Outside Serenity lies an ocean. An ocean of RVs, that is. From every window, front, back, both sides, all I can see are RVs and more RVs. Well, I suppose technically some of them are trailers. I wonder if there’s an actual distinction between a motorhome and a trailer in the definition of RV? Answer: not according to wikipedia. So, yeah, I am surrounded by an ocean of RVs.

I’m not as dismayed as it probably sounds, although I am feeling nostalgic about my lovely spot at the Onion River campground in Vermont. And the terrific walks around Frances Slocum State Park in PA, with its gorgeous lake views. This place? Eh. It’s in Maine, but it’s really just a parking lot with amenities. Still, I’m not complaining. I have electricity, water, even a sewer hook-up, plus a fridge full of interesting and delightful food possibilities, although the store was mostly just your average grocery store. But I bought pumpkin bisque soup (gluten-free, of course, which was exciting to find), and some pecan-based crackers, and organic mixed greens with herbs, so delicious food is in my future.

I even got a steamed lobster at the store. Somewhat sadly on the lobster, the store guy vastly over-rated the strength of my hands. Note to self: when coming to Maine, bring nutcrackers. By the time I managed to wedge the lobster meat out of its shell, it was quite cold and I didn’t enjoy it nearly as much as I wanted to. But I’ve got four more days in Maine, so maybe I’ll try again on one of those other days. I’m actually ridiculously tempted to drive back up to Freeport to go to the Bow Street Market again. The gluten-free chocolate cupcakes were seriously delicious and there was some greek yogurt that was out of this world amazing. Of course, for optimum health, I should not be eating either of those things — sugar and dairy, not the best foods for me — but so, so good.

Around twelve years ago — if I had access to my scrapbooks I could come up with exact dates, but it was sometime in the summer — R and I went to Louisville, KY and spent a week with Michelle and her son, F. I have a great picture of R at the airport, giving F a disgusted look. He thought toddler F was just too cute, too good, too charming. Teenager F has actually not changed all that much. He had a couple tiny moments of teenager-ness with his dad, but he was so personable, so fun. I hadn’t seen him in over four years, which is basically infinity in kid terms, but he treated me as if I’d been there the previous day. I felt the same with C — as if we’d somehow dialed time back a decade or so to the last time we hung out together, before Michelle got sick, before… well, before so much.

I got there early on Friday, having had an entirely successful and only moderately terrifying drive to get there. Yes, I drove Serenity on city streets and in Boston traffic. And I am sooo patting myself on the back for it. Yay, me! I even parked her by myself, although admittedly, C had a fine driveway, with plenty of room.

And also a nice backyard, where the dogs and their cat debated whether they were going to come to blows or not. Supercat and Z would have been fine together but B was a bit of an obnoxious brat. I think he was trying to be friendly — his tail was wagging and he was acting playful — but he barked and growled, while Supercat stared in offended reproach. If Supercat had lost his patience, B would have been in trouble. Super is bigger and undoubtedly tougher, so Super vs. B would have ended quickly, with B the clear loser. Super vs. Z might have been another story — I think there would have been two losers if that had happened. But apart from the rare moment of interest when they got a little too close, they navigated the weekend together well enough.

On Friday night, we went off to Harvard Square, Newbury Comics, the Coop, and eventually a sushi dinner. It felt strange and wonderful to be in a city again, a real one, with sidewalks and people rushing from one place to another. I bought things, too — the complete season of Firefly for C and F, who had never seen it — and a pair of socks that are my favorite, perhaps now and perhaps forever. And I feel like the socks make a good story, but it would be too long for this post, so maybe someday I’ll write a post about socks. With pictures! And emotional revelations and thoughts about friendship and yeah, whatever, I’m not writing that story now. But maybe later.

Saturday was a morning of miscellaneous errands, in the way that Saturday mornings are, for people with jobs and school and schedules, but in the afternoon, we went up to Gloucester, to the beach. It was a beautiful day for it, perfect end of summer weather. C said he thought the dogs were allowed off-leash, so even though I secretly believe that they are never allowed off-leash on that beach, we let them run free as we walked. Z got momentarily lost — a small white dog joined us for a while, so when I was checking on the dogs with casual glances they both seemed to be there, until I realized that MY white dog was missing. It wasn’t all that scary. It was a big beach and I spotted Z right away. She was clearly confused and searching for me, albeit headed in the wrong direction, but it was an adrenaline surge followed by huge bursts of gratitude when she was safely back with me. Especially because by the end of our walk, she was pretty tired and clearly dragging. I can see so much how she’s getting older — well, we all are — but it reminds me to appreciate every one of our healthy days.

For dinner Saturday night, C made coho salmon with dill and delicious lemony crunchy fennel, and I made salad. It was very companionable. I don’t remember ever cooking with C before, although it feels like I must have… but nope, I don’t remember any occasion when he and I would have cooked together. And wow, that just led me down a long and winding trail of memories. We’ve spent time together in kitchens in England, in Chicago, in Gloucester, in Connecticut… maybe even in Kentucky, although I think mostly when I visited Michelle in Kentucky, C was traveling. Even in Massachusetts before. Many, many kitchens, over a lot of years.

It has officially taken me all day to write this blog post. Sort of ridiculous. But every little story feels like it has layers of depth and meaning and memories and… I should just TL;DR this whole thing: I had a good weekend. A good week, in fact.

And to finish the stories: we watched Firefly (the first three episodes). We ate ice cream. Sunday, we visited C’s friend B and her son and had arepas on their rooftop deck, with sardines and a scrambled egg mixture named after parrots and some spicy stuff that I think was Armenian, all of it delicious. It rained, the tiniest bit, and we ignored it, and talked and talked and talked. And finally, about 3PM, I headed out, up to Maine, which is how I come to be sitting in my parking lot, listening to the rain on my roof.

I really wasn’t sure about visiting Michelle’s family. I worried that we would be mutual reminders of pain. But I spent so much of the weekend remembering the good stuff, not the bad, even as I made new good memories. Ten years from now I will remember talking video games with Finn on the beach while we waded through the waves. I will remember B bouncing around on the grass trying to convince Supercat to play with him. I will remember watching C and F talking about art at the kitchen counter, their bond so evident while they tried to describe an exhibit they’d seen and finished each other’s sentences. And I’m really glad I get to add these memories to my others.