Life as I know It

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San Luis Obispo, California, and South Bristol, Maine, United States
Author ~ Illustrator ~ Lecturer

Monday, August 16, 2010

Dinner for the Diva

This time of year is bittersweet for me. Summer winds down to mists and chill nights, the scent of fallen apples fills the air, and my dear friends leave for other lives. The goldfinches, who fill our home with their sweet songs, gorge themselves at the feeder hanging from the balsam fir in preparation for their journey south. The squirrels and chipmunks chitter and skirmish as they carry away fallen seeds to stow in their cache, and my human friends begin to pack their bags.

Virginia is an old friend who has been in our lives since the late 1980s. She met us through our little cottage on Orcas Island, which she rented. She said when she stepped through the door she KNEW that we were fellow Maineiacs, as crazy for Maine as anyone she'd ever discovered. Our Orcas cottage was outfitted in Maine antiques, Maine books, (Coatsworth, Beston, Louise Dickinson Rich, E.B. White, etc.), and even old plaid Maine camp blankets. 

When we finally met in person, we felt like we'd known each other for a lifetime, but then, isn't that how true friendship always feels? Ginny, who lived in Anacortes, Washington most of the year and Maine in the summer, asked us if we would loan her our cottage on Orcas in exchange for her Maine cottage, and we said an emphatic "YES!" 

I never dreamed, as we drove down the Bristol Peninsula toward Christmas Cove, that Virginia's cottage was one I had always loved. I burst into tears when we walked through the door of her home, which was once (before she restored it) the island market. I finished Sunflower Houses at her kitchen table overlooking the South Bristol Town Landing. And I lived in her home as I finished the illustrations for  Roots, Shoots, Buckets & Boots

So, it is because of our early years in Virginia's cottage that we bought here over 15 years ago. We feel at home in this historic fishing village, which isn't touristy like so many other areas.

An old restaurant chalk board sports the sign "Diva Dinner to honor Virginia."

Our porch is the place where everyone gathers.

My friend Eleanor who is a great gardener, cook, and person.

Eleanor always arrives with a gift, usually home made...the best kind of offering.

Jodi, who taught at Cordon Bleu and is the most amazing and inventive chef I know. I was intimidated to cook for her, but she actually said "ummmmmmm" over some of my food and asked how I did it. Was she just humoring me?

Patrick and Alli

Max (Virginia's son our adopted god son) and Alli enjoying a fire and playing ring toss.

Honestly, Patrick NEVER relaxes, but here he is relaxing. He is Virginia's adopted son and has been a part of our lives since he was a child. I remember watching him handle a boat when he was about 9 years old...his skill is flawless.

Max grew up on the rocks in front of our cottage. He named them "Jurassic Park." Here he is introducing Gen to the rocks.

Some of the group on the porch.

When Ginny leaves at the end of the summer, an empty spot opens in our hearts. To celebrate her and her friendship, we threw a "Diva Dinner" last Friday night. What I most loved about the dinner was the gentle yet spicy mix of friends from every generation-from Wesley, who is just a few months old, to adults in their mid-80s.

Faretheewell, Virginia! We will all miss you.

The "Diva" taking photos for her sweet memories.



P.S. We are working steadily on Comfort Found Literary Lodging and are breathlessly approaching the finish line. We've been installing antique lighting, hanging old maps of Maine, and stuffing the bookcases with some of our favorite reads. Today Jeff is painting the trim in the kitchen and moving on to the final room. It is charming and homey in the apartment, and I love being in the heart of Damariscotta, which bustles with life during the day and calms (translate-sidewalks rolled up by 9) at night.  I promise to post some photos of our project next week.


FlowerLady Lorraine said...

You always seem to have lovely gatherings at your home. Memories are being made to fill your hearts and minds when you are not together.

Hugs ~ FlowerLady

Lemon Verbena Lady said...

Enjoying your gathering from afar, Sharon! Looked like fun! xxoo Nancy

One Woman's Journey - a journal being written from Woodhaven - her cottage in the woods. said...

Thank you for letting me join you.
Most of the time it is quiet here in the woods :) Have a great rest of the day.

Stickhorsecowgirls said...

What a wonderful place and I can sense the conviviality! Do you live in Maine only during the summer?

Leanne said...

what a cozy home you have built - with loving family & friends

Terra said...

What a loving Diva feast and a story of a sweet friendship.

commoncents said...


Love your page - keep up the excellent work!

Common Cents

Erin | Bygone Living said...

What a beautiful post, and such beautiful photographs... you truly are very blessed! ♥

Unknown said...

Dear Sharon and Jeff,
Wonderful post...friendship comes easy near the sea... ones guard is down,things smell and taste better and the end of another summer is ALWAYS bitter sweet! We are noticing small signs of the change of seasons here too. Nights are cooler, the air is dryer which gives us clear crisp days from until late Fall. The swallows have made their appearance well known.. We say the same thing to each other every year at this time, " They're a little early aren't they?" But in reality we know they are right on time, it's us that want to hold on for more sunshine,gatherings with friends, and time to muse near the sea...
We're with you in spirit!!! HANG ON!
much love,
Dave and Deb...

Pondside said...

What a lovely post - and sweet story of a how a friendship began. It's hard to say goodbye at the end of a season, isn't it?

farmlady said...

