The others went shopping for telephones, drawn by the closing days of Verizon's "unlimited data plans". Like a flock of magpies lured by the sparkly smart phones. And Porter entered into an indentured servitude with his grandparents for an iPhone. 40 or 50 hours of paid labor should pay for the phone and most of a year's worth of payments. Oddly, this piece of technology is going to get Porter out of the house and into the fields where Dad is planting his meadows and prairies. (A new school is going up in Palmyra and they are letting him plant part of the grounds in his native grasses and wildflowers - so Porter's up at 6 a.m. caddying tools for his grandfather.)
I drove in to Lancaster to drink beer with Kirk and eat his Tunisian meatballs - an Independence Day nod to the Arab Spring. Neal and Loretta came over with 2 of their 3 boys, and another friend who recalls me from years ago. Sveta came home from work and sat with us, murmuring quietly in her Dagestani accent. The kids splashed themselves into the inflatable pool and I played a marathon match of "darn you" with Neal's oldest boy, who gave himself a bad conscience by cheating on a close call. But rematches are better when there's controversy for some trash talking. When the kids had gone inside to watch TV, we sat in the dusk soaking our feet in the pool, and talking, talking, talking -- my pocket occasionally buzzed with a message reaching out to me from Porter's new phone.