Friday, October 2, 2009

A Lovely Change of Pace

Last Saturday afternoon, Skip and I drove up to coastal New Hampshire (there's a little tiny piece of Atlantic Ocean coastline in New Hampshire, shoehorned in between Massachusetts and Maine). We went to visit a friend of ours, C. We got to know C over the years when we visited at the home of a friend in common. We like her and enjoyed her company but never socialized with her except at our friends' house.

Then, she came to Maine on our 2 week vacation in July. We got to know her much better and our friendship grew. We really enjoyed her company, her perspective on things and her sense of humor.

The second to last day of our vacation, she spent a good part of the day in the emergency room of the local hospital because of a killer headache. Even with an MRI (I believe an MRI was taken rather than a CT Scan, but I could be wrong), the ER docs couldn't identify the root cause, so they told C it was the result of a sinus problem and sent her off with some prescriptions. The day after she got home from Maine, she had a stroke!

She spent about a week in the hospital. After going home, she had lots of therapy and nursing visits to help her get back to the point where she could walk steadily, think clearly, drive safely and get back to work. She is doing all those things now, though transitioning back slowly into work. She also says her short-term memory is a bit dicey.

We wanted to see her, to see how she was doing, get some time enjoying her company, and take her out for dinner. C suggested if the weather was good, we could go down to Hampton Beach and walk along the sea wall, which is accessible. Skip loves the beach and this sounded like a lovely idea. So, we drove up on Saturday afternoon.

It was a cool, early fall day in New England. The trees were already turning a bit, though the fall foliage wasn't yet at peak. We picked C up at her apartment and drove the 5 or 10 minutes over to Hampton Beach. I'm sure the place is hopping in the summer; on this cool day, it had plenty of folks, but the beach was virtually empty. All of us were up walking the sea wall or browsing the shops that were still open (many were closed for the season).

The sky was a clear blue. The sea below it a beautiful, dark blue. Lots of breakers at the shore. Light sea breezes that were cool but not uncomfortably so, since we all wore light jackets and baseball caps. We walked for a bit, chatting and enjoying the sites. Skip was feeling a bit weak, so we took a break with a late lunch/early dinner at an informal cafe across from the sea wall.

As we headed back to C's home, we took a roundabout route so C could show us a bit of the area. We got talking about apple picking and she ended up taking us over to a nearby orchard that was known for their pies as well as their apples. By chance, we arrived at the tail end of a harvest festival and the place was jammed. We would have loved a taste of cider donuts (if you've never had a cider donut, you are missing a great seasonal treat that Skip and I love) but the line was about 100 deep (not a huge exaggeration). Instead, we picked out some Macoun apples (another favorite of ours, a variety that's typically only available at orchards and not in supermarkets), cider and a few other goodies to bring home.

We took C back to her home and drove the hour plus back home in the fading light (don't you hate how early it gets dark as the year progresses?). Of course, the pups were delighted to see us (Skip's aide, MW had watched them for us), which always makes for a wonderful homecoming.

We've been enjoying those Macouns. And, while writing this, I polished off a cold glass of cider.

It was great to visit with C. To see that she's well on the mend. And, best of all, to enjoy her company taking in the beach at Hampton. I hope we do it again soon (before the weather gets too cold).


zoomdoggies said...

Cranky, thanks for sharing such a lovely day!

Herrad said...

Hi Cranky,
A sweet post about a new friend, pleasant trip, apples and cider and cider doughnuts (sounds delicious).
GHave a good weekend.

Cranky said...

Zoom and Herrad - thanks for your notes!

Cider donuts are definitely the bees' knees!

Herrad said...

Hi Cranky,
Loved the idea of cider doughnuts, so real happy when I found the recipe.
Sounds and looks good.

steve said...

Thank you again for allowing me to tag along in my mind. We've been eating apples from the four corners of the earth all summer here in Texas, but cider is still a fall-only treat. There; it's on the grocery list.

Glad C is recovering nicely.

Anonymous said...

Hey there,
Nice idea, "day tripping yeah"! That's a perfect activity, kind of like when we went down to the Common to feed the foul fowl, except I bet the paths were nicer for Skip's chair at the beach.


Cranky said...

Steve - hope the cider was good. When I was a kid, my father would often stop at the orchard on the way home from work. Then, a glass gallon jug or two of it would appear outside the kitchen door (taking advantage of the cool weather to provide natural refrigeration). This was long before preservatives were added, so I liked it best when it got a bit fermented and you'd hear a small *pop* when you unscrewed the cap.

L - the paths were good, tho the cement had been damaged by freezing in a few spots. I did most of the driving of the wheelchair and managed to keep out of them for Skip.

steve said...

The cider is fantastic. Another fall favorite growing up was Affy Tapples. Dad would come home with a box of six of these delicious caramel apples, and we wouldn't get one until all our chores were done.

Cranky said...

Steve - was reading this post and comments to Skip and came across your latest note, having not seen it before. Skip LOVES caramel apples, these look excellent. I sense I will be taking a little trip to purchase her favorite version at a local place called Idylewild Farms.