It takes a village….

I got my rental car yesterday.  I hadn’t wanted one during the first week. I was happy here: once inside my little cottage I’m perfectly set for everything—Bert’s for the Best Grocery is a few steps in one direction, Barbie’s Restaurant a few steps in another, and the beautiful Caribbean a half block down the hill.  Not much need of a car, really.

But I thought maybe a road trip or two might be in order while I was here and so I texted George Major that I needed a rental, and he texted back that he was on his way. Now, I could probably holler “Bring me a car, George” out my front door and he’d be right on my doorstep, but hey! This is the twenty-first century, even on a remote Bahamian island. So text, already.

Don’t get the wrong impression: George’s rental cars are no prize, even on an island where an automobile is expected to take abuse from bad drivers, salt, unpaved roads, mangrove swamps, sand, and US tourists.  George never was much good with engines, and even worse at staying sober, but his mother likes me so I always get my cars from him no matter how questionable the quality.  The car he brought me this time was on the cusp of junker-dom: a cream-colored Honda with a menacing groan in the gearshift region  and throat-burning aroma of gasoline.

“Roll down the windows, Miss Judith,” George advised.  “She’s ok.  Just smells a little bit is all.”

What I had forgotten was how useful somebody with a car can be in this village, and within minutes of taking delivery of mine, my phone rang.  Brenda was in need of a shopping trip to Rock Sound, our nearest ‘metropolis’.  It seems that Shandera was in need of some school supplies—immediately, the next day, for a big exam, just a few things, please?

Of course.

Shandera’s in the ninth grade, and in the Bahamian education system, the ninth grade is the time students take the BJC exams.  Brenda wasn’t sure what BJC means, but she knew the exams were important, and Shandera was studying and studying, and her BJCs were going to be held all week. My friend Google told me that BJC stands for ‘Bahamas Junior Certificate’ examination, which consists of ten subject areas:  Art, Craft, General Science, Health Science, Home Economics, Language Arts, Math, Religious Studies, and Social Sciences.

(Before Bahamians graduate from high school they take the Bahamas General Certificate of Secondary Education (BGSCE) usually written at the end of grade twelve.  This education system exam structure is British in origin).

Shandera’s exam was in Home Economics, apparently a skill-based demonstration and she needed to take materials to school, Brenda explained. Help, please.

“OK, Brenda.  You drive.”

“ME? It be your car, Miss Judith.”

“Yeah, but remember that I haven’t driven on this side of the road for a couple of years, and I really don’t want to hear you say “Thank you Jesus” every time we pass another car.”

“I says ‘Thank you Jesus’ when I’m driving too, Miss Judith.”

“I know, but for some reason when I’m driving I take it personally.”

Shandera’s test in Home Economics was to prepare a ‘party’.  Brenda explained that this project involved food, drink, and a decorative table setting.  This included a homemade Key Lime pie, a punch, some sparkling cider, fruit and chocolates, champagne glasses and a centerpiece table decoration—none of which were staples in Miss Brenda’s kitchen, I might add.

So off we went, Miss Brenda driving, (Thank you, Jesus.) Champagne glasses and tissue paper first: not an easy list for a remote Caribbean island.  After a couple of circles around one block (“I know’d there used to be some kinda party store here once, Miss Judith, but I sure don’t see it now.”) we end up at the Rock Sound Supermarket which had everything: plastic stemware, pie shells, condensed milk, lime juice, chocolates.   I bought a portion of the preparations (a girl only takes her JCEs once, doesn’t she?) and $46 dollars later, Brenda and I were prepared for Shandera’s Home Ec exam.

“I do say, Miss Judith, that I don’t know what these education people be thinking.  I could feed my fambly for a week on what we’ve spent on just tomorrow,” Brenda grumbled as we shoehorned ourselves into the tiny Honda.

Silently, I agreed.  How did the Bahamian Ministry of Education come up with such a wildly impractical idea for an exam question for a girl in a village where every resident barely squeezes out a subsistence living, and then only can do with the generosity of numerous friends and relatives?

Life (and a party) takes a village.

Thank you, Jesus.

The Goodbye Feast

Po and Gertie waiting for dinner

It’s 9 AM in Tarpum Bay. The sun shines, the sea is calm, and the bird that lives in the guava tree is singing his melodious and complicated song. “It’s a ‘treasure bird’ “, Kervin tells me. “No,” Brenda says, scornfully. “Kervin, it’s a TRASHER”.

