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This week the Married Daughter and What’s His Name return to Peabody after spending two weeks visiting friends in Romania. Through the wonders of Facebook we have been able to go along as they toured Bran Castle — better known as the home of Count Dracula — dined on some incredible looking meals, and shopped for treasures the Married Daughter may or may not be able to get through customs.

They did some sledding with their friends’ school-age children and found out they are finally closer to middle age than their fun and agile teenage years. I must admit, that realization was a long time coming.

They mentioned several times that their friend’s mother was a wonderful cook who spent an hours preparing magnificent traditional Romanian meals — everything, of course, from scratch. There were pictures posted on Facebook to prove it. They were unabashed in their praise for this woman. I will have to re-introduce them to the sign in my kitchen which reads, “If it doesn’t come in a box or a bag, it ain’t gonna’ be served in this house!”

And I refuse to be embarrassed by the fact that their Romanian friend has eaten here for several festive occasions such as July Fourth Celebrations. I think we might have served traditional Kansas beef burgers with those bags of Cheetos. Maybe the Oreos and parade candy were a bit skimpy for the dessert department, but hey — July is usually hot. Who cooks?

We are waiting to hear the tales of bringing the Married Daughter’s wonderful street market purchases through customs. I believe during the last trip home from England, it was a set of World War II era draperies that held up the line at customs because she did not know their history.

This time, I can’t wait to find out how she will get the petrified Romanian turtle into the country. In my opinion — not that anyone is asking for it — she’d have been better off to hire a couple of 10-year-olds to hang out on the banks of Doyle Creek all summer and snag some local reptiles.

We will be glad to have them back and to hear more about their adventures. Rest assured if there is anything worth telling, you will read it in this column first. Sometimes I love this job!

— SUSAN MARSHALL

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