When we returned to the farm, Mike commenced the finishing touches on tiles for Sarah Anne’s fireplace. Sarah and I began the preparations for their annual harvest celebration, an event designed to honor Sarah and Keith’s wedding anniversary as well as their birthdays. This year, they invited 168 people and expected 135 to actually show up at the farm.
There would be lots of food from the outdoor grill and the kitchen—pork riblets with trimmings on a bun, a warm sweet potato/white potato salad with Dijon mustard, celery, eggs, lemon zest, fresh fruit on a skewer, and one hundred and forty individual apple tarts!
They hoped for the appearance of an antique car with an interesting love story attached, which Mike would enjoy. Keith’s uncle usually showed up offering horse and buggy rides. Keith would, as usual, pull a hay wagon full of happy guests over the hills and through the woods ending at a pre-staged seating area and bonfire near the river bottoms—complete with sticks for roasting marshmallows, graham crackers and chocolate bars for samores.
Then back to the house where guests could expect old fashioned country games such as three-legged and gunnysack races, a pumpkin toss, and a team event of dress-the-pumpkin. Sarah usually arranges for a massage therapist, who sets up a private little “shop” under the oak trees near the grove, where she gives back-to-back massages all day long.
The day before the party, there were tasks aplenty in the house, the yard and the barn. Picnic tables and lawn furniture to set up, hay bales and signs and pumpkins to arrange, cooking, cleaning, fixing something broken, finding something lost, problems to solve, trips to town, and answering the phone every ten minutes.
Obviously not the typical environment organized around PD: medications, timely meals, and need for peace and quiet. And, the action only accelerated the next day, with Sarah rising at 4 a.m. to begin making the crust for apple tarts. From that moment on, we went like mad focusing on the deadline of 2 p.m., when the first guests arrived, among others—my sisters, my nieces and nephews and friends of ours from Minneapolis.
The weather was stunning, temperature almost 80 degrees, sun shining with a gentle Minnesota autumn breeze. Oodles of children climbed all over everything and there were no mosquitoes! The party began.
With one day left, I imagined sitting on a bench under the walnut trees in Sarah and Keith’s yard reviewing our adventure. We might help dismantle the row of dressed-up pumpkins and play with Isaac and Carmen one last time. I’d have time to leisurely gather our belongings, pack our bags and even print our boarding passes. Good idea, then we’d be well rested for our journey home.
Little did I know, Mike had already launched an alternate plan.