Last week’s guest at Fern Forest Treehouse was a cream specialist. Cream specialist—I salivate just saying it. Richard is a farmer’s son so of course he knows about cream. And milk. But not cheese—his father sends the milk away to be made into cheese. Nothing cheesy about Richard.
Imagine a cream specialist who’s a wiry six-three and has an Irish accent. Did I mention his father’s farm is in Northern Ireland? (Seamus Heaney country.) And imagine the Irish accent seasoned with an ever-so-slight Asian flavor. Did I mention that Richard lives and works in Taiwan?
And did I mention he’s quite handsome?
Before I hyperventilate, I suppose I ought to tell you that Clare was with him. She’s a seraphic dark-haired beauty with a lovely smile who lives in Oxford, England, where she sells real estate. And she’s sweet as pudding.
Richard and Clare were on their way to a wedding in Waitsfield and stopped for a night in the treehouse on the way. It was a hot night in Fern Forest, and we sat outside on the deck with glasses of chilled white wine. Richard deliberated about the best route to Waitsfield and pulled out his iPad to check google map. I gasped. Then he placed the iPad into my trembling hands and pulled out his iPhone. I want an iPhone. And an iPad. Then he handed me his iPhone. Imagine me deep in Fern Forest, hands filled with technology, sitting next to an Irish cream specialist who lives in Taiwan. It doesn’t get any better.
And suddenly I remember that the craze in Taiwan is ice cream served in little plastic toilet bowls. Delete memory. Focus on sound of crickets and rustle of fern fronds.
Richard warned us that he rises at 5:00 a.m. but not to worry—he’d just hook into our wifi and do some work but would be ready for breakfast early. So early we rose, and H made lemon poppyseed scones and I peeled oranges for orange-strawberry salad, and we set the table nicely and put out cashew granola and Greek yogurt and Vermont maple syrup and Vermont cider and our best Vermont cream. And we waited.
Nine o’clock rolled around before we saw a flash of pale Brit skin. There’s something about that treehouse that lulls a spirit into languor. Even a blithe spirit like Richard. Clare, I discovered, lives not far from where she was raised in Oxford and has a ten-year-old daughter who loves to read. She has devoured everything Harry Potter and Twilight. “You might read the Twilight series with her,” I advised. “I’ve read them all,” Clare said. Good mama. I gave her my first book, The Black Bonnet, a story set in Burlington, Vermont, in 1858 about fugitive slaves escaping on the underground railroad. I hope Clare’s daughter will read it and send me her thoughts.
The morning was still hot, but Clare and Richard went back out to the treehouse to read a bit before heading for Burlington, where Richard had reserved an air-conditioned room at the Hilton. Handsome and techno savvy and smart—lucky Clare.