Upon my home coming I found a gift box from Amazon. It has ‘Congratulations Manchester’ written on the top. It contained two gift cards, one for a 3 pack of ‘Wickedly Prime Sweet ‘n’ Cheesy Popcorn’ and the other a year member ship in Amazon’s Prime program that includes free shipping and other benefits (about 100 dollar in value). All this simply because we live in Manchester by the Sea., the title of an Amazon movie.

I love coming home on a beautiful day. It was beautiful in Holland but I was ‘de passage.’ And then it was sunny and beautiful in Boston as well. All the trees are dressed in what I call ‘beginners green,’ the lilacs are out, and it is full spring. People are in a good mood.

Axel gave me a tour of the garden: the peas are about 8 inches high, the shallots and leeks are looking good and the potatoes are high enough that we have to put more soil around them. We picked the last of the asparagus for dinner. It was a glorious homecoming.

As if he was the traveler, Axel took a nap and I completed some admin stuff for the last trip and the one coming up late June.

And then we started preparing for our vacation in Holland. The seats are reserved, the car is rented and the lodging with relatives confirmed. The last two days of our stay we reserved an AirBNB in a quaint small town in Holland (Enkhuizen). It is the same place where 7 years ago I had reserved a B&B for Axel and me to relax before returning to Afghanistan. But Axel had to stay behind in Boston for a doctor’s appointment and I ended up spending these two days by myself in the B&B.  We are finally making up for this.

On Sunday we tended the graves of Axel’s ancestors – a tradition the day before Memorial Day.  We planted geraniums and dribbled vodka over the grave where his parents lie – thanking them for another good year. We also dribbled some over his aunt’s grave, careful to avoid wetting the names of his grandfather and grandmother who were teetotalers. His uncle Paul and his cousin Anne also got a few dribbles since we know they liked their drink.

And then we headed for New Hamsphire to see Tessa and Steve. We had missed Mother’s Day. Tessa gave me a set of note cards. She is following in her dad’s footsteps. The pack of cards was accompanied by the most beautiful note a mother could wish for.

Tessa made a wonderful lunch, we drank Prosecco , had our nails done and bought things for our gardens at a small organic garden place near her house. The black flies are out and so we filled up our trays as fast as we could and then headed back.

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May 2017
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