Down East 2013 ©
When was the last time you hung around doing nothin’? I mean just lollygagging’ about, watching the day go by? The older you get, the tougher that is to pull off. There’s always something that needs to be done, even on weekends. Especially on weekends! Why, even vacations tend to be jam-packed.
I remember being a kid, whinin’ to my mother, “Mom, I’m bored! There’s nothin’ to do!” This was back in the days before kids were plugged in. Before children spent their summers going to science camp, hockey camp, gymnastics camp. Back then, summer was just an endless string of long, hot days spent outside with our friends, playing hide and seek and riding bikes from house to house (without helmets, of course).
We’d make tents by hanging blankets on the clothes line and staking them down with rocks. Then we’d put more blankets inside. The old blankets we used were pink, so sitting inside the tent had this kind of rosy glow. No matter how hot it was, me, my sister Irene, and our friends used lay about in our tent for hours reading Archie comic books, drinking orange Kool-Aid, and eating Oreo cookies.
Sometimes we’d play circus. This involved practicing tricks, like juggling and doing the hula-hoop. Reeny was pretty good with the yoyo, as I recall. We tried and tried to get our little dog Pepper to jump through a hula-hoop, but no dice, she wasn’t having any of it. We’d paint our faces, put ballet tutus on our heads and march around the neighborhood advertising our circus. We’d charge a dime to get in, and our parents would come and clap like it was the greatest show on earth.
Nobody had pools back then, but a couple times a week we’d go to the public beach down to Moose Megantic Lake. There was a little float off shore, and we’d swim out and spend hours diving off that float or sunning ourselves, while our mother sat in a lawn chair on the beach, talking with the other mothers and keeping an eye on us. See, there were no lifeguards. This was back in the dark ages, when you had to wait an hour after eating lunch before going back in the water. And boy, that hour seemed like the longest one of the day.
Sometimes, Reeny and me would be invited up to Dottie’s camp for a sleepover. That was really special. What a magical place that was, with the screened-in porch, a little rowboat tied to the dock, and the sounds of the loons at night. Dottie bought the camp from her parents a few years back, and she and Tommy have made a real effort to keep it rustic. It still looks remarkably like it did back when I was a kid, minus the outhouse.
And guess what! Charlie and me are renting it later this month. We’ll be up there for five days. My goal? Do absolutely nothin’! Charlie and me have our fishing licenses, and I have a couple of trashy novels. I’m going to do some cooking ahead of time, pasta salad and such, a batch of Charlie’s favorite cookies. I intend to read and fish and rock in the glider as long as I like, staring at the lake. I’m looking forward to sitting on the dock with Charlie in the early morning, drinking our coffee and watching the mist rise from the water, enjoying the quiet.
Summer in Maine, just the way it ought to be!
That’s it for now. Catch you on the flip side!
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