What a busy weekend!

We took Mary Alice to see the working grist mill, the lake, and the odd historic district. While I was glad that the scenery behaved itself and showed off to advantage, talking was the main entertainment. Then #2 daughter and friends arrived, and we spent the evening playing silly games and discussing serious issues. And eating Hallowe’en cookies, of course.

Sunday we went to church and then to one of the local battlefield parks, where we hiked and talked, and the kids threw horse apples (the fellow from Oklahoma calls them “snake apples”). Afterwards, we talked about visiting the fleshpots of our little town or some other energetic activity, but #1 son was enthusiastic about playing more games, so that is what we did. I think our guests needed a weekend of home cooking and family fun before they went back to their more stressful lives.

Mary Alice’s job is to decide who should get the spaces available in psychiatric hospitals in the L.A. area. There are not enough spaces to go around, so she has to determine which of the many candidates are the sickest. I think I would find that very stressful.

The Jewells of Knowledge have midterms coming up, so they are at a stressful point in the semester, regardless of what other stressors they may or may not have. I think Key Lime pie and scuffling through plenty of leaves probably helped.

I was sorry that I wasn’t able to arrange for more music for Mary Alice. We had a house full of musicians, but couldn’t even come up with a decent jam session, although there was one Bob Dylan song that half of us knew. Different folks did a few little performances, but like most people who perform for larger audiences, were disinclined to living room performances. Playing together would have been fun, but with an age range from early teens to mid-50s — and musical habits ranging from garage band to opera– we found that we had very few songs in common. (Although, while playing Cranium, I was surprised at how many of the old “humdingers” songs the Emo King knew. “Girl from Ipanema”?)

Here we are in an area famous for its folk music, and I am so totally not in touch with the local folk scene. All the musicians I know are professional and/or classical musicians, and we just don’t get together for a little spontaneous Barber. Mary Alice, on the other hand, conducts most of her social life within the Folk Scene back in her town. and here she came to the heart of the tradition, and heard nothing but Franck and Dashboard Confessional (I may have that wrong, but I know there was a dashboard in it somewhere). She might have enjoyed coming to rehearsals, I suppose, but we don’t rehearse ont he weekends — the church choir director was out of town, even, so there wasn’t even a little Sunday morning one).

We went to a Baptist church, in hopes of getting to join in with some gospel music, and the hymns for the week turned out to be by Beethoven and Vaughn Williams. They also had an excellent sermon on the importance of the division between church and state. Since both of the visiting guys were Baptists, I was eager to hear their thoughts. As soon as we got out to the car, everyone started talking about how surprising and un-typically-Baptist the service had been. Since Mary Alice generally attends either a Zen Buddhist temple or Friends meetings, it was still a new experience for her, but I had expected that she would get to hear “Jesus is Coming Soon” or “I’ll Fly Away,”  and join in on eight or nine choruses of “Just as I Am” for an altar call. Ah, well.

It was a wonderful weekend.