By Kay Ryan
Everything contains some
silence. Noise gets
its zest from the
of rest angled
in it. An hour
of city holds maybe
a minute of these
remnants of a time
when silence reigned,
compact and dangerous
as a shark. Sometimes
a bit of a tail
or fin can still
be sensed in parks.
This weekend was Mount Vernon's annual 18th-Century Craft Fair, so we drove down after breakfast and met Dementordelta in the visitor center. It was a gorgeous day with clear skies, not too hot (as opposed to last year, when it was in the 90s), so in addition to the fair -- where we met George Washington, Otto the Sword Swallower and the lace merchant Monsieur LeFarceur de Villeverte; contemplated buying pewter seahorses, homemade soaps and miniature silver spoons with Celtic designs; and listened to the fife and drum corps and the Ship's Company Chanteymen -- we walked down to the pioneer farm with its 16-sided barn, animals, seasonal crops, and Potomac River landing. We had a quick lunch in the food court, took the path through the woods from the farm back to the fairgrounds, then went back to the food court for ice cream late in the afternoon before visiting the Mount Vernon shops.
Dementordelta and I met General Washington, who agreed to pose for a photo with us because we called him by his proper title.
Tents were set up in the fields opposite the Mount Vernon mansion for the colonial craft fair.
In addition to swallowing swords, Otto the Sword Swallower swallowed fire.
The lace merchant demonstrated his craft, though he was quick to announce that he was, in fact, a merchant who would like to apprentice our children for a penny a day.
Our aforementioned children found vines to swing on in the woods beyond the fair.
Ship's Company wandered the grounds singing traditional and naughty maritime songs.
Adam's favorite activity, unsurprisingly, was getting to pet George Washington's sheep.
The rat catcher showed off his prize catch. The general, behind him, came over just after I took this photo and ordered him to go back to the mansion to catch more rats instead of wandering around the fair.
I didn't watch a single minute of the Redskins' game and was mostly amused to learn they nearly managed to lose to the Rams; we saw slightly more of the Ravens game before we went to dinner at my parents' house for Rosh Hashanah leftovers (which were just as good). We had planned to watch either Merlin or Miyazaki's Whisper of the Heart, but both kids suddenly remembered they had homework after The Simpsons -- I had not seen "In the Name of the Grandfather," having missed it on St. Patrick's Day, and the kids hadn't either so they thought it might be the season premiere -- so instead we watched the Cowboys-Giants game with the sound down. I don't like the Giants but when George W. Bush is in the stadium rooting for Dallas, it's a no-brainer to root for New York! I didn't watch the Emmys because of the shows nominated, I absolutely didn't care what won, and there are only a couple of actors out of all the ones scheduled to appear whom I might have wanted to see.
Have a wonderful first day of fall and a blessed Mabon if you celebrate!