Going local

16 Apr

It was Robin Wright who made me think about the Sunday farmers market.

Last week I read that Mrs. Underwood thought eating soft shell crabs was the best thing about filming “House of Cards” in Baltimore. Aw, hon, that’s like saying you’re one of us! Immediately I thought of the crab guy at the Sunday market, with his single cooler of squishy blue crabs crawling around inside.

They were sold live. So if you bought one, you had to boil it when you got home. Then you breaded it in some cornmeal and sautéed it right up. A soft shell crab tasted best on toast, the legs hanging out of the sandwich. A Baltimore delicacy!

April was too early in the season for soft shell crabs. But it wasn’t too early for the market, so I called my sister Gilly, who has the good parking juju, and we headed there with her son.

Gilly and Wynn navigate the crowd.

Gilly and Wynn navigate the crowd.

Every market had its smell – this one had an olfactory blend of popcorn and fried rice and good coffee. This market had its own sound, too, for it was held beneath I-83, the roller ramp of a highway that led in and out of the city from points north. It was the highway that froze immediately, because it was just one big overpass that vendors sheltered under on spring and summer Sundays to sell turkey burgers or African cloth.

Ten a.m. and the line for Zeke’s coffee was already pushing past the boundaries of the market, a queue of caffeine-depleted people that stretched onto the civilian sidewalk. Gilly and I ducked through the crowd to the pastry stall on the other side, which sold coffee that was just as good and had blueberry streusel, too.

Coffee was essential to getting your bearings in this cloth-bag carrying mob of tattooed couples in sandals or dads with strollers. Children with ice creams. Best girl friends in sundresses with loaves of bread tucked into their recycled totes. It was massive, this crowd, but they were happy with full bellies or at least bags of goodies that would fill their bellies later.

And of course, there were flowers.

The farmers market is the perfect place to buy flowers for your porch or garden.

The farmers market is the perfect place to buy flowers for your porch or garden.

“We’re going to do one loop around and see the antiques lady and then we’re going to do another loop around,” Gilly said, which sounded like the sort of insider intel one needed to tackle a market like this. But it just meant we were circling and circling in a pack of people as the overpass above us rattled with cars.

In other words, we meandered and enjoyed the sights – booths with tin jewelry, crocheted bags, or vintage prints of Baltimore. And the smell of kettle corn, followed by the scent of breakfast crepes.

“Look, there’s Kiefer Mitchell. Over there in ball cap,” Gilly said, pointing out a politician who serves in the House of Delegates. “You gonna take a picture of him, too?” she teased me after I snapped a shot of pastries and then one of pansies.

My sister preferred her savory to her sweet, which meant that after one lap we stood in line for shrimp toast and coconut chicken, ogling the dimpled pork buns and the pans of fried rice.

Of course, we hit the seafood stall. Not the guy who sold the crabs, because it was definitely too early for him, but the other seafood guys with their SUV fleet of coolers the size of my desk and filled with squid and shrimp and lobster tails. My sister and I each bought squid, and I sautéed mine on Sunday night. I added it to a salad of greens, Japanese eggplant, and croutons made from rosemary olive bread.

It wasn’t a soft shell, but I do think Robin Wright would have liked it.

Hey, CharmCityWriter readers: Gina Fabbroni is the winner of the first contest in honor of 100 posts. Over spring break, Gina traveled through more than a quarter of the country in a week. She visited a navy base, an army base, and an air force base, and attended an army ranger graduation. “Oh, and I listened to three books on tape,” Gina wrote. 

Gina wins a $20 Starbucks gift card. Congratulations, and thanks for reading!

This is my 97th post! Have you signed up to follow me? There will be prizes each week as CharmCityWriter closes in on 100 posts. In fact, this week’s prize is for the very next person who signs up to follow this blog.


Dates with a diamond

6 Apr

Baseball season started at 8 a.m. in our house this past Saturday with the shout of these ominous words — “I forgot I have to wear a cup!”

Yes, it’s a Little League rule: A catcher has to wear a cup.

I was still trying to summon the needed energy to get out of bed on a Saturday morning, and Doyle was already showered and dressed, ready for a practice that wouldn’t begin for an hour. In case you don’t have middle schoolers in your own home, they are rarely if ever ready for anything an hour ahead of time.

