My nephew, Henry, was baptized at noon on All Saints' Day in the north parlor of his great-grandmother's house outside of Easton, Maryland. About 40 people attended the little service, led by the local Episcopal priest. Afterwards there was a luncheon buffet on the dining room table: country ham, sweet potato biscuits, crab casserole, corn souffle, green salad, followed by brownies, lemon bars, and an apple/pear crisp. Perfect comfort food for a drizzly Sunday afternoon.
Henry represents the fourteenth generation to be baptized at Wye House, and the lucky baby had three of his four great-grandparents in attendance, plus all four grandparents, all of his aunts and uncles, and many extended cousins. Read that sentence again; that's a lot of family.
The whole event recalled an earlier era, when rituals took place simply, at home, with "holy water" dipped from the Wye River earlier in the morning, and scripture read from the ancient bible sitting by the door.
Paternal side: Henry with his father, grandfather, and great-grandfather.
Like a scene out of Town & Country, tweed was the fabric of choice and a pitcher of Bloody Mary mix sat on the marble-topped bar in the hallway. The guest book dated back to 1949 but most of the decor was centuries older. It is rare that a home full of such history stays in the family for as many generations as this one has.
He was laughing, shrieking, and eating up all the love. As Carter said of his son, "He's a real party animal."
I giggle just looking at these pictures. What a fun little guy.
But he's still a baby--and shortly after this quick portrait session he was out for the count. See?
It may be a big old house, with an imposing history, but it doesn't take itself too seriously:
The afternoon wore on and a two-and-a-half-year old guest slouched lazily between a pair of giant, antique mirrors, with the heels of his shoes nestled into the fabric of the silky yellow sofa beneath him. His mother sternly insisted, "Please take your feet off the furniture. NOW."
"Don't worry," shouted Henry's great-uncle, Richard, in passing, as he walked off towards the dining room. "It's a reproduction."