An argument follows: “Brenda, you don’t know nothin’.”

“Kervin, I does know my birds. What do you know, anyway? Nothing but FISH.”

I’m at my computer, so I Google. Nothing for ‘treasure bird’. Nothing for ‘trasher’ either, but Google asks, “Did you mean thrasher?” We look at the photos. Yep — that’s what we meant.

At any rate, the bird’s song is indeed beautiful and despite Google, Kervin probably has the correct description — the bird is indeed a treasure. It’s brightening this perfect March morning as I sit on the deck, watching the sea and the children in their navy and white uniforms heading off to elementary school.

Brenda’s plan for today is to cook a feast, a farewell dinner for me. “You don’t worry, Miss Judith,” she tells me, “you will like everything.”

I know I will: Eleuthera is carbohydrate heaven. She explains the menu: fried red snapper, baked macaroni and cheese, yellow rice, pork chops, slaw, and vegetables. In addition (there’s more???), Lynn is constructing her version of the Coconut Lane Cake we experienced on our trip to Spanish Wells— and that involves a cookie-crumb crust, and mounds of fresh sweet whipped cream.

All of this is an all-day project, of course. Brenda and Kervin are both excellent cooks, but Kervin is critical. He comes by our house about noon to offer suggestions. “Brenda”, he says, “Number One, you is too slow. Number Two, you use too much salt. Number Three,” he examines the mound of finely chopped vegetables, “You chop too big. Number Four…” He tapers off, sensing the mutinous gaze of the three women in the room. “I be back later.”

‘Later’, of course, does not mean dinner hour for Kervin. At 5:30 we are all assembled — the grandchildren, Brenda, Lynn and I. But no Kervin. “He fixing the car,” Po explains.

And so we gather for the feast…and it is indeed wonderful. Brenda gives me an elegant necklace with a red coral pendant and black beads, and we cry a little: I won’t be back again until next year.

Kervin interrupts any sentimentality with his explosive entrance. He’s followed close behind by his grown son, Calvin, and Calvin is followed by Brenda’s grown son Tario — feasts, after all, are for family. The mound of food rapidly diminishes and we are left with only a few vegetables and a pile of fish bones.

And me, I am left with memories of warm and friendly people, sunshiny days, a treasure of bird song, and a lovely red coral necklace.

Girls Day Out

I’m really not much of a shopper. Oh, it’s fun when I’m at Sarah’s house in Washington: we have our favorite stores to browse, and places to eat lunch. And when I’m home, I enjoy a quick trip to Sutton’s Bay to see what’s on sale at Lima Bean clothing. But mostly I’m an internet shopper. I head for Amazon, or eBay, or Musician’s Friend to buy what I need—happy to know it will show up in my mailbox in a couple of days.

In Eleuthera, however, things are different. There’s no mail delivery in Tarpum Bay, and I’ve never seen a delivery truck—I assume that by the time you order, pay shipping, taxes, and duty, all convenience and savings is lost. Here on the island, time is not a treasured commodity anyway—everybody has an abundance of it. (The resource of too much time compensates for the consistent lack of money and possessions, and creates a learning experience for American visitors. But more on that, later.)

Today was shopping day. I’ve written before about the adventure of shopping with Brenda—and it’s still an adventure, no matter how many times I’ve done it. We planned this day—Brenda didn’t have to work, and she had some errands as well. I suggested we rent a car (both of her family cars were ‘with the garage man’) and Brenda picked me up in a quite astounding vehicle: it outdid the bright yellow sports car with the air foils that she used to meet me at the airport last Friday!

This one was a metallic burgundy Chevy Malibu. What made it so amazing was the windows: they were coated all around with a matching window coating—also in shimmering burgundy. Only the front windshield was clear. Kervin had washed and polished the car before Brenda left, it glowed and glistened in the sunlight. Of course, nobody could see who was inside. I know these windows would be illegal in Michigan (though the sticker said the car was assembled in Lansing). I fantasized that in its past life, it was probably a drug mobile in Miami Beach or a pimp wagon in New Orleans.

At any rate, off we zoomed to Rock Sound, looking for a few items I felt were necessary for my comfort during the next couple of months.