Wynn and Doyle, Little Leaguers small and tall

Two players, Wynn and Doyle, Little Leaguers small and tall

Little League, Season No. Six. The baseball fields are two blocks from our house, and by 8:45 the empty parking spots on our street were filling up as players and their parents arrived for uniform pickup and the first practices.

It still felt like March: Scrubby whiskers of green grass were plotting to overtake the mud sop that needed to return ASAP to its real identity of playing fields, and parents wrapped in scarves and clad in rain boots huddled in twos and threes to gossip or compare sports schedules. It was too windy for a camp chair to stay upright without a seat in it. But there was the tell-tale thump of spring’s heart — the crack of the bat to ball as one young hitter after another took their turns in batting practice.

This is Doyle’s second year in a row as a Cardinal. Before that, he spent two years as a Durham Bull, before that he was an Iron Bird, and he spent a season as a Blue Claw. The shirts from his old teams cycle their way into his pajama drawer, so he can dream Major League dreams in a faded Little League T-shirts.

No cleats in the gym during baseball uniform pickup!

It’s a school rule — No cleats in the gymnasium during baseball uniform pickup!

He has different teams and different coaches every year, even in the years when his team name stays the same. He always plays the same position though – catcher. There was one year a coach really favored him at shortstop, but in the championship game, which his team won, Doyle caught.

“Last year, I played every inning in the playoffs as a catcher,” he called to me as I was writing this, because like any good baseball fan, he has calculated and stored a filing cabinet worth of stats and highlight reels in his mind.

His cousin Wynn, for example, currently has a 1.000 batting average – “a perfect batting average.” He’s played one tee ball game, he was at bat three times, and he belted out three hits. Not too shabby of a start.

Wynn runs home in his first ever tee ball game.

Wynn runs home in his first ever tee ball game.

We thought we might miss his first game. It didn’t look too good as Doyle and I stood for close to an hour in various snaking lines in the middle school gym, waiting to collect from different stations the Cardinals T-shirt, hat, socks, belt, and the gray baseball pants that will be permanently grass and dirt stained after one game as catcher.

But we made it home in time to collect Leeannah and then two of my nieces and head over to Gilman School’s fields for Roland Park Baseball League’s Opening Day. The League has been around longer than the Baltimore Orioles, and we’re pretty convinced its next greatest hitter is my nephew, who, as we might have mentioned, is three for three.

If there is anything I like as much as packed car headed to the beach, it’s a car full of kids headed to a sporting matchup of some sort. We will be squeezing games in around Doyle’s year-round soccer practices, Sunday school, spring break trips, other family trips, and all the things that clog the end-of-the-year school calendar and make a parent cry, “No more!”

A family of Little League fans

A family of Little League fans

So begins our Tuesday and Friday night baseball picnics, our standing dates with a diamond. Sunscreen, sunflower seeds, and Oxy stain remover will find their way onto the weekly store list. We won’t see any of our TV shows. And if the season goes on long enough, we will be packing mosquito repellent.

But we’re ready. Baseball season is finally here, and we’re definitely ready.

What is the most interesting thing you’ve done on a break? Send me an email at charmcitywriter70@yahoo.com by Wednesday, April 9. The most original entry, as judged by me and my adorable children, will win a $20 Starbucks gift card.

This is my 96th post! Have you signed up to follow me? There will be prizes each week as CharmCityWriter closes in on 100 posts. Stay tuned!



Wait, this isn’t Miami?!?

2 Apr

This is what my spring break looked like last year:

Villa Paradiso, South Beach, Miami

Villa Paradiso, South Beach, Miami


This is what it looks like this year:

After a winter of snowstorms, my kids’ athletic activities, and my own writing projects, I realized last week that it was time to face the clutter and do some spring cleaning while I was on break. I was going to be home anyway as some necessary roof work and other house projects have tapped into my traveling funds. But no worries. Sometimes a break needs to be about nesting. Particularly this time of year, I enjoy making repairs, painting, re-arranging some of the pictures around the house, or putting out new photographs from the past year.

Lucky for me that Saturday, the first weekend of my break, was rainy and dreary — the perfect day for the start of indoor projects! The kids and I tackled our rooms, sifted through items we no longer wanted, and selected those that we did.

I scored a pair of Nike flip flops we bought at an outlet for Doyle when his others broke. They are now too small for him, but feel just right on my feet (and will be perfect to wear to body flow class). My daughter eagerly combed through things I was giving away and chose a few items for her own closet. For her, this stack of giveaways was better than a consignment shop – and cheaper, too.

