Ricochet is the best place on the internet to discuss the issues of the day, either through commenting on posts or writing your own for our active and dynamic community in a fully moderated environment. In addition, the Ricochet Audio Network offers over 50 original podcasts with new episodes released every day.
Dear Ricochet: Thank You For Saving My Life at T+12 (Years)
Well, it happened. The meetup at Chez She has been and gone. And I find myself, on the twelfth anniversary of the day that I signed up here, even more grateful and charmed than ever before by your grace, forbearance, and generosity.
A couple of months ago, I posted a wild idea: What about a Ricochet meetup here, where I really live? Would anyone be interested? (I know of a few members in the immediate–Pittsburgh, WV, OH–area, but I had no idea if anyone would actually be able or willing to make the muddy and weatherly-precipitous trip in this direction, to a house with newly-available accommodation, finally-finished bedrooms, and a couple of marvelous bathrooms.** In addition to three filthy dogs, nine dirty sheep, five not-always-civil cats, four rather cranky hens and a well-mannered rooster, and the proverbial partridge in a pear tree.)
But I need not have worried. You were up for the struggle! Not exactly in droves, but in numbers greater, and at much farther reach than I imagined possible.
This has always been my most cherished experience of Ricochet, that its members are willing to make the effort to travel and visit among and between ourselves, and to put ourselves at risk, that we might have IRL experiences of finding new friends, and that we might truly feel ourselves part of a “community” that is more than a drive-by social media exercise. It’s always a precarious business–and I’ve found myself over the years on both sides of than dynamic–but in the main, my participation here has been totally worthwhile, and I wouldn’t trade it for the world.
This particular meetup processed over about 48 hours. It began with the arrival of a much-loved member who assisted with preparations, worked its way through perpetual-grazing to the next day which, with a slightly different population, began with waffles (thanks, chickens, for the eggs) and locally-produced bacon and maple syrup, through the afternoon’s high tea with a toast to the “Real Queen,” and which then entered the evening hours (during which I consumed a regrettable quantity of gin), and some Ricochet storytelling out-of-school. (I expect that those of you–here and no longer so–might have recognized yourselves in the recounting.) A couple stayed the night, and today (Monday) we spent a few delightful hours together before they had to leave.
And so, please join me in recognizing @SomeCallMeTim and Mrs. Tim; @joelb and Mrs. Joel, @nohaaj and Mrs. Nohaaj, @davidfoster, @CRD and Mr. CRD, @caryn, and @stevenseward.
Along the way, we had a delightful cameo appearance by beloved stepdaughter and best-granddaughter-ever. She was on the precipice of a school project about federalism and the question of the supremacy of centralized government vis-a-vis the states. “You’ve got the right audience,” remarked someone here, before launching into a delightful Q&A session with her. What a girl! A 14-year-old is able to hold her own and converse coherently and charmingly among a crowd of strangers. She really is a “Peach.”
As you know, the saying here is that if there aren’t photos, it didn’t happen. And so–with brief commentary–a few. (Thanks so much to all of you who provided supplementary dishes and drink. Once again, I think you know who you are):
LOL. A participant explained to me that one of the measures of “success” among those who manage the New Orleans Mardi Gras is that which evaluates the tonnage of rubbish engendered versus the celebration in question. Not quite the same thing, but perhaps the number of dirty dishes produced is something similar. Yes, I know I could have used paper. But somehow–I think–that would have been cheating.
The hot-plate counter. Venison chili (the deer was walking the hills here less than a week ago) and a veggie-soup, together with puff pastries containing either goat cheese and roasted red pepper or brie and cranberry sauce; sausage rolls with mustard and (really) hot peppers stuffed with sausage meat, various breads, and a fabulously rustic ham and potato soup.
The tea and coffee bar!
The bar, proper!
Some photos of new, and old (but always dear) friends.
I don’t kid, when I say that some of you have ‘saved my life’ over the past few, often very difficult, years. The winner in this immediate regard–perhaps because it references my dad–is the participant who said that he’d had the opportunity to shoot, in the recent PA deer-hunting season, a deer in exactly the same way that Dad shot the man-eating lion in Nigeria in the 1950s (we’d been examining Dad’s shotgun just before).
“I decided not to take the shot,” he said. “But I thought about the story of your dad right before I did.”
Bless. Also to those of you who said, “I wasn’t sure I was in the right place until I saw the dogs in the window” or “until I saw the chicken coop.”
And also to the participant who said, “I’m so glad the whole thing wasn’t about Trump.”
God. Me too!
One of the benefits of this format was the opportunity to sit–at length–with all of you and to really hear some of your stories. I’m fond of saying that “everyone has a story, and some of us have more than one.” Thank you all, for sharing yours with us.
On that note, if anyone’s been following the photos and has noticed that I’m missing, I’m so very grateful to a new friend for the following portrait and his generous permission to reproduce it here:
Thank you all, those who attended, and all those of you who wished us well.
Until next year!
Much love, and many thanks,
**Speaking of the “marvelous bathrooms,” I have both the “fiesta bathroom” (awesome shower) and the “fairy princess bathroom,” (loverly tub). Watching the men and women of Ricochet drool (for different reasons) over both of them has been one of the proudest moments of my life.Published in General
Thank you so much for the update, She. It looks like it was a lovely time shared with good friends and good food, and good conversation. All the makings of the Ricochet community. Although this makes me very jealous of the time I missed, I’m grateful that such a time did exist! And it really wouldn’t be a party without a Crockpot (or two), would it?