Brenda had to pay some bills, as well. In a community with no real postal service and no credit cards or personal checks (and certainly no online banking), one pays bills by showing up at the utility office and forking over the cash,. It’s a pretty hard system for me to embrace, but I guess there’s something to be said for face-to-face interaction with one’s customers. There’s certainly enough personal contact with the Eleutheran method of purchasing utilities and again, when you have an abundance of time, who cares about convenience?

The lack of signage in Eleuthera is another clue that one is not in the United States. After all, when you’re on an island that’s only 2 miles wide, how lost can you get? And if you’ve lived here all your life, why would you need a sign? As a result, shopping with Brenda means pulling up to an anonymous ramshackle building, slipping through a darkened doorway (lights aren’t needed until there are customers), and finding yourself in a huge cavern loaded with boxes and bins of dusty goods, most of it unsorted and stacked randomly throughout the interior.

One store had the chairs we were looking for stacked above the milk and soda coolers. “How much for dem plastic chairs?” Brenda asks. Without looking at where she points, the store owner says, “Twenty five dollar each”, and doesn’t ask if he can get one down for us to look at more closely.

We check out several stores in Rock Sound, and then head for Governor’s Harbour, Eleuthera’s capitol. ‘Governor’s’ is about 25 miles to the North, but it’s a good hour drive, given the narrow roads and potholes. Straight stretches, though, Brenda makes it up to 55 in the Burgundy Bomb, even though the ocean is lapping over the seawall in some places. We repeat our forays into the recesses of dark concrete buildings: in one store there are at least 200 baseball caps hanging from the ceiling. I wonder how long they’ve been there: I almost never see anyone in Eleuthera wearing a ball cap—forwards, backwards, or sideways. Many of the stores still have dusty metallic Christmas wreaths still in their boxes, unsold this season and probably for several seasons before this one, from the looks of them.

Finally I say, “Miss Brenda, I have to have lunch! Stop shopping!”

“You hungry, Miss Judith?”

“Argh!”

We head for the docks in Governor’s, to a little snack shop right next to the Customs building. It’s tiny, four stools at the counter and one small table for two. There are plenty of chairs and tables on the patio in front, but it’s cold out, and Brenda and I seat ourselves inside at the lone table.

There are two remarkable things about this place: (1) it is absolutely the cleanest and most pink and white restaurant I’ve ever seen, and (2) the food is amazingly good. I ordered conch, which was deep fried but with a batter more like tempura. Brenda had the juiciest cheeseburger I’ve found anywhere but Sledder’s in Traverse City—and while we ate we had a delightful conversation with the woman behind the counter. Brenda and Kervin are related to many people on the island, and so wherever we go Brenda establishes whatever 6 degrees of separation (usually much less than 6) exist with shopkeepers, waitresses, and gas station attendants.

It was fun listening to the two women discuss mutual friends, common relatives, and who was the minister at the Methodist church in Tarpum Bay these days. Most everybody knows Lynn’s and my house (the two-story pink one next to Miss Barbie’s Take-Away), and the pink-shirted hostess was no exception.

Our last stop was the Tarpum Bay furniture store. They know me there: it’s where Lynn and I parked the car that wouldn’t stop honking its horn last year, and where—on another trip—I mistakenly walked away with the old man’s cane. Once again I ended up with some significant expenditures from this store: a computer desk, a chair, and a charcoal grill to be precise.

Since we couldn’t get my purchases in The Burgundy Bomb, the proprietor fired up his delivery truck and followed us to my house, bringing everything in and putting it in the proper places before he left.

Brenda left soon after: she brought Kervin a conch dinner from our restaurant, and both of us were exhausted.

Girls Day Out. Rough life.

Brenda’s Car, Day Two

Well, today we had to return a couple of things to the Tarpum Bay Shopping Center. One of yesterday’s purchases was a snifty looking water pump, a blue plastic gizmo (here in Tarpum Bay we say “thingum”, not “gizmo”) that fits on top of a five gallon water jug. You push down on the
button on the top and the water comes out a spigot and, hopefully, into your
pitcher. Since the Eleuthera tap water is not drinkable, and since pouring from a 5 gallon jug is a little challenging until the jug is about half empty, this blue thingum seemed like a good idea.

Except it didn’t work. I pushed, it sputtered. No water.