Have flip flops. Where's the beach?

Have flip flops. Where’s the beach?

All went well. We made great progress. Our rooms look great. The cobwebs are gone. And now … of course, I don’t want to look at another dust cloth again. This is problematic, because there is a basement that is screaming to be de-cluttered, kitchen cabinets to clean, floors that always could stand to be washed, and let’s not even talk about the yard.

Yep, this nesting over spring break plan was really a great idea, except for the fact that I don’t feel like nesting.


You know that little poem that has been cross stitched, quilted, or painted onto just about anything that doesn’t move, something along the lines of cobwebs keeping, but children growing up right before our eyes. In other words, it’s OK to forgo dusting in favor of a rainy afternoon of Apples to Apples.

A little corner of Christmas that I still have to put away!

A little corner of Christmas that I still have to put away!

I soooo get that. Have I ever mentioned my biggest regret? The whole Prague thing? I spent a semester in college at the University of Nice in France. Of course, I bought the Eurorail pass and did the whole student backpacking thing, schlepping my coed self to Rome, Venice, Florence, Innsbruck, Salsburg, Munich, Barcelona.

Then one weekend, friends of mine wanted to go to Prague. “I can’t,” I whined. “I’m too tired. I literally cannot. Get. On. One. More. Train.” So I didn’t. I stayed back in Nice and slept. And my friends went to Prague and had the time of their lives, bought amazing treasures, ate great meals, and saw wonderful things.

And I’ve never had the opportunity to go to Prague so easily since then. In fact, I’ve never been at all. Which is my problem with cleaning – I hate it and I’m pretty sure someone is having fun in Prague while I’m doing it.

During our marathon clean, Doyle found a foot spa under Leeannah's bed and gave it a try.

During our marathon clean, Doyle found a foot spa under Leeannah’s bed and gave it a try. (Of course he did!)

My other excuse for not cleaning is the oldest one in the book – I just want to write. I know, I know, I haven’t gotten the memo: Usually writers do things like clean the oven to avoid tackling that blank page and its menacing blue computer glow. But in the unbroken space of these Baltimore-based days, I just want to ignore the mess (as usual), grab my netbook, and install myself at Atwater’s for the afternoon to work on a short story.

I am already more than 15 pages into the adventures of a teen actor, sort of a Zac Efron minus the red carpet condom dropping, who is fascinated by paparazzi and likes to play not quite practical jokes on them, but mind games of sorts. It feels like the perfect story to write after following the Oscars this year, and working diligently to catch up on all those Best Picture nominations. (Another reason not to scrub the tub – Hello, I have art to watch!)

So, if you don’t get an invitation to come over anytime soon, don’t take it personally. The piles of papers to be filed and bags to take to Goodwill are reproaching me, and I know I would’ve, should’ve, could’ve. But this week, on my spring break, it also looks like I’m just not gonna.

What is the most interesting thing you’ve done on a break? Send me an email at charmcitywriter70@yahoo.com. The most original entry, as judged by me and my adorable children, will win a $20 Starbucks gift card.

This is my 95th post! Have you signed up to follow me? There will be prizes each week as CharmCityWriter closes in on 100 posts. Stay tuned!

The mixer

25 Mar

There’s a boys’ high school in our community known for its mixers – and the freak dancing that occurs at them. These frequently held socials are open to any girl from any high school that is down with the hip-grinding etiquette and dancing like her partner’s leaving tomorrow for war. It’s like a training ground for all the would-be Mileys in our corner of the world.

And my freshman daughter and her cousin wanted to go one.

I have heard about these dances for a long time, because I have spent the past seven years working with high school students. I knew there would be a lot of teenagers crammed into a hot gym, rubbing against each other. At best, it would be one of those boundary-pushing rites of passage. At worst, it would be an anti-girl buffet where my daughter would be seen as another appetizer.

“I don’t dance like that,” my daughter assured me. She wasn’t interested in grinding. She just wanted to go to a dance, and her school didn’t hold that many.

True. Despite living in a metropolitan area, sometimes there aren’t enough nighttime activities for teens — unless they involve athletics or SAT prep. I started to consider the positives of letting her go. In part, because I wondered if itwas the only way she would take my word on what these dances were like.

I also figured (OK, and white knuckle hoped) I could take her word on how she wanted to dance. I could picture her surveying the scene and being somewhat grossed out. She is only fourteen, after all, and not yet dating anybody. (A fact that thrills me way more than it thrills her.)

