Other than the people who couldn't show up, the day was perfect. We'd extended the invitation to both sides of the family for a backyard bonfire/weenie roast with s'mores. Work, health, animal care post-surgery, previous plans, all intervened. We were down to what pretty much passes as nuclear family these days: Paul, Richard and Brenda, Steve and myself. Rich showed up early to scrub kitchen and bathroom for me, a lovely present and one quite within his pre-work season budget: win-win.
Despite rain leading up to the fire and following it, wood had been kept dry enough for hours of bonfire. The menu was simple: brats and buns with cheese and condiments, potato salad, s'mores and sugarless punch. Paul did the honors with fire and roasting, though once he tired of the event after several hours, Richard kept the fire going a while longer. He and Brenda were also packing for their summer jobs, planning to leave by the end of the day but getting slightly delayed, enough to decline to take off into possibly severe weather and wait until today. We'll see them briefly and rarely this summer, and they'll miss any subsequent bonfires, so they were enjoying this one for all it was worth. After the cold long winter and chilly wet spring, this was the first fire of the season. By the time they get back this fall, it'll be mostly too cold to enjoy any more.
Steve was tickled that "his" tulips picked the day to open fully in a large patch next to the house. Daffodils were ending their glorious season, joining the crocus and scilla which were delayed this year by heavy snow cover. A smattering of older tulips are up but show few buds at this point. Dandelions are just beginning to open, as are violets. Grass is growing and threatening us with the start of mowing season. The neighbor's weeping willows were golden, full of catkins with barely a hint of green leaves to come.
A pair of cardinals appears to be nest building in the bigger of the backyard blue spruce trees, robins are setting on eggs in the cranberry hedge, and wrens are checking out nest boxes in the garden. Chickadees, flyover ducks and geese, and mourning doves added their voices to the chorus, as did an ambitious tree frog from inside an uncapped metal fencepost in the neighbor's chain link fence, lending an odd timbre to his courting.
Bugs and fickle breezes were absent, making it possible to set a chair in one spot and not need to move - after, of course, finding a dry enough spot in the first place that your chair leg didn't sink into the clay and tip its occupant! The dogs were well-behaved, though Ellie had to learn that she was not going to be fed by somebody "accidentally" dropping a piece of brat or bun within her reach. Fred, however, took advantage of the occasionally dripping Hershey bar from a s'more warmed by a melty brown marshmallow onto the grass. Fortunately, those were kept to a minimum, both for the sake of dog and human.
All in all, it would have been hard to ask for a better day.