Robin and Margaret are such a joy to be around.  They are cousins to Mary, a good friend, as well as the one who gives so generously of her time scheduling Volunteers to be with Mary Ann.

While it seems impossible that it has been so long, it was seven years ago that they were here last.  We joined them for dinner at Mary’s home the last time they visited.  It is so refreshing to talk with people who see the world as the place where we all live together.  They have tried to make a major trip each year to places like India, China, and places whose names I don’t remember.  Of course they often visit Europe.  Robin described a breathtakingly beautiful spot in Austria where they visit extended family.

Talking with them sparks an awareness that we are citizens of the world, not just our city or state or country.  To talk about a sunset brings to Robin’s mind images of strkingly contrasting colors in the sky ten thousand miles from here.

I shared coffee cupping experiences.  I ground beans from the Gombe Project in Tanzania — of course, grinding them in the burr grinder and making the coffee in the Technivorm coffee maker from Holland — brewing at 200 degrees, waiting for the coffee flavors to bloom in the hot water before breaking the crust of the brewing grounds and only then allowing the coffee to drip through at a slow pace into the thermal decanter.

Robin talked about their monthly wine tasting parties at which they try to guess from where the wine they are tasting has come.  He loves surprising them with wines from places that would never be imagined to produce good wine.

We shared some of the freshly pressed apple cider from the Louisburg Cider Mill we had visited earlier in the week.  A couple of days ago I went to a local coffee shop, whose baker is especially gifted, and bought a dozen cinnamon raisin scones.  We had the scones with the freshly brewed Gombe Project coffee.  While the scones were quite different from the English scones, Robin and Margaret seemed to enjoy them.

Margaret was excited to see the red squirrel feeding on the back deck.  She was thrilled with the Blue Jay that came by in his fresh winter look after the late summer molting.  It was fascinating to talk about the birds and discover just how different the birds are that frequent our respective feeders.

Mary Ann was doing very well, and clearly enjoyed the conversation even though she was not able to participate fully.  It was a good day that we both enjoyed.

An update on the raccoon relocation project:  The trap was out, set and baited the last two nights, but there was no sign that the raccoons visited the deck either night.  There were rain and some storms both nights.  Maybe that discouraged them.  There is fresh bait tonight and no rain at the moment.  We will see what tomorrow morning brings!

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