“We can’t shelter them,” my brother-in-law agreed. He has long felt his parents did too good of a job in shielding him, and this didn’t serve him well in his early adult years. He would let his freshman daughter go, he decided. I agreed that Leeannah could go as well.

“Don’t walk anywhere by yourself,” I warned her before she left that night. “Even to the bathroom. Don’t let your cousin walk anywhere by herself either.”

“I know, I know.” She resisted the urge to roll her eyes.  But this was why I was sending her, wasn’t it? It was time for her to gather some of her own information.

Still, I watched the clock after the two girls were gone. I thought I was doing the right thing, but I was worried. What if someone mistreated her? Would she be able to handle it?

When I was in college in the late ’80s, there were fraternities on our campus that had open parties that any girl could attend. The more girls the better was their policy. As a female guest, you could expect to have beer poured in your cup all night long – as well as intermittent gropings, rude comments, and other inappropriate behavior. By my senior year, these open parties were banned as the university began to clean up its image and better consider the safety of its female students.

Of course, my daughter wasn’t attending a college party and no alcohol would be served – or snuck in. But I was still nervous. There is something about that any-girl-is-invited policy that always seems to evoke the boys-will-be-boys mindset.

And then my daughter was home.

“It was horrible,” she said. The grinding was as bad as I had expected, the boys weren’t very interesting, and one of her friends tried to show everybody how to rock their hips to lure the boys to dance with them. Leeannah wasn’t impressed. What she longed for, she said, was the kind of dance where people dressed up and really danced.

“That doesn’t happen until you’re an adult,” I told her. A lot of dances until then would be messy mixes of people and pop tunes. Even proms. That was disappointing news to her. She had no interest in grinding with strangers, or meeting a guy by freak dancing with him.

As a matter of fact, my practical daughter wanted her money back, because the mixer “was a waste of ten dollars.” I nodded my head in sympathy, but silently disagreed. I think those ten bucks had been very well spent.

Have you signed up to follow CharmCityWriter? This is my 94th post and as I approach 100 posts, I will have contests for followers, a textbook fundraiser, and other fun things. Life is short — let’s have fun and keep writing. Enjoy!

Palm trees and snowstorms

17 Mar

We have a baby palm tree at our house.

It was a gift from a Zumba instructor, a leftover bridal shower favor. She over-ordered the tiny tropical plants, so she passed out the fringy castoffs one day before class — a tray full of wispy, hopeful things in tiny paper cups.

I took mine home and put it in the windowsill in a lopsided, multicolored, clay bowl that Leeannah made many years ago.

I haven’t ignored the palm tree. I’ve watered it and rotated it, moved it around the house so it can catch the stingy winter sun, or on the bright days, the UV glare radiating from this winter’s snow.

But the other day, I realized the palm tree was nearly toppling over and bursting out of its outgrown paper cup, now a white shirt sleeve that needed to be unbuttoned and rolled up.

It is March. And I feel like that palm tree.

Snow outside, a tiny bit of Miami inside.

Snow on the trees outside, a tiny bit of Miami on the windowsill inside.

We walked past the baseball fields the other day, and Doyle looked longingly at the brown grass and the muddy diamond, dotted with dirty gray cuffs of snow. Little League opening day is in a month, and not soon enough for him. I agree.

The teenager who mows our lawn is saving money for a service trip to Mexico, so his mother emailed his clients to see what we need this year. Because soon enough, the grass will be growing.

There it is again — soon enough.

Looking ahead to the summer months, I already joined a pool and have been imagining my summer schedule, mornings of work and afternoons of swimming. The kids can be my guests when they are not in Montana. Two of us have even bought new bathing suits already.

Fittingly my iPod is now full of salsa music, which is a nice contrast to the gray faced rowhouses and dirty sidewalks I drive past on my way to work. This city is beautiful in the winter, but in March nothing is pretty.

I went for tacos yesterday with a friend and we walked to our cars with our coats draped over our arms, it was that warm.

And yet this morning, St. Patrick’s Day, six inches of fresh snow awaited my shoveling, and steady flurries still fall.

Ah yes, it is March.

This weather calls for some full-on Miami.

This weather calls for some full-on Miami.

I have tilapia in the fridge, plus cilantro and some limes. Although a snow day from school calls for soup or grilled cheese, I just might make ceviche.

