I don’t know how to thank our friend Clayton for having us for a few days in Nova Scotia at his fabulous house near Yarmouth. He is an amazing artist, collector, and decorator (as a retired theatre design professor) as well as an avid gardener. His five-acre property is a mini-art museum, with wildflower gardens edged by large patches of grass, easing into untouched woods. Birds, bohemians, and bugs love the place. Sitting on his outdoor veranda, I was abruptly checked out by a hummingbird visiting the honeysuckle bush. (Up close they are startling creatures—miniature fairies with thin, needlelike noses, fast-flickering, moving so fast our eyes can’t see them unless they momentarily still themselves in the air.)
Inside, Clayton’s house is colorful and sprawling, with ample bedrooms and hallways in which to avoid all others if you so wish. Each nook and cranny holds a new surprise. From a bathtub filled with brightly painted wooden sea creatures to a display of colored glass bottles reflecting primary colors onto the nearby walls. From the Naugler folk art Christmas tree standing year-round in a corner to the bright yellow bedroom with complimentary patchwork quilt.
On one day, Clayton drove us to the Black Loyalist’s museum, to learn of the history of those slaves expelled from America (and sent to Nova Scotia) because they remained loyal to their Tory masters.
Clayton made us lobster one night. He chose them, killed them, and served them with melted butter. He gave us a lesson in how to pick the meat out of them, but first he made sure I said a prayer to honor the crustacean that died so I could eat.
He also made sure we got our fill of the local scallops and Rappie pie, and that we shopped the local green market. He showed us lighthouses and lobster boats. He took us to Frenchy’s thrift store to get some cheap, broken-in hiking shoes, and lent us his walking stick so we could hike the Keji Seashore.
During a dinner party with friends, we all lit the candles on his driftwood chandelier.
And he would not let us do dishes—not once.
I’m posting this because it’s my best way to thank Clayton for his conscientiousness as a host and his warm-hearted attention. Clayton, thank you.