Dave met me at the gate when I arrived into Norfolk “International” Airport. We grabbed my bags and he whisked me off to a dinner party at the McClure’s. He had made-from-scratch two beautiful lasagnas that were to be the centerpiece of our meal.
We arrived at Glen and Marshall’s home just in time to view the sunset off their back desk and take a quick peek into their lovely garden. Even mid-December, the flowers are abloom in their back yard. For Marshall this seemed like nothing special; this type of flower always blooms this time of year, she said. Hampton Roads (our region, comprised of seven different cities in close proximity) is awash in pink blooms right now.
But the sight of fresh winter blooms left me in awe….
View from the McClure deck.
The McClures’ secret garden.
This is what I imagine it would look like if we were opening a Christmas gift — which is fitting because this evening was truly a gift.
I notice that the flowers looked a lot fresher than I did (sporting my glamorous just-off-the plane aura)!
Chatting with Glen McClure.
Dave perused the newest book published by Parke Press, Marshall’s company, which specializes in local history.
Then out of the blue, Jamie and Mark Lewis arrived with party favors and gifts.
As the sun dipped below the tree line, we headed in to the McClures’ cozy living room. We sat around, petting the animals and chatting for a while.
Then, low and behold, Jamie and Mark Lewis showed up at the front door — with party balloons and Christmas gifts in tow. Mark is a conservator who works at the Chrysler Museum of Art. We initially met at an art gallery, where he told me he is job is to “clean dirty pictures with Q-tips and spit.”
What a catchy line pick up line!?!
It’s one that worked. Mark, his wife Jamie, and I have been fast friends from that moment forward.
Jamie and Mark Lewis with Shannon Chance.
Shannon and Dave Chance.
Festivities among the McClures, Lewises, and Chances.
I’ve so many fond memories of dinners around the McClures’ dinner table(s).
As I mentioned, Dave had assembled two delicious lasagnas — one red and one white. He made them completely from scratch, noodles and all! The McClures rounded out the selection with a crisp salad and ice cream.
Everyone chipped in bottles of wine they’d socked aways for special occasions. Dave brought one from Dolceaqua (a Ligurian town we visited this past summer). Marshall contributed some of the finest from her brother’s Virginia winery. And Jamie, knowing Marshall’s preference for pale wines, shared a delightful bottle of white.
Marshall serving up Dave’s fabulous lasagnas.
Glen coming in for seconds.
Teaching Jamie to use Skype.
I have to say: this was the perfect way to spend my first evening back in the States. Seeing people I love gave my heart such a lift!