The cashier at Whole Foods would appreciate that. He laughed when I bought a pie the other day for 3/14 or Pi Day. I told him we had to do something silly, we were getting a little stir crazy around here. That he understood. He was from San Diego, had never seen so much snow – some parts of the metro area have had more than 80 inches this year – and he had never wanted to see spring as badly as he does this year. 

I quite agree. Nothing makes spring that much more alive and vibrant than for it to be preceded by the white and gray months of snow after snow. So much snow that the first daffodil will feel like a miracle. It will be a miracle this year – we have had to remind ourselves that this is Baltimore where we live and not someplace farther north.

Today the baby palm is in the window, and outside a cloak of snow covers the bushes. Because this is March. One foot remains in winter, the other marches forward, trudging through the ice toward green grass, baseball diamonds, and spring itself.

As the Irish blessing goes– May flowers always line our paths. To that I will add, may the snow melt quickly and the palm tree grow tall.

Have you signed up to follow CharmCityWriter? This is my 93rd post and as I approach 100 posts, I will have contests for followers, a textbook fundraiser, and other fun things. Life is short — let’s have fun and keep writing. Enjoy!

Quiz me

9 Mar

Right after I took the BuzzFeed quiz that said I was a tequila shot (Which Alcoholic Drink Are You?), I took the one that revealed I was Barack Obama. This apparently is because I am “pure class.”

I had to pause, because it’s not often that one finds the words “pure class” and “tequila” in such close proximity to one another in the way that … oh, let’s say  “tequila” and “body shots” or “tequila” and “fish tacos” are frequently linked.

I wonder if Brigitte Bardot drank tequila. Apparently she and I have a lot in common, or at least that’s what the Which Hollywood Bombshell Are You? quiz claimed.

We're just so much alike, Brigitte and me.

We’re just so much alike, Brigitte and me.

Supposedly I am more like her than Marilyn Monroe or Lauren Bacall, who most of my friends got, because I am passionate about animals and really don’t care what people think about me. (Yeah, not true on either account. Sadly.) I love to live life on the edge (Well, I have been known to shop at Trader Joe’s on a Sunday afternoon, when it’s a total mad house!), and I have a wild and crazy streak. (Mine’s more of a creative streak.)

I also apparently love the 1960s, Capri pants, and beehive hair, which actually is true. If you search online for Brigitte Bardot, the first few things that pop up are “hair” and a images of Bardot’s beautiful blond hair. Here’s where I will work in this little tidbit: My kids recently voted that I have the best hair of anybody in the family.

Thank you, thank you, my dear sweet children …  Apparently if I were a celebrity giving an Oscar acceptance speech, I would be Angelina Jolie and unable to stop thanking my family.

Brigitte Bardot also is known for saying, “I gave youth and beauty to men. Now I’m giving my wisdom and my experience, the better part of me, to animals.”

I like better her quote “Every age can be enchanting, provided you live within it.” The age that I should have lived in was Classical/Romantic Era. Perhaps. Hard to fathom, because I spent most of my childhood reading about World War II and the ’40s. But that may be because I have a grandfather who fought in the war and another who built battleships. Plus, I heard all those home front stories from my grandmothers.

But I really thought my era would have been sometime during the 20th Century, because the person I was in a past life was a hippie.

If I were a tattoo, I would be a cute and tiny inking behind my ear or on my wrists. Or maybe a sweet little moon and star on my inner ankle.

If I were a biblical hero, I would be Deborah. To that I will say, all right, all right, all right! … Oh wait, wrong Oscar acceptance speech.

If I were a celebrity couple, I would be Kate and William. Well, duh. The author who is my soulmate is Anton Chekov. Maybe I should  read some of his work. My designer, Dolce and Gabana. I did like their latest ads in Vogue, which were all old school/fitted skirt/mantilla/Chianti vibe.

As for country, that would be Germany. Makes sense. My family is German American. As a college student, I lived in the South of France for six months and traveled to Paris and also to Spain, Italy, Monaco, Switzerland, Austria – and Germany, which was the only place where people didn’t ask me, “Vous êtes Suédoise?” – “Are you Swedish?” “Non, mais je suis exactement comme Brigitte Bardot!”

Who am I is a question we love to ask ourselves. You’d think that we’d know the answers, but I’m not sure we really do. Instead we take BuzzFeed quizzes so we can tell our friends that in a past life we were a Greek goddess. In this life, we work at a Hopkins lab.

