This post was supposed to be written a couple of weeks ago. Right after our bi-annual summer block party. But then I went away for awhile. I finally managed to schedule five full days away from work life, so I spent the first half of my 10-day vacation (thank you, long weekend, for the extra 24 hours) back home, with my family, cranking out bathroom renovations at my mother’s house, eating birthday cake with my nephew, sitting shotgun while my 17-year-old brother learns to drive.
It was good to be there. Years ago, I went home often. It wasn’t a long trip then. I usually crashed at my mom’s and spent a few days whirling around town, cramming in as many visits with family and friends as I could. I could arrive Friday evening and leave Sunday night, with enough time to get back to my place and get eight hours of sleep before starting the work week. It was easy.
These days, trips home are rare, mostly because the drive is longer and there’s never enough time to see everyone I want to see, to do everything I want to do. We end up bouncing around, making small talk, never spending any real time anywhere. Lately, we’ve begun to run out of places to stay when we go back and bringing the dog along adds to the complications.
But this time, we made it work, at least for six days. I soaked in the sunshine and the hilltop breezes and the open spaces of corn stalks and dirt roads and farm land. Sometimes, I forget what it’s like to live with so much room, so much land, so many of the fresh-air-out-in-the-country scents and unchanging scenes of my childhood.
But there are advantages to living in a city. One of the things I like best about my neighborhood is the chance to meet and get to know the neighbors. There are a few events every year that bring the street together and, in the summer, it means closing off the block, hauling lounge chairs to the end of one of the flower islands and hanging out. Street parties are rare these days, but our little neighborhood does its best to pull everyone together, for at least one summer night.
Which brings me to the blueberry walnut summer salad recipe. I wanted something fresh and seasonal for our little soiree and I found it in this recipe, thrilled with the way the in-season blueberries tasted in conjunction with feta and walnuts and basil vinaigrette. It’s a quick recipe, best served immediately to prevent wilting, soggy lettuce. I guess it was a hit. The bowl I brought back to the house was nearly empty.
Blueberry Walnut Summer Salad
(adapted from Southern Living)
Next post: chocolate chip zucchini muffins