Bottling Happiness

“This, if I could just stop this for a minute and bottle this right here,” my daughter-in-law said Saturday night. We were at the table on the screen porch at the beach house eating Ryan’s boiled shrimp and Tom’s waygu steak. I had cut flowers from the yard to decorate the table, and we were all full of meat and peas and Brabant potatoes with the crispiest, most heavenly charred onions I’d ever tasted, and I couldn’t have agreed with her more.

Over the weekend, I bought new plants from the nursery that features Chomper the 50-year-old alligator and also the nursery I love where I haven’t been since COVID. Afterwards, I planted the plants in the ground and visited with a friend I hadn’t seen since November. In the dark under the house, we played flashlight tag (twice, once when the neighbor called to see if we were being robbed), and I went two rousing games of Carcassone and didn’t even come in last.

Chicken placemats for breakfast

Tom cooked Memphis ribs, and Ryan fixed custom slaw for Friday night supper. For Saturday lunch, my DIL put together sandwiches with Bellegarde Bakery’s fabulous bread. The men cooked blueberry waffles and crawfish eggs for Sunday morning breakfast. In between, I baked butterscotch squares, a true hit.

Chomper, yeah

We were happy.

We were together.

Except when the family went out on the boat, and we decide, all of us together, that the wind was too high for us old people. So Tom and I stayed home. I finished the last of the work needed on a manuscript then napped on the cot on the porch in the sun until it was time to regroup at the yacht club where we crashed a Kentucky Derby party and drank fake mint juleps while Medina Spirit won, against all odds, and I claimed if I’d been betting, I’d have bet on that horse, because Funky Cold Medina, of course.

Reunion after their boat ride

All weekend, the older boy dreamed his architect dreams, and the younger boy opened his eyes wide, pretending to blush. They both helped me in the games because they are kind boys, and Tom said to them as we left, “Remember, who loves you?”

And they both responded, “You do.”

The live oak where the oldest in my dreams is building us a treehouse where friends can come over and party in the tree

I haven’t even mentioned redeeming Tom’s birthday certificate from a pre-COVID purchase for the coolest shirt, so cute on him. Mike the neighbor stopping by. My walking on the beach where the seagulls screamed (getting my trophy for steps (twice!). The older boy cocooning in the hammock, and the younger boy coming downstairs to find me to talk. Or so many, many other things.

All of that–all of that–happened in one, glorious weekend.

If only we could bottle it and keep it forever. But we can. Here, in these words. And in our minds, and, mostly, in our hearts.

family, family beach trips, family time

Comments (12)

  • Beautiful words Ellen! I can’t wait to party in that treehouse! You and Tom have provided space for memories that those grands will never forget. They will tell their children and their children’s children and that weekend will live forever. Miss y’all!!

    • Ellen Morris Prewitt

      We were driving down Central, and I said to Tom, I haven’t even called Emma–I miss her. We hope to return maybe at the end of this week. I’d love to visit if you’re around. ps TY and you’ll be first in the treehouse. <3

  • What a beautiful thing to read on (our Orthodox) Bright Monday, after a glorious Holy Week and Pascha IN PERSON at St. John Orthodox Church here in Memphis. I was in tears several times as we shouted “Christ is Risen!” with joyous voices so thankful to finally be TOGETHER in our beautiful church. And last night I ALMOST thought,”I wish I could BOTTLE this,” but I didn’t quite have your words. So thank you for this! I LOVED reading about your glorious weekend!

    • Ellen Morris Prewitt

      I’m so glad you enjoyed it, Susan. It sounds like a wonderful service, one to heal the heart after a long time away. That’s what this weekend felt like–a time of easy, natural healing after so many months apart.

    • Ellen Morris Prewitt

      I’ve found reading back over sooooooo many things I’ve written, I don’t have a memory of times that meant the world to me when I experienced them. So, yes, writing offers its own special preservation of happiness. ❤️

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