Longleaf Stories

full circle in the hundred acre wood

Eight years old. She has been counting the days. Backwards. Forwards. By twos. I did not tell her that the day will come when another year added is not an occasion for joy — a certain satisfaction, defnitely, but not the exuberance of the very young, whose notion of mortality does not yet extend to themselves, (thanks be to God). Let the children be children.

It was another Pasta Sunday, our new family tradition.

This was our menu for Sunday, September 3rd:

Antipasto of colored sweet peppers (yellow and red), English cucumbers (actually grown in Ontario), toasted whole wheat pita chips,  freshly made garlicky hummus, and chunks of oregano-laced feta

Green Salad

Lemon Garlic Pepper marinated chicken breasts grilled over an open fire

Basil Marinara Sauce with thin spaghetti pasta

Parmesan zucchini half moons

And a chocolate cake that the birthday girl made herself (with some help from a sibling) and then decorated on site, a generous gesture emblematic of this empathetic child.


The kids ate outside, as usual, in their swimsuits, while we big kids gathered around the kitchen bar with a glass of wine and colorful filled plates, laughing and swapping stories.

After dinner, songs on the piano — including Happy Birthday — and gifts, she and I walked upstairs out onto the 2nd floor covered terrace, then up another flight of stairs to the third story open deck. We admired the bright half moon and spoke of God, creation, and love. Just as it was getting philosophically interesting, her brother popped up, saying it was time for them to go home.

Something has begun here. Something compelling and unstoppable. Something worth cooking for.

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