Bob & Ellen's Excellent Adventure

Black Sheep Tower House


April 6, 2021 I drove to my mom’s for Easter – just for the day. It was exactly one week after my first vaccine shot, and we were both impatient to take off the masks and be “normal”, but I stuck to the protocol. She cooked the Easter dinner (delicious of course!) while I checked off the “Honey-Do” list. Some easy (replacing ceiling height light bulbs), some more challenging (changing out the front storm door for the screen door). Bob sometimes says to me, “Why doesn’t she ask the neighbor or get a handyman?” But some things are kind of unique tasks, and it is just easier for me (or my brother) to do. My brother Bill lives in San Diego, so he has not been able to fly out to help since before the pandemic. The storm door is a case in point… it is nice because it is a full size door window/screen, which gives a great view and nice air flow, but the thing is awkward as hell to change. The glass insert is very heavy, and there are these plastic v-strips that go along each edge and have to be inserted into a notch to hold either the glass or the screen in place. My dad had a system, with penciled instructions in the pamphlet, kept in the hall drawer – with a wooden ruler that has a notch carved into it for this very purpose. At this point, only my brother and I know how to do this task (I am SURE the company does NOT make these doors any more!) So, I changed the glass to the screen, and even knowing how to do it, I had to re-do it once, and carry the glass door down to the basement… I was ready for a glass of wine by this point!!!

Here is my mom, who has fully embraced the black sheep theme, and found wine and cheese for our special occasion. Interestingly, look at the sheep face – the wine is called “In Sheep’s Clothing”, and the image is a mashup of the faces of a wolf and a sheep!! Something my mom had not noticed, but the wine was good and it was kind of cool (I took the empty bottle home). The Hudson Valley is known for it’s goat and sheep cheeses (the gourmet Sheepherder’s cheese from Old Chatham, NY is completely awesome and a real treat.) So, here I was, dressed up and wining and dining on my mom’s gourmet cooking (instead of cleaning an enormous crazy house)! Yes!

Meanwhile, Bob hung out with Ron and Linda Gordon back in Maryland…. on Saturday night they met up at Jimmie Cone in Mt. Airy, where every 1st and 3rd Saturday nights there is a Cruise Night – you never know what cool cars might show up. Bob drove the ’54 Speedster and Ron and Linda brought their Triumph TR4, and then the next day Bob joined their family for Easter dinner, a long time tradition. Another Gordon tradition is “egg fighting”. Yes, it is a double elimination tournament (every egg has two ends!) where you try to break the end of your opponent’s egg (decorated, and hard-boiled of course!) with the end of your egg. There is fierce competition, and to be fair, a certain amount of scrutiny of Gutjahr eggs…. There was an episode of historic proportions about 6 or 7 years ago, when I stealthily replaced our dyed chicken Easter eggs with completely believable and authentically painted wooden eggs (that my MOM actually found and bought for me!!) Well, a hard-boiled chicken egg is no match for a skillfully wielded wooden egg, and, fancy that… Bob was a winner! Ron’s son Rob was very skeptical, and took it out to the car garage for a “tech inspection”, which consisted of weighing it on a gram scale vs. a chicken egg (yes, it was heavier) and when unable to identify what it was made of, he put it to a full-on band saw, and cut the thing in half! One half-oval flung off, hitting the wall as Rob frustratedly and viciously sliced up my beautifully painted egg!! He stomped back in with the evidence, and we were forevermore alternately toasted AND maligned as “cheaters”! Haha, we got ’em good. 🙂 🙂 Oh, what about this year, you ask? Bob beat ’em again… but fair and square, since he used one of Linda’s eggs! 🙂

Well, back at the ranch, after enjoying the fine dining and creature comforts, I was back slogging in the great room…. needing to wash both myself and my filthy and mouse excrement encrusted clothes after each adventure…. but success was eventually mine!

This was a week of contrasts, for sure! 🙂

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