May 2015: Notes from an Innkeeper’s Journal

A young couple from New Jersey booked four days. Ms. Esperanza is a Spanish/Mayan princess dressed like Cinderella in tulle. Her placid face, serene smile, and long lashes atop sleepy bedroom eyes remind me of a character in an Isabel Allende novel.

Her boyfriend is all Jersey but with a sensitive side. The product he uses to control his hair doesn’t keep his cowlick in place. When he smiles his eyes twinkle. He smiles at Ms. Esperanza quite often. They spend their vacation days kayaking because Jersey Boy has a fear of water and Ms. Esperanza wants him to overcome it. They also go antiquing and visit a petting zoo. At night they drink tea and play backgammon and Chinese checkers in the lounge. Always the hopeless romantic, I imagine he is proposing this weekend.

Sitting on our large screened-in porch in the early evening, a thunderstorm approaches. The air is humid. The wind howls. Rich calls it a chinook wind although these warm winds occur where the Great Plains and Canadian Prairie meet the Rocky Mountains. Maple trees sway and lightning bolts light up the sky like daylight. We sip wine. I feel happy looking out across the lawn where robins search for worms in the grass that needs mowing.

A second story window in the cathedral ceiling living room has the best view of the lightening flashing above an ancient elm tree. When I close my eyes I see this image in white like some kind of photographic trick in a darkroom.

At nine thirty at night I am returning phone calls and booking reservations. The phone is ringing off the hook with last minute Memorial Day weekend travel plans. A man who had a death in the family is using his gift certificate for a night next week. A father is bringing his daughter to summer camp. A young woman in Manhattan has finally convinced her boyfriend to get away for the weekend but they don’t have a car and she asks about trains. There are no trains in this rural pocket of Western New England. She can’t find a rental car so I suggest Uber and feel very hip doing so. I only know about this because my daughter in Denver used Uber and sent me a very excited text message about it.

Rich offers to make a fire for the Jersey couple. The storm last night brought cold air through the region. After the fire is lit he tells me to come through the pantry to peek at Ms. Esperanza and her beau playing backgammon by the fire.

The cold that moved in last night feels frigid after two years in South Florida. My blood has thinned. The bags of ice on my sprained ankles don’t help as I shiver uncontrollably. My body shakes. Cold spreads across my core, rising to my skin. It’s been awhile since I experienced goosebumps. I think about snowbirds and why they fly south for the winter.


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