After eighteen years, this weekend just passed was our last at Cross Tree. John, the owner, is selling the house this year. Sad as it has been to go back to this well-loved place knowing that it is for the last time, it was infinitely preferable to being presented with the fact with no chance to say goodbye. Cross Tree has become very dear to me, one of those few houses which work their way into your soul, and since I found out that it is being sold I have spoken about my feelings regarding its loss (I mean, its loss to me) with my therapist. He suggested, last week, that during the weekend we should enact a little ritual to say farewell and thank you to it, and to wish future inhabitants happiness.
I was dubious, but after discussing it for a while I agreed that it might be a nice idea and concocted a ritual to be enacted after dinner on Saturday involving each individual sharing a small memory, a few words, an image or some such about Cross Tree, concluding with a toast to the house. I suggested it to my fellow weekenders in an email, a suggestion which was met with a deafening silence. On Friday night I mentioned it again, and I can’t say I was overwhelmed with enthusiasm, although my brother, bless him, was insistent that we should go through with it as he and his wife had “prepared something”.