Such an awesome day! (Photos to follow.) Up at the crack of 8:30, our new hammock arrived as I was getting ready to go, excellent Pilates class led by J.R. (a student; he’s learning to teach), then figured out in the car where I wanted to go: Coventry! Made it to Silver Street by 11:45, and the lighting was perfect (it was horribly shady last time I was there, and therefore a huge tease).
When I’d had my fill of wonderful Silver Street (see previous entries), I figured out how to get to Holy Grove (aka South Street) using a map (it wasn’t hard, but this is no-sense-of-direction-Laura we’re talking about), and arrived at about 12:30; the sun was almost directly overhead, but still just slightly behind the west-facing stones, so they had short little shadows obscuring their faces. While I waited for the sun to creep a few inches across the sky, I killed time by slathering on sunscreen, eating a Paula Red apple, admiring the large larch trees, and picking wildflowers for Jonathan Loomis’ grave. ♥
I remembered exactly where Jonathan Loomis’ grave was, from two years ago! (This is no-sense-of-direction-Laura we’re talking about.) I walked right to it. That part of the cemetery is near some huge trees, so it was shady even at mid-day, but I took some pictures as best I could and then walked the rest of the burying ground, which was perfectly lit. Jonathan Loomis stone after Jonathan Loomis stone! South Street is the best cemetery EVER. Other than that one shady section, it’s perfect. Not overwhelmingly huge, so it doesn’t test your mettle overmuch, but not so small that it leaves you wanting more, either. Just right. And it’s on a rural road, surrounded by trees and wildflowers, but is very well maintained, with nice straight easy-to-follow rows. And there’s so so so much Loomis goodness!
I must confess, I just took a photo of every J. Loomis and pretty much ignored the other carvers’ stones. It was allowed because I’ve already been there before and photographed them the first time. I did take some pics of the other guys, but it was mostly just one big Loomis-frenzy. And there were enough Loomises (Loomisi?) to satisfy even me! Out of 123 stones (according to J. Slater’s wonderful book), 40 are by Jonathan or his son John (they use the same style, so their stones are hard to tell apart unless it’s one that was carved after Jonathan died) and 49 are by Amasa Loomis (Jonathan’s grandson). I’m not into Amasa Loomis, though; he rebelled against the family style and copied Josiah Manning’s style. What the heck, Amasa! You have a very cool name, but that is a decision I cannot endorse; the classic J. Loomis style is the bomb. That leaves only 34 stones split amongst 10 other carvers, so the place is very very Loomisy. Four of the stones are by Thatcher Lathrop, whose style reminds me of old (meaning current) Bob Dylan, and two of those four are his gravestones for Johnathan and John Loomis. Nope, Jonathan and John didn’t carve their own stones, and John didn’t carve Johnathan’s. The dour and jaded looking visage of a Thatcher Lathrop stone seems particularly unsuited to Jonathan and John Loomis, with their crazy happy hearts-and-flowers adorned flying alarm clock faces, but that’s what they’ve got. It’s pretty bizarre.
Anyway, along with much much much gravestone goodness, I also had a fabulous insect encounter (photos to follow), and then walked back to J&J Loomis’ graves one more time to check on the shadows and say goodbye. And, Callooh! Callay! The sun had progressed enough in the angled arc of the sky that their stones had popped out of the shady section and were perfectly illuminated! The rest of the shady section was still shady, but Jonathan and John’s stones were crisp and bright and finally photographable!
I started to drive home after that, but then noticed I was driving through Andover and thought, “Hmmm, I wonder if I’m near the Old Andover Burying Ground???” So I pulled over and checked my Old Cemeteries in Connecticut Google Map (extremely frustrating interface, but so so indispensable regardless), and I was indeed! So I went to one more cemetery (a new one this time), and that was pretty and rural too, although very overgrown with lichen, so it was extremely difficult to see most of the stones. I was expecting that (from reading my book), so I wasn’t at all surprised or disappointed; plus, I’d already had my fill of wonderful stones and this was just a bonus. There were still more Loomis stones (nine of them), and although they were pretty hard to see I still loved visiting them. Mostly it was just a quickie, and I didn’t take too many photos. But even if I’d encountered nothing decipherable at all, it would have been worth it just to see the bright silver face of a particularly mica-y old granite gravestone when it caught the sun. I had forgotten just how beautiful a sight that is.
To top off that perfect day, I stopped at Whole Foods for a drink on the way home (I tried an iced almond milk latte with one shot of regular and one of decaf, and it was so delicious!) and ran into Susie! Or, rather, she ran into me. I was absorbed in looking at some cute little zippy pouches and she came up to me and I almost JUMPED when she spoke to me, standing a few feet away. For half a second, it didn’t register that this was someone I actually knew, and then I blurted out, “What are you doing here????” Hahahahaha. Seeing people “out of context” is weird for me! But it was great because we both had a little time to kill and had a nice chat! I hardly ever see Susie, so that was very nice indeed.
Out in the car, I replied to the e-mail Dara had sent me earlier in the day, and stopped to pick up the special mango sticky rice she had prepared just for us and wanted to give us. (She didn’t have any mango when we went for our final Dara’s meal on Saturday, so she asked for my e-mail address so she could make some and let me know when it was ready! And I found out her real name is Ann. :-) I ordered some takeout, too, for one last Dara’s meal, and wished her luck one more time. She’s already found a new job as a server at another restaurant in Glastonbury, so that’s wonderful! When we finished our final meal in the restaurant on Saturday, we left her a giant tip (gave her a $100 bill to pay for the meal and said, “No change,” which was my idea, even though it’s the kind of thing Dean usually thinks of!), and she was really shocked and touched. Dara’s our favorite hostess and we will miss her! She seems really happy and optimistic, though, so maybe her new job will be a lot better, with more customers and more tips. For my very last Dara’s meal, I got a large seafood Tom Kar Gai soup with extra seafood, and added fresh South Glastonbury corn that I cooked in the microwave right before dumping it in. Best. Soup. Ever.