Poet Hilaire Belloc wrote, in his "Dedicatory Ode":
From quiet homes and first beginning,
Out to the undiscovered ends,
There's nothing worth the wear of winning,
But laughter and the love of friends.
This weekend renewed that sentiment for me, as more than a dozen friends from the blogosphere, our annual gathering at Blogorado, and other points of contact gathered to celebrate my newly-conferred US citizenship with me. They traveled from nearby and from hundreds of miles away, by road and by air, drawn only by the common desire to be together with our "tribe" once more and have a good time. I was very grateful to them for the effort they all made to be there. It was a special gift.
Miss D. and I had thought about a low-key, minor sort of celebration, but Old NFO, aepilotJim and others soon scotched that plan. NFO hosted the gathering, everyone laid on a spread, and things got thoroughly organized in a military manner (well, retired military, at any rate!). You can see the food at NFO's blog. That wasn't all of it, either . . . there were more fruit and veggie plates in the kitchen, Miss D. and I brought along a couple of sausage and cheese plates we prepared from goodies bought at Fischer's earlier last week (a place of foodie pilgrimage for us now and again), and large quantities of sodas and other beverages were chilled in ice. Anyone who went hungry had only themselves to blame!
I've been truly touched by the outpouring of affection and good wishes I've received from so many of you since becoming a citizen. I really hadn't expected it, but so far more than 400 of you have commented about it on this and other blogs, Facebook, via e-mail, and other media. I guess I have more friends and fans than I'd ever expected - not that I'm complaining, mind you! Thank you all for your good wishes. I value them, and you.
Miss D. and I will now have to check our and our friends' inventory of cold storage travel boxes. Having introduced so many people this week to the delights of Fischer's German deli (umpteen sorts of sausages; sauerkraut with bacon, adding a new and very tasty twist to the traditional dish; warm potato salad; and onion and other cheeses), we've now committed to bringing enough of them all to Blogorado later this year to make supper for thirty or forty people. I'd better make sure Fischer's can arrange to have everything we'll need in stock a few days before the event. This promises to be a lot of fun. (I wonder how many of our friends would like to try pumpernickel and other German breads, too? Maybe pickled onions as well - a long-time favorite of Lawdog and myself! Hmmm . . . starts plotting.)