So, we were headed back to see Julian at the Shopping Center. We also had to pick up Lynn’s friend Ann at the Rock Sound Airport, about 12 miles from our house down Queen’s Highway. Kervin brought back Brenda’s car, complete with a brand new battery and without an alarm system. We were ready to go!

An hour later we were back in our cottage, complete with Ann and a new water pump—life was good. Ann went across the street to Miss Barbie’s for some fresh coconut cake, and Lynn walked the other direction to the new fish restaurant for some conch salad for lunch. Life was really very good!

We decided that a Saturday night out was in order, and the big celebration was at a little
town about 20 miles south of Tarpum Bay, Wymss Bight (pronounced “Weemsbit” in Bahamian). What we were really in search of was some Bahamian food, something a little different from the usual cuisine of conch fritters, fried fish, fried chicken, macaroni and cheese, and ‘peas and rice’–known as ‘beans and rice’ in Cajun country. So off we went to the Wymss Bight Homecoming.

The site of the party wasn’t hard to find. Wymss Bight has about 40 dwellings and a large open park area, which was, of course, where the party was. But we could hear the celebration from a half mile away: the “rake and scrape” Bahamian music blasted full volume. The festival set-up
consisted of a half dozen food stalls, a concrete dance floor, a grass hut bar, and a baseball game with about 30 spectators in the bleachers.

We visited each of the food vendors, and bought something from every one, just to be
democratic, of course. The women were cooking on huge grills—chicken, ribs, hot dogs in rich sauces. And of course there were the usual starches, plus Cole slaw and deserts. The
highlight of the meal was a dessert known as guava duff*, a kind of jellyroll filled with sweetened guava and covered with a butter sauce. Oh, my.

We decided not to stay for the dancing, but to drive home on Queen’s Highway before it got dark—the QH doesn’t have amenities like lines down the middle or on the sides, and in some places it’s none too wide, either.

We did fine until we came up a steep hill about half way home. The car slowed, and sputtered.

“Uh-oh,” said Ann, who was driving. “I am pushing on the gas pedal, and nothing is happening.”

Slower and slower we crept up the hill until we reached the top. Brenda’s car wheezed a little, and began to pick up the pace, but each time Ann slowed the car down, it began to hiccup and
gasp.

Finally, just outside the Rock Sound airport, it breathed its last and Ann steered it
silently to the side of the road .

Not three minutes later, a car stopped, and a well-dressed older man got out to
help. He and his wife had been to a wedding in Tarpum Bay and were on their way home, and would do what they could, including giving us a ride back to our house.

“You live in the pink house on the hill?”

“Yes, that’s us.”

“Nice house. Good for the whole town.”

From the other direction came a shiny white pickup, a big one with extra lights and
other jazzy things, and pulled up behind us. A huge, handsome young man jumped down from the cab, nodded briefly to the older man, and proceeded to lift the hood and look underneath. Lynn explained the problem, and both men stared thoughtfully at the silent car engine. Both of their women companions stayed in the car, of course, and the three of us—Ann, Lynn, and I—stood
helplessly by.

“Your car?” the younger man asked.

“No, Kervin’s,” I said.

“Oh, Kervin. Looks like he has a new battery.”

“Yes, it’s a new battery. But the red battery light was on.”

“Yup,” he said profoundly, and went back to his truck.

“That’s my son,” said the old man. “He been to the wedding, too.”

The son came back to our car, and removed Kervin’s battery. Now I don’t know how he did this, but he started up his truck, removed his own battery, and replaced it with Kervin’s, while the truck was running.

Then he put his battery in our car, started it up, said, “I’ll meet you at Kervin’s house,”
and climbed back in his truck.

We thanked the old man profusely. How nice they both were to take the time to rescue us, and to make sure we got back to Kervin’s house safely! How could we
repay them?

“Don’t repay me,” he said. “Repay God. Y’all just live next door to the church—go
over there tomorrow and thank Him for providing you with what you needed.”

He gave us a friendly wave as we drove away.

*Guava Duff Recipe
Recipe courtesy of Tara Ramsey

In celebration of Father’s Day, Tara Ramsey shares one of her father’s best
Bahamian recipes.

Ingredients:

* 1 pound bag plain flour
* 5 whole guavas
* 1 can guava
* 2 cups sugar
* Vanilla
* 4 sticks butter

In a big bowl, mix the flour with some water and roll the dough out on the
table. Insert pieces of guava all over the dough. Then, roll the dough almost
like an egg roll. Place the dough in a clean, white pillow case. Place the
pillow case with the dough in a big pot of boiling water. Let boil until dough
is cooked.

