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June 21, 2013 by Ellen Stimson in Summertime

  We have a little balcony outside our second floor office. It hovers over the front porch and has the best view of the Taconic Ridge just about a mile away. The scent of peonies wafts up from down below and the crabapple bushes touch the railings. The balcony is about ten by twenty-five feet long and about a third of that is taken up with the hot tub. The other end has a bunch of big plants with little twinkly white lights strung through them. There is not a lot of room left over. But in the middle are two lovely iron chaise lounges with a table settled in between. The  lounges are outfitted with cushy vanilla coloured  pillows and there is a wrought iron towel rack behind them with thick towels near the hot tub.

When we bought this house and those chaises I imagined long sunny afternoons with Hannah polishing our toenails and reading silly magazines together. That all came true only then she grew up, graduated from college and moved to Manhattan. What I didn’t envision was what might come next up there. And this summer, with Eli on an early Martha’s Vineyard fishing excursion with his big brother John and I have the whole place to ourselves. Sure, we have to work. But nothing else seems pressing. So we come home take off all our clothes, smear coconut oil all over and head for the balcony. The sun slows everything down. We drink coconut water and talk lazily about grilling or maybe a movie later. We figure we’ll have a big steak salad, with red onions and tiny new potatoes drizzled with the good balsamic and sprinkled with a little Stilton, for supper. When Eli is home we could never get away with just a salad for supper even if it did have steak in it.

Today is the first official day of summer. In a little over a week we will all be on island together with the slamming screen door and a houseful of kids and company. There will be 16 paws counting Benjamin’s girl Olive and an ever-rotating bunch of teenage boys.  Nobody will be doing any naked sunbathing.

Well, none of the adults anyway. And surely none of the kids either—or at least not when we’re around. So for a little while I am going to soak this up. It’s just like when we were dating. Only the food is better and the music is a little quieter.

Maybe I’ll slice some strawberries and make a little shortbread. I think this is what they were talking about when the grown-ups told us the good stuff was still coming …

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