Preparing for a special visit

Published 11:16 am Friday, May 3, 2024

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Paul recently invited the car club of which he is a member back to the farm after one of their hour-long toodles (he hates it when I say that) through the countryside.

“Some of them have mentioned wanting to see the roses,” he explained after breaking it to me that approximately 18 cars would be wedged into our small front yard as well as between his vast rose beds, now in full profusion of May blooms. 

“That’s fine,” I said looking out over the tall spring grass. “But you’re going to mow first, right?”

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Oh, yes, he replied earnestly. Honestly, is there any better way to get one’s house and property into ship shape than arrange to host a sizeable event? And best yet, these weren’t my friends coming over, which would have consisted of horsy women, dressed like horses and laughing like horses, obliging me only to have the stable immaculate, these were men. 

Normally, when one inserts ‘men’ and ‘cars’ within the same sentence, it wouldn’t be uncommon to think of gear heads, Marlboros dangling from the corner of their mouths, leaning over the engine of a muscle car. And if that were to be the case, Paul would have simply jumped on the zero-turn to mow a couple of strips of grass and pull the poison ivy away from encroaching his garage before shoving a few bottles of Bud in an ice-filled horse trough. But these are gents of a certain age (let’s put it this way, I see myself as the hot, young chick of the group) who have a passion for their vintage, mostly British, roadsters. This meant I witnessed Paul—my Paul—actually scrub out the guest bathroom in anticipation of their visit, along with string trimming around the riding arena and the road frontage. It goes without saying the rose gardens had been nearly weeded and absolutely exploding with color and fragrance.

“It’s like a royal visit,” I exclaimed in awe of all his work while comfortably stationed at the picnic table with a book and a beer. “You might want to consider pressure washing the front deck.” 

I could tell that for more than a few moments, he considered the idea.

And then he was off, toodling (sorry) down the driveway in his newly painted pride and joy before returning quite some time later, leading the rest of the gang very slowly down our driveway. It’s long and unpaved, so, you know, dust…

It was a lovely group who arrived, and I’m afraid I cheated on Paul; for as much as I enjoy his dark green Morgan, a new member pulled up in a creamy white 1959 Jaguar XK 150 convertible and I fell madly in love. It was in pristine condition, with sweeping, sensual lines only interrupted by the easily recognizable headlights and chrome grill. Holy moly, what a car. And an affable owner as well—no pretentiousness, just a nice bloke who seemed as grateful to have such a vehicle as the rest of us who gaped at it.

“If that were my car,” I opined later to Paul, “I’d sleep in it every night. I’d tuck it in with a cashmere cover and sing it a lullaby.”

“You already do that for your horses.” he said and added hopefully, “Maybe you’re subconsciously thinking about getting out of horses and getting into cars instead?”

I glanced around the immaculate grounds of the farm that Paul had made look quite park-like in anticipation of his big day. Visions of me sitting behind the smooth wooden wheel of a 65-year-old Jag danced through my head. These were, however, quickly replaced by the memory of Paul scrubbing out the toilet and, gasp, setting out guest towels. Guest towels!

“Nah,” I replied. “I’m good. It’s important you have a hobby that’s all yours.”