That Time of Year

It’s that time of year again: The Texas bluebonnets are in full bloom throughout the state—a sign that spring has sprung and soon we’ll be enduring a hot, humid summer. Before then, we get to enjoy this alluring little wildflower as it adds a pop of deep-blue color to our fields and roadways. In 1901, the Texas bluebonnet competed with the cotton boll and the prickly pear cactus for the title of “state flower,” but its resemblance to the sunbonnets women wore to guard against the grueling Texas son eventually won the hearts of the legislators. Today, people throughout the state and from outside the state make their way to bluebonnet fields for family photos—an annual tradition.

We arrived on Friday around 5 p.m., giving us plenty of time to set up, tend to the dogs, and watch the evening news before settling in for cocktails and our Date Night dinner. Watching soon-to-be Justice Katanji Brown Jackson’s Rose Garden remarks prompted us to watch one of our very favorite movies—the 1995 romantic comedy-drama, “The American President.” Directed and produced by Rob Reiner and written by Aaron Sorkin, the film stars Michael Douglas, Annette Bening, Martin Sheen, Michael J. Fox, and Richard Dreyfuss. We tend to watch it every time we feel nostalgic for a liberal fantasy about an America that never was but that could be. We contend that the most romantic scene is of the state dinner with the president and first lady of France, when the American president takes his date to the dance floor as the band plays “I Have Dreamed” from the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical, “The King and I.” (In the musical, the characters of Lun Tha and Tuptim sing of how they have dreamt of their true love blossoming in freedom, as they prepare to escape from the King’s palace—the parallels are obvious.)

Saturday took Cliff back to Hampshire for his morning work shift while Jon stayed at Cloud 9 to do some “spring cleaning.” Our upcoming trip to Shenandoah National Park, Washington, DC, and environs will be much lighter now that Jon has removed all the unnecessary accumulation. Upon Cliff’s return, we turned to Bloody Marys, The New York Times, an al fresco brunch, and a nap. We ended the evening with a grilled-pork-chop dinner under the pavilion and a long walk under starlit skies.

Sunday found us lounging about on a lazy spring day, with neighbors departing throughout the morning and into the afternoon. Jon made some interesting discoveries about his stepfather on Ancestry.com while Cliff installed a new Roku device. In the meantime, we witnessed an unfortunate situation with campers at an adjacent site. Family drama is always difficult to watch, especially when it appears particularly abusive. It suffices to say that we’ve learned many hard lessons over time. Shame is an ineffective strategy and rage is an inappropriate tool. Neither are productive. And we can do better than that. Today, we witnessed an episode that will no doubt leave a lasting scar on a young girl’s psyche, and all because a mother couldn’t manage her anger. The most compelling site was of the other children, huddled under the pavilion, hugging each other as their older sibling took the brunt of her mother’s tirade. It was all so sad.