The summer season ended for us today when grandson Nathaniel left for college. We had the mirror ritual after breakfast. All summer the mirror had been set for Nathaniel, high on the wall, hanging on a hook from the former owners’ clock. He was the one who moved it, and I was the recorder of the Mirror Rite.

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Now it is back where everyone but Nathaniel can use it. Well, he could check his torso, not his face.

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Nathaniel has always been known for light packing. Grandson David didn’t take the kitchen sink to college, but he did have a refrigerator. These photos contrast their styles.

One last photo – ready to go!

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Logan’s Goodbye to David

We didn’t see a lot of neighbor Logan this summer. He was away with his parents several times, and we were busy with grandsons David and Nathaniel. To mark the end of this visit, Shawn and Bob invited us for a pancake supper featuring maple syrup they bought when they were in Vermont. It was bitter-sweet for me, because I know how much Logan and David enjoy playing games together. There SHOULD have been more time, but David was usually working when Logan was free.

Logan’s manners were wonderful as he sat through the leisurely meal. Finally he asked if he and David could be excused from the table. As they got up, David admitted that Logan had quietly asked him to play checkers many times. I had to take a shot of Logan’s position after they switched to a different game. One foot was on the coffee table, and I think the other was on the floor. Logan’s concentration was such that I doubt he knew I took a flash photo.

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The rest of the adults chatted for a bit at the table.

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John, Bob, Kate, and Shawn

Our daughter Kate was with us for one full day. She drove down from New Jersey to pick up David and take him to college in New York.

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Logan and the youngest of the adults played Uno for several rounds.

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Logan, Shawn, David, and Kate

When it was time to go, David and John swung Logan over their heads. In the photo, the boy is just a blur, high in the air. Nathaniel missed all this fun because he was working. That was the hallmark of our summer – juggling schedules.

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David, blur of Logan, and John

The next morning I spotted David’s final balancing act of the season. The ice cream scoop was hanging precariously over the sink. I was already missing you before you left, David. Can’t wait for you and Kate to come back!

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End of Summer

Although temperatures were still seasonally hot, a fun summer ended for me when John headed north with our grandsons. We laughed every single day at things that were amusing or just silly. We were old enough to be silly, and they were mature enough to join in. Of course, there were tons of puns bandied about, with David reveling in them and Nathaniel claiming to despise them. Both were good at it. We delighted in visits with relatives in Summerville SC and Winston Salem. Relatives from Thomasville were here for a conference, so we were with them for a few hours. Touristy things included seeing a bit of Charleston, touring an Asheville mansion, and going to a mountain folk museum. Another high point of the visit was son John’s taking the young men on a hike to Chimney Rocks. While David worked, Nathaniel helped John build a waterfall in the garden – a treat for the eyes and ears! Quite often Nathaniel grilled the meat for dinner. Everyone enjoyed the food, and John was pleased that he didn’t have to build the fires and do the cooking.

The time slipped away for us to see neighbors Shawn, Bob, and young Logan. They came over to say goodbye, and sadly we didn’t hear them at the door. They left a very special calling card – vine ripened tomatoes and green peppers from their garden. Unlike us, they have a very USEFUL garden.

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081216 Still life from neighbor's garden







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The last full day was a time for packing and putting things away. Nathaniel’s belongings were compact, but David was taking everything he’d need for college from summer clothes to winter coats.



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At the very last minute, Nathaniel remembered the mirror ritual. One of the first things he does when he comes is moving the mirror from its normal hook to a high one left by the previous owners for a clock. The height is perfect for him, and him alone. I don’t know why he was wearing a winter hat topped with a conductor’s hat, but we do silly things here. He was probably taking them out to the car the easiest way possible. He and David assumed poses for the formal ritual. Nathaniel carefully moved the mirror and leaned down to check his reflection.

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Formal pose for mirror ritual
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Last comfortable view for Nathaniel
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Mirror set at normal height
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Crouching for one last check

I hadn’t the heart to take a photo of the van before they left. I know it was unorthodox. They removed the middle seats. David sat in the front passenger seat, and Nathaniel folded himself into the very back where he was surrounded by luggage before and behind him. The last I heard from them was a text from David responding to my reporting of Olympic wins of the American swim teams. For me, this was a most satisfying summer, one filled with good memories and hopes of more to come.