A Perfect Summer Afternoon: Friendship, Beauty, Food, Books, and Other Fun

Tina and me. Still crazy after all these years. Peach frozen yogurt at Chiles Peach Orchard. So good.

“Summer afternoon—summer afternoon; to me those have always been the two most beautiful words in the English language.”
Henry James

I met Tina in the fall of 1966. We were college roommates in Northlawn residence hall at Eastern Mennonite College. Now we both live less than a mile from the place we met.

That means that we can go on adventures together after school is out of session for Tina, a librarian at Eastern Mennonite School. Tina has lived in this place most of her life, and she has a questing, curious spirit, so she shares her little lovely “finds” with me, a newcomer, returning to the place I left in 1972. So much has changed since then.

Tina suggested we spend the afternoon in Crozet, a very small town about 40 miles from Harrisonburg, where we live, and only 10 miles from Charlottesville, the closest cultural center. Here’s a series of pictures that illustrate how much fun two girl friends can have in one perfect summer afternoon.


  • blue skies, temps in high 70’s
  • start out hungry after light lunch and breakfast
  • one great coffee shop with beef curry turnovers, latte and iced coffee, and carrot cake. Two forks.
  • one lovely independent bookstore with owner ready to “hand sell” her books and giving out free review copies
  • one handmade pizza shop for supper with fresh from the oven pizza — veggie on one side, Maiu on the other
  • one peach orchard, nestled next to the Blue Ridge mountain range
  • perfect presents for the trip to children and grandchildren (not yet to be revealed)
  • laughter, shared memories/story telling, no rushing

Over the Moon for Over the Moon Independent Bookstore

The flowers, fruit, mountains, and sky took our breath away.

leaving with half a pizza to take home

I’m in the midst of another perfect afternoon and hope you are too. Tell us about it! Don’t forget to enter the New Beginnings Challenge.

82 Days Until Blush Launches

My New Beginning today was sharing coffee, fresh peaches, and mint tea with another friend, Anne, who came all the way from Asheville, North Carolina, for a few hours of conversation. We drank in every minute of each other’s stories in our shared “wild and precious” lives. And you? What’s your idea of a perfect summer afternoon?

Shirley Showalter


  1. Melanie on June 22, 2013 at 1:27 pm

    This DOES sound perfect. I’d probably modify to 1) Highs in the mid-80s. and 2) An afternoon nap. Since my sister is my best friend, and graduate school roommate, the other parts fit, too!

    • shirleyhs on June 22, 2013 at 1:31 pm

      I loved that you asked if Tina is my sister. In many ways, she and three other close friends from college are like sisters. I have three wonderful biological sisters also.

      Living in a state of grace. Hope you get to take a nap and see your sister soon.

      The temp here is 81 right now. Another perfect day.

  2. Shirley on June 22, 2013 at 2:32 pm

    I have been reading a set of interviews with the world’s oldest persons. I have noticed with all most all of them whether male or female, irregardless of country or ethnicity, that they are surrounded by loving relationships, community, kindness, and one can only conclude that this has been with them their whole lives. One does not suddenly become loved, surrounded by community and extended family at age 100. It has to have been there all along.

    So, to you and Tina…may you live to be 100 + and still be able to eat ice cream!

    • shirleyhs on June 22, 2013 at 4:59 pm

      So true, Shirley. You can learn a lot about aging well by reading about the truly old who are happy.

      What a blessing it is to have so many wonderful surroundings.

      If Tina and I make it to 100, you will be there a little ahead of us, I’m sure! Keep learning and growing and sharing!

  3. Sherrey Meyer on June 22, 2013 at 7:43 pm

    A perfect summer day! Summer holds lots of memories for me, and the perfect summer day is a long ride in the country serendipitously finding quaint shops and stores in tiny towns. An antique hound, I truly love this kind of day.

    • shirleyhs on June 22, 2013 at 8:13 pm

      Sounds like you would love Crozet, Sherrey. I wasn’t looking for antique shops, but I would be very surprised if there wasn’t a nice one there. “Serendipity” is a good name for a day like Thursday. Thanks for strolling by. Hope you have lots of perfect days this summer.

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