Or we’re exactly like Will and Kate, enjoying that $10,000 vacation in Maldives. When in reality, we’re moonlighting as tax preparers or English tutors so we can buy a new refrigerator.

Right now I am hydrating a sinus infection and sitting on a scrap of turf at my son’s soccer practice. One of the other parents just told me and the father next to me who is busy checking his email that yet another snowstorm is coming our way next week.

Really? Too bad I’m not in the Maldives either.

How would Brigitte Bardot handle this? Who knows? But when I get home, I’m going to slip on a pair of Capri pants, and fluff up my blond coif, and see if I can figure that out.

The party

5 Mar

For more than a week after the party, we left the sofa against the wall and drank left over root beers.  We resisted the urge to high five each other as passed our living room dance floor, or look one more time at those party pics. But yeah, we knew what we had accomplished.

When Leeannah came home from spending Christmas break in Montana with her father and his family, the first thing she said was that she wanted to throw a post-Christmas party with her two best friends. And not just a little fiesta for the three of them. This was not to be a slumber party — no chick flicks/popcorn/manicure marathons with a few of her besties.

Nope, a real party with girls and boys and invitations and veggie trays and music.

Party people

Party people

Sure, I said, not because I am some sort of easygoing event planner, but because I had heard these ideas before and the parties had never materialized. Before the Evites were emailed or the jalapeño poppers were purchased, inevitably Leeannah realized there was some other event the same day she wanted to hold her party. And the weekend she wanted to hold this party was the weekend before the observance of Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday, when a lot of people traditionally traveled out of town. But the best thing to do, I figured, was to let her give this a try and see what happened.

Soon enough, we learned that one of the co-hosts was supposed to go to California. And one of the guys on the invite list was having a birthday party of his own that same day. A week later, Leeannah told me that only one boy was able to make the party and about three girls – not including herself. Mm hmm, I nodded, wondering what we could do that night to make Leeannah feel better if this party never got started.

But here’s the thing about teens and events: They’re really not prompt with RSVPs. The night before the party, Leeannah told me that about 10 kids were now coming to our house.  TEN teenagers! In our TINY rowhouse! It took a few minutes for that to sink in, because, oh my gosh, we had so much to do to get ready!

Saturday morning, Leeannah tackled the basement and I tackled the grocery store. As well as handled the comments of my friends, which were along the lines of “Teenagers at your house? Better you than me!” When I returned from the grocery store, Leeannah had cleaned the living room and dining room, put out candles and decorations, and allocated a coat hanger for each guest complete with name tag. I think this kid has a future running a business.

Gotta coat? We gotta  hanger.

Got a coat? We got a hanger.

Later Leeannah and her brother spent the better part of an hour putting together a massive playlist. Then she went through the requisite 587 pre-party outfit changes required of a host. And we were ready.

Here’s something else about 14 year olds: They are never fashionably late. In this case, some of them even got dropped off early, because their parents had plans. So, it wasn’t long before those 10 extra kids filled our house. Ten, happy and loud teenagers, laughing and singing.

It’s hard to spend any time with teenaged girls and not sound out the idea of just how much sound they make. They are LOUD. When three or more are gathered together, they are ear splitting, head banging loud — even when they are just talking about which song is next on the playlist. “Pass the dip,” can sound like a battle cry.

At one point, the seven girls were gathered in the living room singing and dancing, and the three boys were by the food table, stunned into silent staring by the decibel volume. I didn’t blame them. But noise is good. You know the saying that when they’re quiet is when you gotta worry? An addendum to that is you’re not worrying when you’re holding your ears. (Try it. It’s true.)

So, here’s a snapshot of the night: Everybody danced! Everybody ate! Everybody played silly charade like games! The boys were mannerly! The girls were kind! EVERYBODY TALKED AT THE TOP OF THEIR LUNGS!

And they all had fun!

I’m pretty sure they did. At least they looked like they had fun, and nothing got broken.

Ah, if only all gatherings would be this easy. I know they won’t be. But … if you just let me savor this, I’ll make sure you’re on the next invite list. And I’ll give you ear plugs.

Downton Doyle: The Little Brother dressed up like a butler to serve his sister's guests. Here, he grabbed his dinner in the kitchen with the other hired folk, me.

Downton Doyle: The Little Brother dressed up like a butler to serve his sister’s guests. Here, he grabbed his dinner in the kitchen with the other hired folk. (That’d be me.)


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