and on the second day…

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Red and orange leaves waved between the blinds of the front window beckoning me to come outside with my camera to see if I could capture a fine photo or two. I also got a shot of an Amish buggy rolling up Bever Street and as I waved, the young driver smiled and waved back, turning at the next corner, disappearing into a great wash of yellow leaves.

My niece took the labyrinth into the College of Wooster campus armed with music coursing through ear buds as her pedometer tracked her steps. My brother-in-law, Uncle Bob and Liz’s husband, Rich took a trip to town in hunt of a terra cotta bake dish like the one Rich uses to bake his wonderful bread. Of course, it is my sister and niece who will do the baking once they get it home to the little town they live in just above Portland, Oregon.

Liz’s elder son, Ed and his two sons arrived and rounded up my niece’s daughter, Zoe to help make meat balls after all hands were scrubbed. Liz helped supervise and soon there were trays of meatballs, unwrapped slices of cheese and buttered buns being carried to the outdoor grill where Ed turned them into “smashburgers” by browning one end of each ball, flattening them on the grill, flipping them over, adding a slice of cheese and topping that with another burger then filling the buns with the double burger to make the most delicious sandwich ever.

As daylight drained into evening, cheesecloth bags of clams, potatoes, carrots and onions cooked on two gas burners on the patio while the ever burgeoning crowd filed into the house through the kitchen, sampling from the accumulation of snacks on the island. Lisa brought a loaf of brown bread and spinach dip and Judy, the wife of Ray’s life-long friend, Rich, covered a block of cream cheese with a caramel sauce and sprinkled crushed nuts on the top and circled the cheese with flat pretzels. The remainder of the chili that my niece made was staying warm on the stove. Even our own Brewmaster, Paul, the youngest son of my cousin Jerry came by taking a short break from his busy business in town.

The television room was filled with football fans as Ohio State played against Penn State.

Ed announced that the clams were ready as he heaped the rest of the food onto the island and a line formed to dig into the delectable dinner. Many conversations were in progress with occasional hoots and hollers from the football crowd.

A clean sweep was made of the emptied clam shells and Ohio State won the game and Liz brought a beautiful carrot cake out and we sang to Joanne for her belated but not forgotten seventieth birthday, slices of the rich cake were passed around as the evening wore down and the guests bid their farewells, and the droopy eyed remainder of the group said their goodnights and climbed the stairs to bedrooms and dreams as their psyches sorted out and filed all the day’s events.

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