This is such a wonderful post of friendship and place. You are very fortunate to live in a home that you love. It's a gift, really.
The photos are wonderful. The faces of friends that will leave soon is sad but, as I read this, I know that you understand how life moves on and the seasons change.
Winter will come but the friendships will last forever.

Pom Pom said...

Oh, how lovely! My family owned a little piece of land on Orcas Island when I was a child. We only went there for a picnic once, but all of us wish my parents hadn't sold it. I just returned from Guemes Island. It is one of my beloved places. I've never been to Maine but I love it because of Sarah, Plain and Tall.
Oh, how nice to have so many of your summer friends in your home. What a lovely send off you've given them, Sharon!

Mozart's Girl said...

Special memories, special people. Friends surrounding us are such a blessing Sharon - we have to cherish them like the changing seasons and make the most of them while they're here! Looks like a wonderful time, I could feel the warmth from the screen. Happy week to you. Still writing away, time flies doesn't it? I look up and it's Tuesday! Love & hugs, Rachel xox

Courtney at SL's No Ennui said...

Can't wait to read more about the lodge...

You did such a fantastic job introducing this amazing group of people! Your words are unequalled in the charm they bring!

decareis said...

It is always a refreshing breeze. See and read your blog!

rebecca sweet said...

I always love waking up to your posts. While sitting comfortably in my bed, listening to my canaries sing, steaming cup of coffee in hand, I'm transported to the opposite side of the country with your writing. Thanks again for a lovely, lovely journey.

Vee said...

Special times with special doesn't get any better. Loved seeing this gathering upon your porch and your chef friend was not humoring you, I'm sure.

Anonymous said...

Thank you, God, for the state of Maine, reaching ever for the first light of day. As thy people wake to eastern rays, what chowder of nourishment dost Thou prepare for body and soul: concocted so delectably of pine needles and potatoes, of herring and clams and lobsters in their rocky lairs, of blueberries and new-mown hay and a thousand lakes and little boats brave upon the deep.
Of such blessings did our fathers and mothers distill their rugged liberty: Grant us grace to win the same, along the country roads and on the fringed and tasseled coast of our wooded land, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

I found this on the Diocese of Maine for the Episcopal Church. You may know this prayer already but I hope you don't mind me sending it to you here...
Kay Guest

Sharon Lovejoy said...

Dear Kay,

I WELCOME your input. Thank you for sending this to me.

Let me add something-I carry a newspaper clipping in my purse. I cut it out this past spring. It says, "Lincoln County Sheriff's Department is investigating the unlawful tapping of maple trees in the cemetery."

I LOVED it that someone (a CRIMINAL) was industrious enough to tap our cemetery maples for syrup. Do you think the souls resting there minded? I don't. I think they probably loved the company and the steady ping, ping, ping, of the syrup dripping into the tin bucket.

I wish all the rest of our fragile world had such terrible, terrible crimes occurring.

For the love of Maine,


Katiejane said...

This looks so charming and welcoming. I've always wanted to visit Maine. We lived in Connecticut for a year back in the 70's but never found time to travel north. Through you I will do a little armchair traveling. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

Hi Sharon, What a warm gathering it must have been. I suppose the thing you learn by traveling as you do is to seize every moment realizing more than most that nothing is ever stagnant. As the days wind down you'll be making new memories while enjoying the ones you've already made. You live a blessed life, don't you?

~Lavender Dreamer~ said...

What a beautiful home for friends and family to gather...filled with memories and happy moments! I know you've enjoyed being there this summer! ♥♥♥

Rosie said...

Well what a beautiful little world you have created the "Gathering Porch"...can just imagine sitting for hours, with cold drink in hand, chit chatting about everything...and nothing...Ahhhhh
How very lovely to meet you Sharon...Thank you so much for popping over for a visit...I'm sure to be back on Rosie

Lori ann said...

Dear Sharon,
I can see why it will be so hard to leave your magical Maine. It all looks and sounds straight out of a story book. I can also see where so much of your inspiration for the books you have made has come from.

thank you for this peek into your world my friend, it delights me almost as much as your dear books, which you know i treasure.

enjoy these late summer days. ☺

From the Kitchen said...

Good Morning Sharon: I've had such a nice visit at your place in Maine. Thanks so much for having me!! I found your friends charming. So far my favorite spot is your front porch. I'd like it in sunshine and mist. My husband and I plan to spend some time in New England now that he's retired. Of course, the biggest attraction is the fact that our younger son lives there now with his lovely New England-born wife. Elyssa did her undergrad in Maine. She's from Mass.

I shall return!


From the Kitchen said...

Yes, Sharon--always real maple syrup!! Waffles in autumn bring back sweet (literally) memories of growing up in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia. They were always smothered in maple syrup. We ate on the screened porch on Sunday evenings. Many times the smell of burning leaves wafted through the air. That's one source of pollution that I miss!!


Sharon Lovejoy said...

Bonnie and I are writing back and forth about breakfast-suppers. I love having waffles, eggs, and bacon for supper every so often, but always with REAL maple syrup. Once you taste the real thing you never confuse the other with maple syrup.

Autumn is coming! Waffle and maple syrup time!


koralee said...

Thank you for visiting me ...I really love your blog...have a great new week. xoxo

Vicki Boster said...

How wonderful that you gathered to gether for this very special diner for your friend - I can only imagine that she is leaving with such bittersweet memories of the good times shared. There is nothing better that a girlfriend - you are all very blessed!


sherry said...

*comfort found literary lodging*

yet one more reason to visit Maine. :o)