Nature opened the doors to the blast furnace and cranked it up yesterday. It's a good thing we had the race to turn our minds from the heat. I was still in the throes of last-minute cleaning when Sandra arrived, quite pleased with herself as it was the first time she'd driven up without a navigator and didn't get lost once. Trust me, that's a feat worth celebrating. She brought the fixings to make German berrocks: meat, cabbage, and onion baked turnovers. I already had dry-rub drumsticks in one oven and they were smelling good. When Clay came in, he showed new talent as a bartender, making us a tall, refreshing Belmont Breeze, a combination of bourbon, pomegranate juice, and lemonade. Tasty stuff, that! Deb and Craig were loaded down with an unusual, amazingly good dip made with pureed peas, garlic, and (I apologize) something else I can't remember. Whatever it was, the dip was a big hit and I'll get the recipe. They also brought pita chips and garlic-stuffed olives. I'd also made an old standby, three-bean salad with tarragon and balsamic vinegar. Camille and Honey came shortly after we'd loaded the table. This was a help-yourself spread and we spent the afternoon watching what has been called "the longest three hours for a three-minute finish," eating (yes!), and enjoying each other's company. I won't say we weren't disappointed when California Chrome didn't win - we were. I wasn't the only one crying, but then, I always cry when watching horses run. Win, place, or show, Tonalist and his jockey did a great job, but we agreed with Steve Coburn that the field for the Belmont would be leveled if only horses that had also run in the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness should race for the Triple Crown. To ease our sorrow and cool our heated brows, it was time to make a big tub of homemade ice cream. Boy, did that hit the spot!
Saying goodbye to the flatlanders was bittersweet. I probably won't see most of them until fall when the weather is more conducive for a visit. I'll miss them, but I don't blame them.
Celeste is so funny. She won't come out if strangers are in the house. She's not the social animal that Ralph has become. Celeste appears immediately after the last car leaves as if she'd been watching out the window to see it go. She hung around me all evening, and it was strange that Ralph didn't show up as usual. I thought he'd come out from wherever when at bedtime, but no Ralph and I got worried. Aha! He'd followed the boys downstairs when they were doing me a favor and had inadvertently got himself shut in down there. After telling me how bad it had been all alone in the dark, he headed first for the water bowl and then for the litter box. Poor little boy. I like happy endings.
It was a good day.