last hurrahs

The road trip to Ohio was full of problems, but as the cliche expression goes, "it's not the end destination, it's the journey." But, I should probably back up and talk about some of the events of the week leading up to my departure. I spent my last week covering some kitchen shifts, packing and repacking and repacking, shipping boxes of my stuff, boxing things up which B1 & B2 will bring as far as Buffalo in December, just doing last minute things. I had asked M &N if they would mind if I invited a few people over for drinks one night (a last hurrah) on Tuesday--unbeknownst to me M & N had invited over the entire staff for dessert and drinks--SNEAKY!

Anyway, that night I stopped by M & N's to grab something before dashing over to B1 & B2's; in my haste I left my car running in Neutral (it's a manual) on what I thought was a flat piece of road...apparently the road had just enough of a slope and my car had hundreds of pounds of my possessions in it to give it the umph it needed to roll down the hill alongside the road, take out 2 sections of fencing in M & N's yard, and get itself jammed onto a fence post (which fortunately kept it from rolling down another hill into the woods).

In those horrible, sickening-feeling'ed moments spent waiting for Jay and W the Farmer to come and help pull me out, and again as I sat in my car praying and gunning it when I was told to, I felt a gratitude for community, and a reminder of what makes the Farm so special. A reminder of the closeness I will miss, the willingness of friends and neighbors to help one another. I had an hour and a half to think about that as the trucks attempts at pulling me out turned into my old Saturn being pulled out by one of the Farm tractors.

Let's just say by the time we all got into the party we all needed a drink. A big one.

Thanksgiving, the biggest meal the Farm does all year, the meal which we plan for and prep for for days in advance came off without a hitch. Slightly smaller than last year's celebration--145 people vs. last year's 176--this year felt more intimate and special and the food was amazing! Plates were piled high; mine included turkey and gravy, mashed potatoes, Farm Brussels sprouts, Farm butternut squash roasted and pureed into submission, Farm kale salad, stuffing (I made stuffing for 160 people this year, just to be safe), among many other things. The Farm's bakery program had made delicious pies and tarts: pumpkin, apple, chocolate--my God, so good. No one went away hungry.

And so it was with a still full belly and love for my fellow farmers that found me saying goodbye to the Farm and my Farm "family" Friday morning. I stayed just long enough for breakfast and to get many hugs and some tearful goodbyes; to stop by M &N's to say goodbye to M and the kiddos; to stop for one last cup of coffee from the Farm's restaurant; and just like that my life at the Farm was over. And like many journeys--I headed out, with only some vague sense of what lie in store.

Jay had looked at my car for me before I headed out and assured me that as long as I took it easy my broken back spring would manage the trip ok. And it did. It wasn't the spring that gave me the problems along the way, it was my starter dying on me when I was just about half way to OhCity, just outside of Rochester, NY. AAA tried jumping my car, but since the starter was dead (my ex-mechanic bro confirmed this over a panicked phone call from me), and really dead, that was a no go. So, the AAA tow truck driver offered a solution--"Pop start" the car. Pop starting, as I learned that day, means pushing a manual car to get it rolling with the clutch in 2nd gear, once it gets going you take your foot off the clutch and hit the gas and the car starts! And it works. And doing it made me think of Little Miss Sunshine.

Everything was going fine. When I stopped to go to the bathroom I left the car running with the doors locked. It wasn't until a tollbooth worker made me slam on my brakes that my foot slid off the clutch and my car stalled again. Another hour later a second AAA tow truck driver helped me pop start my car again, but since we were in a flat parking lot at the toll booths in Buffalo, NY, the truck driver pulled my car up a 45 degree incline on the bed of his truck and had me hold my brakes, unhooked me and away I rolled backwards, pop starting the car again, this time in Reverse instead of 2nd gear.

No more stops. And I FINALLY made it to OhCity, OH, 11 hours later (instead of the 7.5 the trip should have been). But the moral of the story is that I made it safely.

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