No. They are not freaky doughnuts. They are funky cupcakes. Don't ask me why this happened. Probably because I did not really follow the recipe which, thirty or forty years ago wouldn't have been a problem, even when I was cooking in an oven that didn't have a thermostat. I just can't bake cakes very well anymore. I have no idea why. Still okay with cookies and fine with breads and my pastry dough is better than ever but cakes?
Still, when I put a peanut butter M&M inside each hole and frosted them all generously they looked okay and they tasted good.
The occasion was the Big Family Birthday gathering that finally happened this afternoon here at the house. Lily and her kids and Miss Pepper came, Hank and Rachel were here, Jessie and the boys attended, and May and Michael were here!
It was, as these things are in the time of the pandemic, odd in some ways. On the table with the food there was a bottle of hand sanitizer. May, Michael, Hank, and Rachel wore masks the whole time, even outside. Well, it was all outside except for bathroom visits. Mostly. And Lily had to keep making her kids' plates of food because she didn't want them to get any possible virus on the chips or salsa or vegetables or crackers and pimento cheese.
Rachel brought cookies. Jessie brought a pomelo which she cut up and a lot of us shared and it was delicious.
But not your typical Moon Family Party. By any means.
We discussed the holidays and it looks like we'll all probably be doing our own Thanksgivings and for Christmas maybe we can all go cut Christmas trees together. Which is outside.
Still. It was a sweet time.
I got almost no pictures. And the ones I did get weren't very good but here's a nice one of Magnolia and her mama. May and Michael brought presents for all the kids. Levon's was a collection of toy construction trucks and he played for about an hour by himself in the dirt under the magnolia tree, digging and moving earth. August's was a gemology kit or something like that. Small pretty rocks were embedded in a relatively soft gray brick and with the wooden mallet that came with it, he pounded the brick until the rocks were revealed. There were safety googles too.
I wish I could squat like that.
Maggie played with the Fisher Price farm and a dolly. As usual. Gibson and Owen sat in chairs like grown-ups and chatted with us all.
We got to reminisce and we laughed at old memories and talked about things going on now. But I just have to say that it's so much harder when we're talking across half the back yard and some of us are wearing masks. And we should probably all be wearing masks.
August and I went to check for eggs later in the evening and we found a tiny snake in the hen house. I called out for Michael to come because he's the critter guy and he came into the hen house to check it out and I, forgetting completely about distancing, was right there too, until Hank reminded me that I was crowding him.
Michael has asthma and he and May are being so very, very careful and there I was, totally forgetting every precaution in my excitement about a little bitty snake which might have been a coral snake but was probably a scarlet kingsnake.
I felt like an idiot.
Well. It is what it is. As May and Michael were getting ready to leave we realized that it's almost impossible to say good-bye without hugs. How do you even do that? Take your leave of loved ones without a hug? We're famous here in the south for the southern good-bye which is the opposite of the Irish good-bye which is where someone leaves a party or event without a word, just disappears into the gloaming. Southern good-byes take so long that sometimes you have to pull down the tailgate of the truck to sit on to finish them up.
And they always end with hugs.
Listen- it's not the not being able to gather for the Big Holidays that break my heart. It's the simple acts of not being able to hug and kiss that crush my soul. I can feel a visceral pull towards my beloveds and my arms ache to enfold and my body aches to be enfolded. My lips can almost feel the skin and hair of each of my darlings. I want to inhale them.
And I cannot.
We encircle our arms in front of us to symbolize air hugs. It's something, I guess but it's not nearly enough.
May and I agreed as we stood in the yard, not hugging, that we are all on the verge. She's already arranged to have the day after the election off of work although she knows that it is quite doubtful that we'll know the results by then. She just doesn't want to have to talk to anyone about it and she wants to be able to access the news. I understand completely. I think she is wise.
Friday night. Martinis. Church next door. Supposed to get down into the fifties in the wee hours and perhaps we should open the windows and turn off the air conditioning. My dreams keep going back and back and back. This morning in one of my dreams, people who never knew each other, people whose lives are only connected in my memories are meeting each other, interacting, living out strange snips of plot as if my brain is craving the connections of times long past, weaving them together into braids of possibilities that never were nor ever will be.
I'll go heat some soup.
Happy Friday, y'all.
P.S. Best line of the day: Levon was in the kitchen looking at his Boppy's Honey Nut Cheerios and said, "I want some cereal." I said, "I don't know if you can have any." He looked at me and stretched his arms open and said, "Are you KIDDING me?" and looked at me with that Levon grin that said, I know I'm funny.
And he was.