I'm about to meet an online friend for the first time---she's been following little pieces I've written for almost five years now, and has been so nice as to write little compliments and comments. She reads them to her HUSBAND and sends them to her Mom and Dad, with links and quotes.
Now HE'S written me and said how much they both enjoy the stuff---I'm the cushy Grandma of the group, the Southern Voice, in all its permutations, and I've chattered on about everything from fried chicken to Church Suppers to squirrels to great long descriptions of family gatherings and little moments we've shared. He says they talk at dinner about our little family doings and the old times I remember, and read things to each other.
He e-mailed to ask would it be OK if he put a trip to our city into her Christmas Stocking, with a stay at a B&B, and a couple of days for us to meet and visit. What a wonderful, charming compliment, for someone to think that, merely from words on a page. And she's not looking at me as a Mom, so to speak; she has a perfectly wonderful one of her own, whom she praises and speaks of lovingly and proudly. I do believe I might look on her as another daughter, and think she'll fit right into our comfy clan.
And she seems delighted, so we'll be meeting after Easter. We chose a B&B for them, not too far from our house, mainly for the lovely house and beautiful gardens, which Chris and I just toured this sunny afternoon. We strolled the leafless paths of stone and wood and mulch, and crossed a bridge with a rippling stone watercourse flowing beneath; the pond with its bullfrog fountain tinkled merrily as we passed, and the trees and shrubs held the ripe promise of quick leafing and full bud soon to come.
I know they’ll enjoy their visit there, and hope that they will find our home as warm as the welcome in our hearts for these newfound friends, as we’re known only to each other through the Internet thus far. We have not heard each others’ voices, have not smiled into each others’ eyes, have not hugged in joy at first meeting.
And I don't want her to be disappointed, not in place and time and circumstance, and certainly not in ME. So I've been reading back and back into the things I’ve written, hoping that I've not put anything out there that's too flowery or plumped-up to meet expectations. I'm really looking forward to this, as she's a sweet, kind young woman who shares my love of family and friends, of meals around the family table, of little silly moments with the Grandchildren and memories of my own childhood in the hot, small-ltown South.
I think the visit will bring home the REAL of it, the ME of it, the true aspect of the warts-and-all, the dark, cloudy moments of some days, and the home-is-wonderful/home-is-refuge persona of my self. I'll be telling her a lot more before her visit, of the low times not mentioned, but perhaps I should save those confidings for the afternoons of iced-tea-in-the-arbor, whilst the menfolk are off doing man things to give us ladies some time to visit.
I’d love to be totally out there, totally exposed and naked and pure, with all my moments and days---even the drift from bright quicker than thought, and the return slow and stubborn.
I think the writing of the good times, with too much flower to it, too much lace, flows much easier than the dark, and there is the dark. Not shruggable, not shaking off the droplets from the tips of your hair as you emerge from the pool, not snap-out-of-it---I neither fear nor dread the telling, but I hope I haven't built a house I can't stand in.