Sunday, June 21, 2009

# 21: Staunton. The Trip Part 3

Our first full day together had been carefully planned out well in advance, it sounded ideal; an afternoon with Lisa's family, helping out with a little gardening.

Lisa's mother's home, situated in a beautiful neighbourhood in Staunton, VA, proved to be HUGE by English standards, and as soon as we arrived I was thrust upon a host of Americans who were summarily introduced as family members.

I rolled up my sleeves and showed my willingness to help in their toil, at which point I was shown the vast acreage which, although purported to be a garden, was in fact the size of a small English county. It was thought best that Lisa Jane accompany me for fear that I may get lost in the grounds, as I was given the task of clearing a path in a distant copse. After a full ten minutes of arduous labour, we retreated to the patio for nourishment and a well earned rest.

As the day progressed, I was allowed the freedom to melt into the background and study the family from a quiet corner of the house. Although the surnames varied, this was the Lunt clan: a warm, welcoming and very close knit unit. Lisa's mother; the elderly matriarch at the centre of everything, so obviously happy to be bustling around, answering the needs for the various family members. There was a collection of bright, articulate young adults; grandchildren, enjoying the comfort and security that only a close family gathering can provide. Lisa's siblings and in-laws made up the remainder of the party, filling the house with laughter and relaxed banter, the whole atmosphere was idyllic. The memory of my previous day's trials faded away as I relaxed, feeling extremely privileged to witness this insight into Lisa's family life from such close, intimate quarters.

This first day was the real highlight of the whole trip for me and it provided most of the memories that will stay with me the longest. One's family background may not necessarily be reflected within one's character, in Lisa's case; the influences are all to obvious and it was like having a new dimension of her personality revealed to me.

The remainder of my time in the States is more than adequately described in Lisa's earlier post, and it will suffice at this point for me to just add that our first week together was obviously not going to be our last.


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