#WOMBATSDOAMERICA, Day 2
Blogging our recent trip day by day, four weeks after the event…
Wednesday 6th August – Erie
I ate sausages with syrup! An interesting experience which I’m not at all certain I’ll repeat any time soon. Still, Americans seem to like mixing sweet and savoury, and as St. Ambrose almost said “when in America, do as the Americans do.” Kim also served us good bacon and scrambled eggs. The weight gain starts here.
Mid-morning we picked up Viv at the airport. She’s so tiny it was impossible not to lift her off the ground. We had the squeeziest of hugs, a thing that neither of us had ever dreamed would be possible. Here’s Mary on Viv – “I really like Viv, a lovely lady. She is funny and not really like the impression I got from Facebook. She is feisty and interesting. She is from West Virginia and sounded very different to Tom and Kim.”
The day was hot as a whorehouse on nickel night. Kim drove us over to the holiday cabin that the others – those who had ambushed us at the airport – had rented, a small well air-conditioned cabin with walls of a pleasant blue. I was still fascinated by the fact that we were in actual America, and was surprised at the number of flags on display throughout Erie. They were everywhere; Erie’s cemeteries in particular were swathed in small versions of Old Glory. Kim told us that these mark the graves of veterans.
At the cabin we had much happy conversation, saw our first American Canada Geese (yes, that phrase does make sense) and were presented with precious treasures of a priceless nature – Jamie gave me a rock. We also received T-shirts, Laphroaig, cranberries, bookmarks with our names in sign language, gin, and astronaut ice cream – “freeze-dried ready to eat space food”. Yes, I know – I haven’t opened it yet, but I imagine it will be a taste not unlike that of vanilla-flavoured cork. I signed some of my books, still a strange feeling, and pulled on my new shirt.
Later we visited a liquor store, my first proper US shop. I was idiotically thrilled. We found some decent sherry for Mary along with other drinks for the evening, which we brought back to Kim’s place. The overwhelming sound of crickets filled the air as we took an early evening walk up the sunny lane. I’m amazed at the way the sound of crickets dies occasionally, then after a few moments swells once more to a high-pitched frenzy. Kim kept us laughing with a jolly tale about a gruesome local murder. Monnie came along – she’s a friendly old dog, who whines charmingly when greeting people.
We had a wonderful time as darkness fell, sitting around a campfire and chatting. I enjoyed the delicious new discovery (to me) ‘Mike’s Hard Strawberry Lemonade’, along with more Landshark (see yesterday). Mary and I were fascinated as the Americans told us about their home states, with the aid of a large map that Kim had prepared and lighting courtesy of Jamie’s Magic Lamp. We sat around the fire and Ellen gave us a trivia quiz using her phone for questions. Mary dazzled everyone with her knowledge of EVERYTHING. We also had an audio quiz with TV show and movie music, courtesy of the ever-inventive Kim.
Viv told us a tale of an old perv – I don’t know why she was looking at me – which was immediately dubbed the ‘Five Dollar Feel’, a phrase that kept cropping up through the course of the next week. It’s a crying shame that we missed taking a photograph of the moment juste as Viv acted the story out.
Laughter abounded, and OH THE FIREFLIES! Kim’s home is lovely; sitting amongst tall trees that reflected the fire’s glow and sparkled with light from Kim’s weird Chinese light-scattering machine thingy. In the background, the fireflies scribbled their brief signatures against the dark night.
When we finally went to bed, I noticed one of my photographs, framed & mounted, hanging on the wall of our room. This gave me a big cheesy grin.
“Grits have a tendency to splatter.” – Viv
“Mary looks like a little doll baby. I just want to squeeze her.” – Viv