Starting off well after elevensies, we arrived just in time for a late supper. The innkeeper's eyes lit up when our little band of five strolled in. I continued to silently hope the food would at least be tolerable. He all but stumbled over himself trying to accommodate us. The overall quietness of the place did not bode well for our eating experience and perhaps our sleeping one as well. Merry, not shy about much of anything, commented on the lack of anyone else present. The innkeeper was quick to assure us that had we arrived a day earlier, we would have found ourselves quite unable to squeeze in for the crush. It seems there's a planting festival celebrating the end of the sowing season, which goes on for several days. I tried but could not hide the look of surprise. The innkeeper did not see it because Fatty on the other hand snorted and frankly stated he'd never heard of such a thing. The innkeeper only briefly glanced at Fatty and continued to explain that on this night, all would gather for the final grand celebration at one of the local farms for feasting and dancing all night. The innkeeper suggested we might stop by for a visit, to which my companions were ready to oblige, but I was not so inclined. I was feeling a little weary and wished to only spend time with my dear friends, which earned more than a bit of ribbing about getting on in years.
Pippin, without the slightest hesitation, asked, if everyone was celebrating at the local farm, why was our esteemed innkeeper still here and not there? Grateful as I was the attention turned elsewhere, I felt for the flustering innkeeper, now explaining that he and the farmer had a bit of a falling out, so to speak. Pippin unabashedly pressed for more. The poor hobbit reluctantly admitted a dispute had emerged about mushrooms being sent and the charge for them. It seems it became altogether unpleasant. Blessedly Sam quickly smoothed things over without even realizing simply by being himself, of course, by asking to know more about the origin of the holiday thinking that Hobbiton should have one as well. The two began to fall into deep conversation when Merry, without reservation interrupted and requested rooms and a bite of supper. Frequently, we get but one room or two, but being the only ones there, the innkeeper was inclined to be more generous. Each had a room of his own, though Sam insisted on being in a room that connected with mine, for how else would he look after me.
Once refreshed, we made our way to the common-room. Supper was served by the innkeeper himself, since he'd sent everyone else to the festival. Much to my relief, the meal placed before us was more than adequate. Perhaps the real blessing was its simplicity, bread and butter and cheese and apples. Not much can go wrong with such fare. We progressed through supper slowly, talking of the day and of the goings on in the Shire. The innkeeper was more than happy to join our little party and fill us in on all the happenings in and about Pincup. Merry, of course, knew many of the folk of whom was spoken and even asked about a few that the innkeeper failed to mention. Merry is unable to go anywhere without knowing at least half, if not more, of the villagers wherever we stay. I think of myself as well traveled, but Merry knows what seems to be pretty near most of the inhabitants of the Shire. Then I remind myself, he, as well as Pippin, do come from prominent families, I really should not be surprised.
As the evening wore on, Pippin started one of the drinking songs, to which we were all required to contribute a verse, preferably something new. Fortunately, knowing Pip, as I do, I always have a new verse worked out before we arrive together anywhere that might require such a song. Usually composed while tramping between tea time and dinner. I wonder about that but am at a loss to explain, except it seems to be a habit. There's always so much going on in my head. We laughed and joked and sang well into the evening. When finally we agreed the evening was well and truly over we each headed to bed. Dear Sam, once firmly assured I needed nothing more, slipped off to bed himself. Drifting off to sleep I savored the memories of the evening allowing them to wash over me and couldn't help but smile.