To make the sauce: Mix butter, sugar, vanilla together with juice from the
canned guava. Take dough out of pot after cooking, slice the dough into thin
slices like bread. Pour guava sauce over the dough. This is one of the
Bahamas’s oldest and greatest deserts.

Dining Out

I am here at the Dulcimer Music Festival to make music (which I didn’t do today), see old friends (which I did a lot of), and eat—and tonight was certainly the one of the eating experience highlights!

About 30 of us piled in cars and traveled ‘down the road a piece’ as they say here, to an Amish farm which serves group meals.

Apparently, going there has become kind of a tradition among some of the musicians, though I’ve never been included. It was a perfect day, a little warm and humid but with clear skies. This is farm country, but not flat—there are rolling hills, trees, and plenty of lakes and streams. It’s dairy country, and as we drove we saw several working farm dogs and small boys bringing the cows in for milking. Because it’s Amish, and mid-American, it’s clean and unadorned. But then, the landscape doesn’t need much in the way of extra trimmings.

I rode with a car full of dulcimer players, most of whom had been friends for many years. Linda was a hammered dulcimer maker until she retired to paint beautiful watercolors; Peg is a seamstress and craftswoman; Jim is a teacher—well,you get the point. Lots of remembering, good and bad jokes, and gossip, and we arrived at the beautiful farmhouse in high spirits having passed a horse and buggy carrying what we later found out was one of our servers for the dinner.

We were a little early, so we paid a visit to the general store ‘down the road a piece’, and gazed at a huge selection of knick knacks: chiming clocks that played 5 popular tunes, 5 country western tunes and 5 Christmas carols and ‘were certainly made in Germany’; more natural and ‘home’ remedies than I could imagine ever having diseases for; gas powered clothing irons (there’s no electricity in an Amish home); and pattern books of Simple Clothes. Some of us came away with small plastic bags of things, and one of our number fell in love with the 15-tune clock and will probably be back to make a sizeable purchase.

Then we trooped back to the farm for dinner, and a feast it was. Salad, egg noodles, mashed potatoes and gravy, vegetables, meatloaf, fried chicken, and 4 kinds of pie. Of course we all ate way too much, and our white capped serving women moved among us, urging us for more chicken and more pie. It was no-frills comfort food, impeccably served family style, and each bite was delicious.

We left before our hosts had to turn the gas lanterns on and were back here at the campground in plenty of time for the evening (and all night) music sessions that erupt in every corner of the campground as the sun goes down (and the mosquitoes come out). Me, I am skipping music for tonight. My body is far too full for my cane and new hip to carry from one music jam to another. And speaking of jam, I left out the part of the dinner where they served home baked bread and apple butter……

Home Again, Home Again



Yesterday was indeed a memorable Memorial Day—Jonathan picked me up at 10:30 AM and brought me 3 miles down the road to my very own house! It was, of course, a bitter-sweet departure—I loved being with Roseann, Barbara, and Helen, my table mates. It was almost like a ladies sleep-over, somehow: we all had become quite chummy and visited each other between meals, and introduced each other to our families. Sad to leave my new friends.

The other exciting event that filled my last few days almost to the point of compulsion, was that Roseann and I began watercolor painting together. Roseann is an excellent teacher, and I so enjoyed working with her. She would set up a palette of colors and show me how to use them—I would paint happily away, and bring her the results. She was always positive about what I was doing, and made some wonderful suggestions about techniques. When I left OC, I left some paintings for the staff, and made several others as gifts for people who had been so kind to me. The fish is one of the ones I like the most—

People brought me going away presents: Angela baked banana bread, Patty gave me generous hugs, and the daughter of one of the residents brought me a huge bouquet of lilacs, my favorite flower.

I go see Quick Draw tomorrow, which should be my last visit for a while. I would like to use a cane, and figure out when I can drive, at least short distances. My Pal Kal (a nurse at Munson who also does physical therapy) will be coming to my house twice a week, beginning tomorrow, and hopefully I can also arrange for some pool therapy at OC.

So yes, I have plans…and a lot of healing to do. But I am determined and well on the road to recovery. I am going to keep blogging, too—there are so many things I’ve learned from the last 8 months, and so many new experiences to share. I do hope you’ll check back, or sign up for the RSS feed for Gertie’s blog.

