Monday, October 15th, 2018
Noodlings From Rangeley, Maine
“Up to Camp “is how we say it in Maine.We went up to camp into the mountains with our five year old granddaughter for four daysTo our quirky little house on Pleasant StWe bought it for under 30,000 dollars, maybe less. Thirty years ago. Each of our five kids had a lousy summer fixing it up.
One painted kitchen cabinets
One gouged (I mean sanded) the floors.
One poly-urethaned bead board walls that slanted and so created perpetual drip marks
One had the supreme horror of insulating the space
One weeded and weeded (stalling, afraid of new assignment) a hopeless raspberry patch
Sullen was the look for that Summer Of Our Discontent. David would go to the hardware store and the kids and I would all play hooky immediately.Swarming outside for Frisbee and freedom.
Now the house is a living museum.My parents Lazy Boy chairs are there. My dad’s Liberty Bell graphic, framed from the Chicago World’s Fair hangs proudly, a water color my mom painted (first and last one} my childhood game of Cootie, ancient blankets from previous lives and marriages, clothes we can no longer fit into and, best of all, every one of our many college books. David and I were both English Lit majors so there are many duplicates of Penguin Classics—most priced under three dollars.Two original Lady Chatterly’s Lover copies. (Could they be worth something?)
—one of my favorite things is to see a stately dark green pine sprinkled with gold leaves froma birch. Festive, festooned. Not so much a Christmas tree decorated, but more like Cinderella dressed for the ball with jewels in her hair. One gust of wind and back to char woman.
—Our granddaughter in her mom’s and aunt’s old room, door shut, thrilled to have her own space. She immediately unpacked and set things up to meet her taste. I would hear her various voices as she played all the different parts of her stuffies (cat, goose, chipmunk and bear). Kids playing pretend is my all- time favorite sound.
—Nature didn’t cooperate. We went down to the lake on a warm/hot day. The beach had been closed so there had been no caretaking. Soooooo we were on the Rangeley Lake beach land mined with duck poop. Lots and lots of duck poop. We picked our way to the water, shrugged, and picked our way back to the car. We didn’t see a single deer, moose or wild turkey that usually think of our lawn and trees as a salad bar.
—We had goofy drama. The muffler fell of the car. My granddaughter looked like she had chicken pox so we spent an afternoon trying to get her seen. (Never travel without written parental permission to treat a grandkid of have a house without calamine lotion.) The kitten we brought along (yep, we did) disappeared in the house. Issa to the rescue. I was stunned by the fortitude and determination of this five -year- old kid. She searched and searched and searched. And found. The kitten was sound asleep in the very narrow broom closet with the door shut.The problem with mini-drama is that they take time away the “real” trip. You can guess what Issa will remember—lost kitten and duck poop.
—The Fall color was the most intense I’ve ever seen it. It was right on the edge of garish. Rollicking maybe. Rolling puffs of gold and orange and red making the mountains soft.The strict, sturdy, upright pines of blackish green were a relief. I get the same kick out of a shower of fall leaves as I do of the first fall of snowflakes. Just makes me immediately happy.
—Most good was the rhythm of the day. No electronic screens. Classical music at breakfast. Quiet. Calm. Slow. Easy. Meals at the same time each day. Washing dishes by hand. Constant coffee at hand. Sitting at the table together each doing our own thing—what I call pioneer table.
Grateful for this interval, this family history, this natural beauty, this coziness during a time of harshness in our world. This Rangeley time together.