We have (finally) met Alma <ggg>. The earlier story of meeting Deck is here.
      "Triple A couldn't find North Puffin," Deck complained.
      That is always a problem. North Puffin grows and withers with the phase of the moon and the presence of AAA cartographer-wannabes. As Deck and Alma were looking for us, NoPuffin shrank to a tiny, four-acre parcel, the smallest this unincorporated municipality has been in recent memory. The mapping folks looked at satellite imagery, GPS data, Rand McNally software, actual paper maps and even consulted the stars, all to no avail. North Puffin, shy and tender to the end, kept its petticoats undetectable to prying eyes.
      Fortunately, I had emailed actual directions and a map so I knew when a plaid shirted driver screeched to a halt just past our driveway that they had arrived.
      We made several interesting discoveries. Alma has a LOT of hair. They like our furry friends--that would be Ruff, above, and TMWCNBNITNG, left. Deck is funny and loquacious (well, alright, he talks a little bit). Alma really does speak punnish; she hasn't the decency to look contrite when she does. They smooch. A lot.
      Somewhere along the line, Deck told us about a couple of letters of complaint he sent to businesses that caught his ire. They were decidedly unDeckish. If he had met Alma earlier, we would have thought it was her influence, but ...

      As you can see, Alma paid absolutely no attention to any of my stories because she was entirely too busy with other furry folk.
      Although one might expect photos of the tourist accomodations, we made them sleep in the barn and they paid us not to show the conjugal hay mow.
     I introduced the newlyweds to nearly everyone I know and took a lot of blurry pictures with my new digital camera. I think I'll learn how to use it pretty soon.
      North Puffin has better sunsets than almost anywhere else.

      We took them to a party in the rain, for another Sunday drive on Monday, to fireworks that were nearly snowed out, and a blues concert that was hot, introduced them to friends who are leaving us to move to the left coast of Florida next week, and gave Alma a very small birthday party.
      The Sunday drive turned into a thousand-mile trek around all the hot spots of Conservative County. Other than a quick swing over Jay Peak where Alma considered which grass covered runs were skiable, we stayed entirely within the county bounds. We looked at the slightly damp rocks where just a couple of years ago the Trout River had rampaged through an entire town's cellars and drove across their replacement bridge. We ate a scone that looked entirely like a biscuit to me and Alma drank a gallon of coffee at Chester's. We didn't visit Chester A. Arthur's birthplace because Deck couldn't remember if he was a Democrat and I didn't want to go off the paved road.
      I showed them a couple of 45th Parallel markers, but that was old news so we visited Sunfix for Judy. Vermont sculptor Kate Pond created this outdoor sculpture to greet visitors crossing the U.S.-Canadian border and to celebrate the changing of the seasons. Sunfix sits at 45 degrees north latitude, the midpoint between the north pole and the equator, and marks the passing of the vernal and autumnal equinox. In daylight, the sun's rays pass through a round interior tunnel in the sculpture and cause an elliptical sunspot to move across a black Vermont marble target, growing and shrinking in size with the changing angle of the sun.
      "I hope people will climb out of their trucks or cars to stand on the black marble under the arch," Kate said, "and that children will climb and touch and enjoy it."
      We did.
      I wanted a picture of their feet but Alma just couldn't not peek.
      Every writer wants to be Kept and Alma does understand the proper relationship between men and women. Unfortunately, this delightful cafe and bookstore was closed, so we had to return to Harper Acres to find solace with beer and brownies.
 Alma turned, um, more than 30 during our visit, so we did our best to embarass her. An impromptu birthday party was part of the plan
     Alma called her mom in the middle of the party. Think Alma talks fast in English? She and her mom might as well have been Navaho code talkers. Mom did want to know what the caterwauling was in the background (we sang Happy Birthday, of course) so we also had to decide why caterwauling isn't pronounced CATE-ur-wall-ing.

      Alma really REALLY liked ruffling the Ruff.

      The party started with a picnic at which Alma and Deck smooched a lot. We sang, told stories, and talked about you, and you, and particularly, you. There was a great deal of giggling. Yes, that is the manly truck behind Deck.
      The fur is ruined. Alma spent most waking hours mauling the cat and whispering to TMWCNBNITNG. Although he loved the attention, Ruff eventually took refuge with Deck.

      Having worn them to mere shadows of their former selves, we sent them along to the warmer, drier climes of points South. Ruffy has drowned his sorrow with a bag of green, leafy substance, TMWCNBNITNG is moping, and I, I am writing this page using Alma's favorite keyboard stand.
     "did anyone tell you guys that dick's keyboard is hanging in mid air and is very hard to TYPE ON???????" she asked.
      I have asboluteyl on tourble. Oh, yes. That's a certain Usenet newsgroup open on the monitor.

it was a helluva birthday party

with apologies to the source of these images, this is really what's left.


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