Let Me Tell You About My Weekend — Post College

Thomas D
7 min readAug 21, 2021


My boss let me out at 3pm. Traffic was light and I cruised back to 2405 Tunlaw. After a quick stop at the dry cleaner, I dropped off my blazer, and collared shirts in the closet and made a call to Godwin.

He answers. Yo me-ann. What you up to?

Gotta wait til seven before I bounce for Aunt E’s birthday weekend.

I hear ya son. Why don’t you roll by the crib before you leave and kick it?

I’m out of my suit, out the door, and into the weekend in ten seconds flat. It’s hot and I break a small sweat on the walk over. It feels good. I spread my arms out and let the sun come down on me. Friday-when you’re done with work and the weekend is fresh and new. I’m still thinking about the grind, but that will soon change.

Godwin’s neighbor Kate is sitting on her porch with a friend. It’s not five yet so I ask.

What are you girls doing? No work today?

Kate replies. No. Christen came in town so I took a personal. We took a huge bike ride by all the monuments. So tired.

Good. So, I’m not the only one slacking. Summer has officially set in, and the heat and relaxed attitude of the city is affecting everyone. People are coming out of the woodworks. Girls wear summer dresses to the bar. The waterfront is busy on a Sunday afternoon. It’s the best time of the year.

Godwin, Katie, Christen, and I shoot the shit for about an hour. I tell them about Aunt Eleanor. Godwin talks about how everyone in DC has money. It’s one of his favorite topics of discussion.

I’m on the road by 7:05. Traffic on 66 is thick but moving. In twenty minutes I hit 29 South, the main drag of the trip, and my phone rings. It’s my youngest cousin Catherine, who just finished her freshman year at JMU.

Hey where are you?

I’m about 45 minutes away. What are you guys doing?

We’re just sitting around talking about you.

Party on the farm?

You know it.

I’ll be there soon.

The roads closest to Windy Ridge are legit. Narrow and without yellow lines separating traffic, the roads are surrounded by thick patches of Virginia pine. Trucks melt the asphalt at upwards of 70 miles per hour, any given time of day. Driving them at night is the best. My adrenaline has me pushing the accelerator to the floor with the windows down. I can’t hear the radio, only the rushing sound of country land sprinting past.

I pull up the short gravel drive and park in the thick grass next to the house. You know it’s cloudy because the stars and moon are gone, and the only light comes from the white plaster farmhouse, everywhere else is pitch black. A couple of horn honks later and my parents emerge from the front door, down the porch, and embrace me with a hug.

Oh, good to see you youngest boy. Give me a kiss.

My mother is very affectionate, and she loves me more than anyone I know. From her, I’ve learned the power of unconditional love. It’s been a long road, and I owe her more than just a kiss. Raising two boys was tough on her, but with every success my brother and I find, I can see it’s worth it.

I drop off my bags in the living room. There is a scent that comes with Windy Ridge. Like an antiques show, decades of living fill your nose and eyes and at first it is overbearing. Then the mountain takes over and your body settles in. I won’t smell normal until my first shower back in civilization.

We all sit on the back deck and drink beer. My parents, two cousins, and aunt. It’s not the full group, but there are stories to share.

Joe got into Campbell law but deferred for a year. He’s spent the last 8 months living in Quapos, Costa Rica working at a hotel and sitting by the beach.

Joe tells a story. He and his friend Ross walked down to a far out point near the ocean. It’s easy to catch big fish there; after spending an afternoon getting a couple bites, the boys head back to their cottage to cook dinner.

Quapos is poor and beggars come with the territory. The area is full of them and they can get aggressive with tourists. Joe has learned how to avoid them, but it doesn’t mean they aren’t still around. Ross spots one homeless man holding up a nearly 30 pound fish, celebrating the catch loudly with a friend.

As sudden as the rain, another drifter darts out from behind a rock and stabs the lucky fisherman in the side with a rusty knife. Blood begins pouring out and the man screams in pain. The screaming man’s friend reacts and picks up a loose board.

He chases down the attacker, catches up to him, and lays one good shot on the back of his head. The attacker goes down, and the screaming man’s friend follows him, letting his plank do the work as he pelts the man repeatedly.

This all takes place across the street from the police office. Slowly officers make their way out the front door. They watch, but no one makes a move.

Leave them to each other one says as the stabbing victim regains his composure and takes his turn beating the mugger.

Let’s get out of here, we don’t need to get involved. Joe says to Ross as they both walk away.

The story is a good night cap to an evening at the farm.

It’s easy to wake up early in the summer at Windy Ridge. One, the upstairs of the old house starts to boil when the sun rises and you sweat too much to sleep well. Also, the cows get hot in the pasture, and the presence of people brings them to the fencing closest to the deck. They moo and moo and wait anxiously for more hay.

Our crew takes two cars to the Boars Head in Charlottesville, some 20 minutes away. When we arrive other family members are already waiting outside.

David is a fireman in Charlottesville. It’s something he’s done for over twenty years. He has three daughters and a wife He has raised his family the old way. His father was the treasurer for Charlottesville for god knows how long and when David walks into the Elks Club for Saturday night steak dinners he shakes the hand of everyone he sees.

We sit at a long table with white linens, there are 19 of us, and I am next to Aunt Eleanor. In order to get Aunt E to understand anything you say, you have to yell it, right next to her ear. Don’t let this fool you, though. She’s sharp as a tack. She still reads the newspaper everyday in order to keep up in current events. She has an interest in politics. When she saw my brother the first thing she said was how sorry she felt for Brian Moran, the defeated candidate in Virginia’s Governor campaign. I wanted you to know that I got two of my friends to vote for her, she added.

Everyone chooses the buffet except Aunt E. They have bacon wrapped shrimp and gourmet meatloaf, but she just wants chicken, and because it’s her 95th birthday that’s what she’s getting. No one seems to mind. We sit and chat idly. My father gives a toast and everyone claps. Aunt Eleanor is very happy.

The food coma sets in when the group returns to the farm. My brother takes a nap in the living room, but I’ve got the itch. Schuyler, VA was once a town of nearly 6,000, and before the depression they had about 14 active soap stone quarries. Now, the rock quarries are all filled with water and one in particular is clean enough to swim in. I’m more interested in jumping off the 35 and 40 foot cliffs.

I round up some volunteers. My two cousins, my groggy brother, and my dad and aunt are all in. We dart about two miles down route 6 to Schuyler Road, and park across the street from the clean water quarry.

Locals are all over the place, drinking beer and smoking Marlboros.

Hey baby go get me a beer.

One of the locals calls to his girl, and I’m standing next to her. She walks up with a Natural Light, his back facing the edge of the overhang. He gives a sly smile as she holds out the beer and jumps, arching his back like a swan and doing a slow, perfect flip, landing feet first into the water. She pops open the can and takes a drink.

I step up to highest cliff and peer over the edge. When jumping you can’t think you just have to go, and I push off with my right foot. The water engulfs me and I jut my hands up, pushing myself as deep as possible. Its freezing cold, so you know it’s a deep well. I surface to the sight of my brother and older cousin Joe going off the lower cliff, while my dad and aunt take pictures.

On my second trip Catherine, the youngest cousin, says she wants to try it as well.

Don’t think just jump. One foot first, I tell her and repeat what I did the first time, only this time I spring up so I get more air time.

With no fear, she outdoes her brother Joe, leaps off and lands delicately in the water. I float on my back and look into a clear sky. This has been a good weekend.

Aunt Eleanor