As more family members have gathered, we four made bed-space for the little ones by sleeping up at Big G's sister's house in New Hampshire.
I offered to drive because Big G had been flying and hadn't slept all night. His Day-Off Marguerita clinched the deal. With a light dusting of shame, I confess that in the 19 years I've been visiting, this was the first time I've driven more than a couple of miles on the wrong side of the road.
I moved the seat forward (this is a long-legged family), quickly reminded myself how to drive an automatic, and buckled up. We got onto Route 93 north and cruised in the middle lane. Over here, cars can pass on either side. The driving seems more mellow and the lanes are wider. The New Hampshire state motto is "Live Free or Die".
The roads got quieter. The air got cooler. The trees got bigger, greener and more densely packed. I pulled off the highway without crashing and we made it to the wooden house on the edge of a wood. The kids went to sleep straight away: The girl drifted off elegantly like a Queen Bee in a Queen size bed, sandwiched between Queen size pillows and teddy bears; the boy flaked out, smiling and exhausted on a blow-up mattress.
We popped a Boston Sam Adams beer each, and sat out on the deck. The cat skulked off for a night of chasing chipmonks. The mosquitos buzzed about and the storm clouds gathered in the humid night air. Apart from the sounds of our voices and the cold bottles clinking, it was very, very quiet.