The joys of The Sabine Farm are manifold.
It is my great pleasure to receive guests. For a few all too short days I have been blessed with a visit from a dear friend who I got to know from when he taught at the Biblicum in Rome (he lived in my residence for a year). He reluctantly returned to his billet at Fordham in that big city, but we maintain close contact.
We have been enjoying splendid Sabine weather and silence punctuated by crickets and frogs. We are having now perfect cool still evenings with very few insect invaders. Did you know that the collective noun for mosquitos is "a scourge"? In these parts, if you don’t know that word you know the concept all too well. But nothing of that has materialized, thus leaving us to the deck and our long conversations and meals.
Anyway, the mornings have been filled with dew, glittering sunlight, lots of Latin in the chapel and hard starched linens and brocade followed by garden watering and big American breakfasts. Reading and writing has the major share of the day’s attention until one seeks the gym and then, after harvesting some items from the aforementioned garden, preparation for the evening repast begins in earnest.
After 1st Vespers, tonight found us dining on a favorite preparation, which recipe I obtained in Venice (the one in Italy): Pork roast with apricots and rosemary in white wine (tonight a Vernaccia). Sabine guests of the past who are reading this will know the stuff, I think, though I haven’t made it for a long time. I served it in the form of medallions set about with the fruit in its sauce, fresh sprigs of rosemary for their personality and fragrance, and with roasted potatoes. I uncorked a 2000 old vine Zin, which was soft enough to leave the pork its character and complex enough to handle the rosemary. Some RM VSOP followed with the help of an Upman stored in the humidor also since 2000 (thanks Mom!); nearly two inches of perfectly symetrical ash at one point!.
For the evening, we discussed and redacted my upcoming sermon I will be preaching in the cathedral at Camden (NJ) for the Feast of the Assumption (during a solemn "Tridentine" Mass with Gregorian chant and polyphonic music). My guest was of great help in this regard. He gave me insights into the Magnificat which will stay with me the rest of my life (I worked them into the sermon with his excellent help). I think this homily will respond well to The Cafeteria’s plea for help. (Don’t worry Gerald! Help is on the way! Believe it or not I was forced to live with David Haas, who was "composer" in residence at the seminary I did hard time in in the USA back in the day. I always checked my shoes when leaving the chapel after "liturgy".)
In any event, the rest of our bucolic Sabine evening was spent listening to classic recordings of operatic tenors performing true bravura set pieces while watching a spider busy on a different sort of web. It was fine.
Yes… the Sabine Farm.