I don't have house guests or parties that often out on Judy Branch, namely because of the far removed location of this place. It's not perched on the side of a mountain like some of my previous homes have been. Even so, the roads are croked and narrow and sometimes not altogether there.
Last night I hosted a potluck to celebrate the arrival of friends Carla & Mitch (http://www.zoespeaks.com/) who are in town to play at the Seedtime Festival. My kitchen table was overloaded with scrumptous dishes. Neighbors Bill and Billy Joe came over with dishes made from garden fresh pickings. Work friends and visiting musician friends and just plain friends-friends arrived, arms full of savory and sweet edibles, and intentions to make the evening truly delightful. Carla cooked up fresh Kale greens from her garden. Rich took on the role of grill master. And the kids played capture the flag in the yard with the help of six dogs.
We feasted porchside on home-cooked dishes that seemed to come from every corner of the world. One young lady became quite popular with the crowd for bringing a cherry pie made from cherries she picked that very day! I should mention that it is the season of interns, the time when several young college kids intern with non-profits in our county, bringing new perspectives into our daily lives and vibrant, hopeful energy to our communities. I think the evening was a healthy dose of Judy Branch living for them. I especially enjoyed how we all gathered in the living room after eating and had a big old fashioned song swap. Four of my all time favorite kids were in attendance, and we enjoyed the song circle "by the sea." Key ingredient: a big jar of sea shells inherited from my aunt. When the music started to soak in, and I saw the kids sitting right in the center of it all, I knew those shells were meant for moments like these. With the music encircling us, we poured the shells onto a quilt and each picked out our seven favorites: five to keep for ourselves and two to give as gifts to our parents. There were some moments of tough bartering and a quibble or two over a particular shell, but for the most part, we enjoyed showing each other the bounty of treasures we liberated from an old jar.