The second time my family crossed the U.S. it was in an old-model Mercedes, a car held together by rust and kitchen string, altogether at odds with the grandness of the name. We flew from Belgium; it followed us by ship, swung over the sides onto the dock in a cargo net. At least, that's the picture I hold: I could be conflating it with a Spanish ferry on the Costa Brava. The family was together then, the five of us, and we stopped into a coffee shop, just off the plane at JFK. I ordered a hot chocolate. "Honey," said the waitress (they still had waitresses and stewardesses in those years, until they were all exchanged at equal value for servers and flight attendants)..."Honey," she said in a mellifluous New York accent, "we don't have hot chocolate in August."
Constructed from 8-foot lengths of 4x4 rough western red cedar (magical stuff) and cut to make a typical 4' by 8' frame, the raised bed is only fourteen or so inches high. Dowel and carriage bolts kept everything together. Somehow that simple-sounding process involved the purchase of multiple auger bits, a portable compact table saw, cordless sander, power planer, and more than twenty trips to the Home Depot on Magnolia.