The Visitor

23 Aug

I had the general gist of the story correct, but I got the details wrong.

Helene lives in California, but started her walk from the “family homestead” in Maine, and after she visits the White House, she plans on continuing her walk clear to Florida for the GOP convention, which should be interesting, in view of recent comments by Todd Akin.  Her walk is to support the Equal Rights Amendment, which – after lo! these many years – has still not been ratified. Although we have made tremendous strides without it, these rights can by infringed upon at will because they are not law. (Voter ID, in spite of no evidence of fraud, Baltimore City not accepting nursing an infant as a legitimate excuse for avoiding jury duty, and making NO effort to provide privacy for pumping, etc.) Most of the states which have not ratified the Amendment are in the South, with the exception of Utah. The hurricane may be the least of the convention’s worries!

So – The Squire picked up Helene at our church around 4:30 to bring her here and, bless her, when she got out of the car, she held out her hand and curtsied to me! First time anybody’s ever done that, and I’ve been Lady Anne for years! I had dinner just about ready to go, so while she took a shower and changed out of her “Road Grunge”, we got the table set, and drinks poured.  Lots of interesting conversation about her family and why she is doing this, etc.

We live in a house that was, to quote The Squire, not built, but accumulated.  All of the little steps up and down in weird places and other quirks seemed to fascinate her – light switches in odd spots, the fact that my husband set up one sink in the bathroom with the spigots “backwards”, because I am left-handed. But the one thing that really got her attention was a poster my folks had brought back from England. The V&A had an exhibit in 1982 on bathrooms at the turn of the century, called “Royal Flush: Seats of Majesty”. (We had one visitor question whether such an exhibit had actually taken place. He thought it was a spoof.) The poster is very, very funny. I’d have loved to have seen the exhibit.

Helene went to bed immediately after dinner, as she likes to be on the road well before daylight, while it is still cool and traffic is not so bad, so she announced that she would probably get up around 3AM and be on her way by 4. Blazer always sleeps in the hallway, but we decided to have him on our room last night, just in case he and Helene startled each other, with disastrous results.

I had to lug him bodily into the bedroom – all seventy-odd pounds of him – and The Squire said that when he got up at 3:30, the dog bolted into the hallway and flopped down. “I belong out here, you dumb human.”

As so Helene hit the road a little after 4AM, fortified with coffee, scones, and a bit of conversation with The Squire. If you wish, visit her website: for more information about her trip and her intentions.


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