Beliefnet
Rod Dreher

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Good Community Coffee morning from the Great State. We’re down here for the next week, en famille visiting the famille. We were here for 10 minutes yesterday before Matthew and Nora got stung by wasps. Whee! Happily, that crisis passed, and everybody’s copacetic. Nothing like a breakfast of pancakes and Steen’s cane syrup to get your morning started right. To me, there are two tastes that shout HOME: Steen’s syrup, and Zatarain’s shrimp and crab boil. If you come from this part of the country, you know what I’m saying.
We came down mostly to see Ruthie, and I was so pleased to see her doing better than when I last saw her, at her cancer fundraiser back in April. Don’t get me wrong, she’s still a very, very sick girl (she’s got stage IV lung cancer), and there’s no telling where this thing will go. But she’s stabilized, it seems, and has more energy than she has for months. She’s lost a lot of weight, but she looks a lot better than she did. This is the first time my kids have seen their aunt since Christmas, which is to say, since her cancer diagnosis and treatment. I was worried how they would react upon seeing her — they’ve been very worried about her, and praying for her all the time — but everything seems to be blessedly normal. Thank God for that.
We had a great flight from Philly, all things considered. It was the first time in years that we’ve been able to fly without crying children, or Julie having to change a diaper in an airplane bathroom. Funny how surprisingly trauma-free air travel is under those conditions.
We flew into a blizzard of fresh tomatoes. Tomatoes aren’t yet coming in back in the Delaware Valley, but Daddy’s vines are almost exhausted. I’m sitting here at the kitchen table looking at countertops groaning with ripe red globes of goodness (see photo above), and since I started blogging this morning, my dad came in with a 10-gallon bucket full of tomatoes he’d just picked. Bliss to be alive! Fresh summer tomatoes make one a better person, I’m convinced. Last night I made a pico de gallo with these tomatoes, and today I’m looking forward to eating tomato sandwiches, and tomato and cucumber salads. It’s too blazing hot to do anything else outside, so might as well stay inside under the air conditioner and cook. That makes me happy. But not as happy as seeing my sister doing so well, all things considered, and seeing my kids running around outside playing with their cousins. As long as they stay out of the backyard teepee/wasp resort.

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