same thing as now – I was waiting so they didn’t have regrowth and I want to cut them to the ground) and last year on the pumpkins on my neighbor’s porch. I am fine with snow staying at bay a few more months.

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