Your home looks so cosy and welcoming She.
All the beautiful foods!
And you ended up with a Seward original, you lucky goose!!
Fantastic! What a great weekend!
What a lovely home!
I’m very sorry the travels I hoped would make it possible to attend didn’t work out. ):
Also had a fleeting hope that I could make the trip but it didn’t work out. Based on the description, poor me!
Thank You for sharing.
Nothing makes me happier than hearing about another Ricochet Meetup. To paraphrase Troy Senik from many years ago, these are where you meet the family you never knew you had. Bravo, She!
I would like to nominate She as the bestest hostess. Seriously this was delightful, insightful, relaxed, fun, invigorating. I learned many things, I met many very fine people, and as Mrs. Nohaaj observed afterwards, “She is sort of the Queen of Ricochet”. Indeed. We toasted the late queen, and the reigning queen.
Something I learned… never to old for new tricks. That weird tray on the top of our dishwasher has a functional use.
The silverware bucket has now been relegated to storage under the sink.
What a wonderful post! What a beautiful portrait! I am so pleased that someone who looks lovely is the kind of person who really deserves to be!
But I would take the rooster aside for a little man-to-man talk .
four rather cranky hens and a well-mannered rooster
“Roos, old boy, being well mannered is generally the way to go, no question about it…but once in a while, the hens don’t mind a little roguishness, that ruling the roost air of confidence, know what I mean? You got four willing and cranky chickens who think you’re not getting the job done, if you catch my drift. So get to work!”
Wonderful, wonderful! I’m sure it was just perfect–the food, the tea, and Steve’s portrait. Well done!
Great event, glad I came!
Received–and am posting–this comment via proxy. It’s from the aforementioned beloved stepdaughter, to whom I sent the link, after the post hit the main feed (thanks all, and editors):
Yep. There you go. Merry Christmas, all!
I saw it on ebay already.
The photos don’t do the house justice. There is something unique around every corner. In the update of your home, you have accomplished things I haven’t even thought about thinking about wrt my efforts to fix up my own house , @she
I don’t know where you get the time and energy to do all that construction, tend to your critters, and still be one of Ricochet’s most prolific writers.
It was a very special time. I only wish that I could have met the Sunday folks who were not there on Saturday.
That simple portrait displays a beautiful woman with a wise knowing smile. You are indeed blessed. The delineation of bathroom choices is TMI but maybe that is just me.
If I was not tied down with work, I would have been there. Sounds like a blast!
Too right. They are ideal for something like this. At one point, I had three of them going.
Still had one in reserve, though, in case of a food emergency…
We first saw this dishwasher trick at a friend’s, and it was a game-changer.
Life and a desire to focus on topics other than politics has taken me away from writing/reading as much as I used to do on Ricochet, but I’ve always loved your posts, She. I am not at all surprised that your gathering was about much more than a politician. You put out quite the spread!
And even though I know it was a lot more work, I love that you used real plates and china. There’s something welcoming about an actual tea cup rather than a piece of styrofoam. And the dollop of something from the bar doesn’t hurt!!!
A toast to you and the entire Ricochet community.
Likewise — This was an ON weekend for my second job. Sorry to have missed it.
Sounds like a fun time. Happy Anniversary, She!
Excellent story of your weekend! What a neat drawing by Steven Seward, also! Reading about meetups is the next best thing to being there.
Thanks all, those who were able to be here, and those who couldn’t make it. Mark your calendars, second weekend of December 2023! Contemplating “groundnut chop” (groundnut stew), a family staple for decades, as the main event. It’s a recipe borrowed from West Africa–cultural appropriation alert. Chicken stew with a thick peanutty, oniony, sauce along with spices, raisins, and a few hard-boiled eggs. It’s served over rice, but what really makes the dish are the sauces and the side-dishes– small plates, comprising anywhere from a dozen upward, of accoutrements to sprinkle on by choice and at will. It’s traditionally served with sparking cider.
Dad was famous for his groundnut chop.** The last time we held a family event which Mum, Dad, and both my siblings and I attended was in 2005 or so. I was staying with my sister, and she, my brother, and I decided to create one, and to push the boat out on the the side-dishes to the greatest extent possible. My brother attempted to compile a list of what we came up with. Here it is (apologies if duplicates):
I don’t think I’ve quite got all that in me at this point in my life. But I can give it my best shot. Deal?
**Not long after we moved to a Pittsburgh suburb in late 1964 (I should think it was once the weather had warmed up the following year) we hosted a block party (those were the days). On the invitations, Dad has written, in his always-execrable handwriting, “West African chop will be served.”
Not quite knowing what to make of this family of weirdos who’d moved in and who had spent the previous couple of decades living on the Dark Continent, I was amused to find out that several of the neighbors were worried that what it actually said was, “West African chap will be served….”
Thanks Lois. Great to see you!
Wow! Beautiful farm house and tree, great company, food and drink! What more could you want! Love it all! If you can, please post some of your cranky dirty critters – you left those out!! :-) Merry Christmas! PS – Your sentiments about Ricochet are shared by many, including me.
I’m fine. It was just a speck of dust in the eye and it made me cough a little.