Kate expected company: Peg was her friend from Hillsdale, who had adopted her and taken her in when she was in her lonely freshman year, and then became one of her dearest friends. She, and her son, and his girlfriend were coming to visit for the next five days. Kate and Crew had only been home from Florida for one week, but that was plenty (actually, almost) enough time to get ready for the visit. Kate went grocery shopping (yes, that monumental task!), and washed the sheets, swept the basement, and laid out towels. And as she did each of these things, she found herself getting more and more excited. She hadn't seen Peg since their visit to Hillsdale the year before (when pollen seemed to get the best of her.) And it had been even longer since Peg had come out to see her in Virginia.
Kate reminisced about her times with Peg. Since she had gotten married, Kate had been able to see her more often than she had expected--a couple times in Hillsdale, and Peg had come to Virginia a couple times. The first was for her birthday, and Kate remembered how delightful it was to have her company, show her DC, go for walks, and attend a special Norman Rockwell art exhibit at the museum. Another year, when the whole Evans family came to visit in March, they toured the National Cathedral and ate the huge hubcap burgers at the American Restaurant in Union Station.
playing with Teddy
The time was always peaceful relaxing--in fact, those words characterized Kate's memories from college. The Evans' house was a haven away from campus, The wooden beams and floor, window seats and couches all made an atmosphere of cozy contentment. She and Peg would make a pot of tea and cook together and chat, or do a puzzle and chat, or work on projects and chat, or go for walks and...etc. Kate remembered one year, she was was taking a class on Shakespeare's sonnets, and one assignment was to choose and memorize three of them (ready to recite on demand). Even now, as she was preparing for Peg's visit, she could perfectly remember sitting on the kitchen stool with teacup in hand, reciting those sonnets as Peg bustled about making bread. It wasn't memorable for any particular reason--except maybe that Kate had felt shy about reciting, and Peg had made her feel that it was the most normal thing in the world. But that was her way. And that's why their friendship had deepened and matured into a tight and lasting bond.
The Evans were supposed to arrive Sunday afternoon, but travel and traffic delayed them considerably. Finally, Mister and Kate decided to go to their church's small group meeting a few minutes away. It had been so many weeks since they had been able to go, they felt that if they got a chance to visit for a little bit, it would be worthwhile. So Kate wrote a note on the door, welcoming the tardy travelers and bidding them make themselves comfortable and to give her a call when they arrived.
Kate thought it was fun and delightful to be welcomed home by friends (and sometimes strangers)--it certainly wasn't the first time they had been absent for the arrival of visitors! A couple years ago around Thanksgiving, Kate and Mister hosted a large reunion of college friends on a Sunday afternoon. They had a good laugh when they walked in the door (they had been at church) and were greeted by a little girl who said, "Hi! I'm Bridget! Who are you?!"
Of course, the visit was too short, but otherwise it was everything Kate hoped it would be. They drank tea and coffee, played with Teddy, and one afternoon Kate took Peg to Occoquan (a cute little riverside town) to explore. They ate a sumptuous lunch at a charming restaurant called The Secret Garden, and subsequently walked off some of the sumptuousness around the town, looking in shop windows and eventually wandering toward (no surprise) at a "Mom's Pie Shop" sort of place. It was fascinating and everything looked delectable, but it was certainly the right time for Kate to go--being full from the restaurant inoculated her against the tempting wall of sugar that hit them as they opened the door. Nevertheless, Peg bought some treats for the evening that convinced Kate she must return before too long.
Unfortunately, Peg's visit also held Teddy's first sick visit to the doctor. He had never gotten better from the stuffiness of their Florida trip, and Kate felt that it was high time they had him checked out. It was a good thing too, because Teddy had an ear infection (even though he wasn't touching his ears, or being overly fussy.) They drove to the nearby Target to pick up his prescription, and Kate gave her friend a rueful smile, "A visit to the doctor definitely wasn't on my list of things I was longing to do while you were here..."
But Peg answered in her characteristic way, "Nonsense! I'm glad I could be here. All I wanted to do was enjoy your life with you...and that's exactly what I'm doing!"
...and so was Kate, come to think of it. If there was one thing Peg knew how to do well, it was sharing life.