One last thing I wanted to mention: The Pie throwing contest! OC’s wonderful events person, my friend Kashia, organized a pie throw to raise money for Relay for Life, a cancer fundraiser. It was the STAFF who got pie-d, and as the picture shows, it was fun for all. That guy in the shower curtain with the cute legs is the Administrator, and he probably got the most splats of anybody. I don’t know how much money they raised, but it was fun for all.

The Orchard Creek Derby

Ready for the race.  The floozy is second from left

I have to tell you, I never thought I’d experience the following event—at age 67 or at ANY age! And it’s all Roseann’s fault: my “friend” snookered me into this….

It all started when Kasha, our OC dynamo social director, came to our breakfast table last Friday and said, “I am looking for some jockeys for our horse race.” Without a moment’s hesitation, Roseann said, “JUDITH has always wanted to be a jockey. She’ll do it!”

Bad Roseann! What she didn’t know is that as a 5th grader, in the heights of my horse craze, I DID want to be a jockey. Of course, with my passion for ponies, I would have happily settled for being a stable person. I used to play these mind games with myself: if I were a jockey, what would make me the BEST jockey in the world? I was undaunted by the idea that I might have to eat two cornflakes a day, and – harder yet – find myself a real, live horse to ride. I slid away into my dreams, complete with a stunning horse proudly decorated with a horseshoe wreath of red roses, and I looking skinny and unimpressed by the cheers of an adoring crowd, dressed in crimson and white silks.

That daydream disappeared a year or so later, to be followed by the Florence Nightingale dream, the tightrope walker fantasy, and finally the Peggy Lee syndrome. Again, no matter that I wasn’t real keen on the sight of blood, that I was deathly afraid of the second rung of a stepladder, can’t sing and carry a tune, and that I never was skinny in my entire life…

So here was Roseann, offering me a chance to fulfill a childhood dream, and unthinkingly, I said, “Sure. I will be a jockey!”

“Great”, said Kasha. “We have four steeds and you will be riding this reddish-brown one. The others were all taken—Big Brown, Hari Kari, and White Lightening. She held them up—hobby horses on broom sticks with decorated stuffed heads. I immediately disliked White Lightening: she reminded me of my old playmate Connie Wilson whom I threw into the watercress pond. White Lightening was pure white, with long dark eyelashes and pouty red lips. Worst of all, she had a pink satin horn between her ears—a unicorn masquerading as a race horse. Fah!

Kasha also informed us that attendees were to wear fancy hats, and mint juleps would be served, along with tiny cheesecake squares. Everyone would be issued to paper Bingo dollars so they could place bets, and redeem their winnings at the OC ice cream parlor.

Well, by now I am into this! I scurried back to my room, and researched paper hat construction on the Internet. I took the front page from our local paper, The Leelanau Surprise, and followed the directions exactly. I added the pen with the flower on it that I received as a Mothers Day Present from OC. Viola! A hat for the party.

Here’s me in the hat:

Here are some of the others in their hats.

Jockeys were given a special derby to wear, but rebel that I am I preferred my own concoction.

OC Derby Jockeys

People arrived, placed bets with our facility manager, and found chairs on the patio, where there is sun and shade, so everyone could be pleased. The essence of the show was that each jockey threw a single large plush die, and her horse was moved the number of spaces showing on the top of the thrown die.

The horses, ready to go

Kasha led the applause—we clapped and whistled for losers, winners, and those that just needed cheering up. And in about fifteen minutes, the race was over—down to the end of the walkway and back, with enthusiastic cheering all the way.

Of course that floozy White Lightening won (but only because of her good looks). The rest of us (all three) placed second. The bets were paid off, and we adjourned to mint juleps (really good, though boozeless—Mint and sugar syrup mixed with Seven Up) and small cheesecakes of various flavors in little fluted cups. Then we took our ill gotten gains, marched to the Ice Cream Parlor, and traded bingo dollars for ice cream.

So my childhood dream comes true, I guess, in a whimsical and surprising setting. I lost the race to the glitzy tart of a unicorn—but there was no real skill involved, no real competition, just the gentle laughter of some friends sitting in the sun, enjoying the ridiculous and the sublime.

Gussied Up--that\'s Roseann in the hat made of her socks