Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

I hope each of you had a very merry Christmas Day?  I am grateful to say that we did, too, at Port Swiller Manor.  My only regrets were that I couldn’t summon the energy to stay up for Midnight Mass this year (I went to the first post-dawn one instead), and that owing to a miscommunication with the woman at my meat counter who, although very nice, is not very proficient at English, I wound up with a rib-roast with the bone still in.  It came out very nicely and was (and will be for several days) quite tasty, but I made rayther a hash of carving it because I’ve only ever dealt with boneless before.

Anyhoo, we had some good news on the higher education front this past week, in that Middle Gel got accepted into Roanoke College.  She’s currently waiting for a definite yes or no from Christopher Newport University and won’t make a decision until she knows her options, but as she’d be perfectly happy at either one, we really can’t lose now.  I still cannot believe she’s already a high school senior and that she’ll be gone next year.

Meanwhile, Eldest made the Dean’s List at Sweet Briar for the second time this fall.  I may or may not have mentioned it before, but she’s formally declared as a History Major and will probably concentrate on Early Modern Y’erp.  In fact, she’s already mulling an idea for her Senior Project.  You see, Robbo’s father-in-law’s family are Sephardic Jews.  Somewhere a few generations back, one of them put together a family biography.  It traces them right back to 1492 when they got booted out of Spain during the Inquisition and migrated to various other countries – Italy, the Netherlands, Scotland.  The Gel has this book in her mitts and is thinking of doing something along the lines of historickal analysis of this expulsion and diaspora.  I think that’s pretty neat.

And on the subject of the Eldest, last week she gave Ol’ Robbo a valuable lesson in being careful about what one says.

You see, having got home from school on break, she suddenly decided that she’d really like to go down to Flar’duh to visit her grandparents and especially her great-grandmother, who is 94 and in a bad way.  The Gel won’t get on a plane, and nobody was available to drive down with her, so she asked, “What if I just drive down by myself?”

“Absolutely not!” I said.  “Are you crazy? That’s a drive I wouldn’t want to do alone, and I’m a lot older and more experienced than you.  The idea of a teenaged gel out on the highway all by herself so far from home…..”  I stumped off muttering to myself, but thinking that I had put the matter to rest.

Nope.

Later in the day, the Gel came at me again, this time armed with Mrs. Robbo for moral support.   She made all the same arguments again – about how she didn’t know whether she’d be able to see great-gramma ever again, about how there wasn’t really any other way to get there, about what a good driver she is, etc.  I, in turn, again said that I understood all that, but that my first, last, and only consideration was the Gel’s safety.

Then she threw down her ace.

“Well, aren’t you the one who’s always lecturing about how we shouldn’t be snowflakes?  That we should branch out and be independent-minded?  That we should grow up? And are you forgetting that I’m nearly 20?”

D’OH!

I had to admit that, yeah, she’d got me there.

Long and the short of it was that she went.  She split the drive over two days each way, stopping for the night in Savannah while down-bound and in Rocky Mount, NC on the way back.  Checked in with us every time she stopped for food or gas or got to her hotel.  Made sure she was inside before it got dark out.

And that was that.  In the end, no problems whatever, and the aged relatives were more than delighted to see her.  Nonetheless, I was absolutely on pins and needles until the moment she walked back through the Port Swiller front door.

The Mothe used to say that parents never stop worrying about their children, only that the specific things about which they worry change over time.  “Just wait!” she used to say in a Yiddish accent, “Some day you’ll have children of your own and you’ll understand!”

I understand.

 

 

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