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The Visit by Clemence van den Broeck

The Visit by Clemence van den Broeck

Last weekend both my parents came for a visit. They brought along Augie, their pup, a chichuachua-dauchshund mix (commonly referred to as a Chawiennie). This was my father’s first overnight stay and the dog’s first time away from home. In anticipation of the trio’s arrival I did my best to ready Diamondleaf Cottage. Tidying and cleaning what I could. I prepped the guest room by hanging up photographs, placing out silk pansies, an aromatic candle, reading material straight from the library, nightlight, a glass of water and a small platter of food, complete with cold fruit and a few cookies, since my father has a wicked sweet tooth. There are still quiet a few items on the perfect Victorian hostess’ list, I did not acquire this time around, but plan to slowly accumulate over time.

I showed my parents around the cottage pointing out improvements and what is left to be done. They were very pleased with the progress. In turn they came bearing gifts. They delivered the Throne (a wing back settee, I ordered). Mother brought food and small items and fussed over me. Augie was beyond estatic to see me and ran around the place with his happy dog face, whining and wiggling, and letting out short little barks of excitement. He had a field day in my backyard!

After settling down, we ordered from the same restaurant my mother and I visited last week. We ate at Diamondleaf, as to not leave the dog alone in unfamiliar surroundings. I have this routine for when people visit. The first meal after their arrival is at a local restaurant. If they have never been to “Aldershot” I treat them to Richard’s. The succeeding visits, are to the Creative Café and the Big House Café. I feel it forces me to try the local fare on my own time and bring guests to the better tasting establishments. Around nine o’clock, we had tea (Father had Hot Cocoa) and the chocolate chip cookies My Suitor left for such an occasion. I had my mother select a classical CD (She chose Shubert) to accompany Tea.

I relayed to my parents a conversation I had with a friend not too long ago about wishing to own a Schwinn with a basket. She said I would need a theme song or playlist to blast while I lazily wheeled myself around town. I suggested Sleeping Beauty Waltz. She countered with a Mozart Overture. Moonlight Sonata, Swan Lake, songs from the Nutcracker, Beethoven’s Fifth and Ninth,  were bandied about. Then I landed a brilliant idea “The Flight of the Bumble Bee!” She laughed so hard, she choked. My mother could not remember the tune, so I played it on YouTube. Augie, who had been in sound slumber, jerked his head up at the first notes. He watched intently at the computer, cocking his head to the side once in a while. He was VERY focused. We all remarked on his behavior. Father then requested the Ride of the Valkyries. Augie, immediately yawned, closed his eyes and curled up. Apparently, he is a Bumble Bee at heart.

The following morning, in grand Victorian fashion, I cooked scrambled eggs, ham and toast. I left the food on the side board (okay, so it was really the counter) and set the table. I placed all the recent newspapers I had along side of the drink options. I explained to Mother, who was the first one to appear, that she was to serve herself (since the Footmen had the day off. *cough*cough*) She should read a paper as well and, if she was up to it, make idle morning chit-chat. She giggled and obliged. The rest of the day was extremely busy with house shopping and renovating. We did break for a lunch with peanut butter and jelly sandwiches cut into triangular fourths served on a silver platter and vanilla milk as an accompaniment. Father chose Wagoner to listen to during lunch. At first he whined and asked why he needed to select a CD, I told him with a straight face, it was to elevate his PBJ experience. He rolled his eyes and obliged. The day stretched out and we were all exhausted from our activity by eight, when I bid them and Augie adieu. Of course, I requested they leave a note in the guest book. So the did. Augie licked the corner of the page for good measure.

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