the last hour

We haven’t made it to the Fall Fiber Festival in a couple of years.  This year it fell on what at first seemed would be a perfect weekend, and we talked for weeks of our plans to be there.  The reality of our past couple of days though, is that by the time we arrived at the festival, there was only one hour left.  We made the most of it though, visiting first the from scratch organic donut stand and then the sheep.  Larkspur and I then wandered the booths, while Jonny took the other kids to watch the sheep dog trials.  I thought I had time for both if I was quick, shopping and some of the trials, but by the time I made it over to Jonny and the other kids, the trials had ended.

Before we left, I asked Keats to take a few photos of Jonny, me, and our four youngest.  I’m not sure he was paying attention to how he framed the shots.  More of an, “Okay fine, I did it.  Can I go now?”

We left Seth with a friend playing golf because he has no interest in the fiber festival and is very vocal about his opinions.  We realized that this was actually the last time we would take any of our three oldest.  Our other two older boys were our complainers this year.  I guess they just aren’t interested in booths full of wool and yarn, or sheep dog trials anymore.  They don’t stay little for long, that’s for sure.  These boys of ours have their own interests now, their own ideas of how they would like to spend a Sunday afternoon, and they aren’t shy about letting us know.  Next year, I’m afraid it will just be our four youngest with us.  I never thought that going to this festival would become a reminder of the fact that our children are growing up, that it would mark the years in a way.

That yarn in the last photo, from a local Virginia Farm, is the only skein I purchased. ( I’ve knit with their yarn before.)  I mostly get overwhelmed by the mass quantities of yarn at the festival, so rarely actually buy any, but  I wanted something fun.  It’s for Silas.  He says, “Mittens.”  I say maybe a vest.

The end

We have a tradition of walking down to the water at almost dusk, playing on the beach, cooking hot dogs over a fire, and then walking the mile and a half back through the woods with flashlights.  This tradition was born out of our inability to get ourselves together and get out the door in a timely fashion.  Even after we are all loaded in the van, people start running back to the house for this or that.  We sigh and groan and roll our eyes at ourselves.  Sometimes we get really frustrated, and start passing the blame around.  “You’re always the last one out the door!”  (This is said to me.)  I reply, “Yeah, but as soon as I got in the van, you realized you had forgotten something!”

I guess this particular tradition has come to an end though, as we were visited on the beach by a ranger on this night who informed us that the park closes at sunset (in the past we were told 10 p.m. and the signs say the same).  He drove his truck back up to the entrance and returned with a fifteen passenger van to drive us back to the parking area.  Because it was dark, I don’t think he really realized what he was getting himself into.  Loading all of our stuff and our family into that van and then unloading it again a few minutes later was a little ridiculous.  He was friendly though, and didn’t seem to mind too much.  I asked him to send my apologies home to his wife, since we kept him at work late.

(My favorite, close to us, park.  Caledon State Park.)

p.s.  Job’s new trick is the fake pout face as seen in the series of three photos of him crawling then sitting there being silly.  Silas had a fake pout face too, which eventually turned into a real pout face which he now sports on a regular basis.  I’ve suggested to the older kids that maybe we don’t actually want to teach Job to pout.  My words most likely fell on deaf ears.  Oh, and the shoes–several asked to see my new magenta shoes.  I asked for gray shoes.  The importance of fit over fashion was gently explained to me.  Last week, A friend commented with what I suspect was a touch of sarcasm, “They’re so you, Ginny!”