Our typical weekend activities served as “bookends” to our Saturday spotlight event: a visit from our friend John for cocktails, dinner, campfire conversation, and a celebration of Armed Forces Day, an observance established in 1949 by President Harry S. Truman as a single-day celebration for all five branches of the U.S. military. Because John served in the Air Force and Cliff served in the Marines, we marked the day by sharing stories of their experiences and training, and toasting the commitment of so many to our nation’s security. In addition to white Cosmos, Chef Cliff served St. Elmo’s shrimp cocktail, grilled pork chops and cob corn, and sautéed green beans. John offset our cheap Franzia house wine with a luxuriously bold Saldo zinfandel, followed by a clean, medium-bodied Liberty School cabernet. He snapped the featured photo through the kitchen windows, capturing Chef Cliff as he plated our dinner. We talked well into the wee hours of the morning, finishing the evening with a satisfying–if unsophisticated–Taylor port.
After Sunday’s televisit with Jon’s mom, we settled in for sunset, soup, and sovereign. A few words about each. We hadn’t anticipated seeing the sunset, as the weather forecast was for a full day of rain. That’s what prompted Chef Cliff to prepare his pasta fagioli soup–he thought the rain would prevent him from grilling outside. As it turns out, the skies cleared and we were able to take in the setting sun. As we enjoyed our soup, we watched a delightful TV program about Queen Elizabeth, hosted by Gayle King. It was a pleasant conclusion to a memorable weekend.