Chloe is a big dog...she weighs about 50 pounds and is VERY strong Trust me. When we walk, if she wants to go somewhere, she's going to go. And she's wild. Crazy. Jumps on people. Barks and growls. She can sound very ferocious. Max, our next to the youngest grandchild, is a little peanut. At a year and a half, he is fearless. The two of them are becoming great buddies.
This may be part of the reason....
Friday morning, Max and I are sitting at the kitchen table in the cabin. Max has a handful of dry cereal on his tray that he is supposed to be eating. He jabbers away at me, telling me stories in Maxspeak, that I pretend to understand. I'm not really paying attention to what else is going on.
Then I notice that Max's little hand keeps reaching down under the table. A big grin spreads across his face and he jabbers at me. Pretty soon, the hand goes under the table again. More jabber.
"Max, no food for Chloe!"
He looks at me. Must be wondering just how serious I am. And slowly, picks up a piece of cereal, and hands it to Chloe under the table. Then a huge grin takes over his face. I am lost. I can't help but laugh at both of them.
And no wonder Chloe doesn't eat until the middle of the night when the grandkids come to visit!
Later in the day, the sweetest fifteen minutes of the summer happened.
Chloe found a small spot on the couch to curl up on. I'm sure she thought she was going to sneak in a nap. Max was running around the cabin getting into all those things that toddlers do. He noticed Chloe on the couch and went up and patted her paw and laid his head on her. He did this several times, each time turning to me and telling me about it in Maxspeak. Soon, he was trying to climb up on the couch, but there was no room. Pillows and bedding were piled everywhere.
I moved the pillows.
Max pulled himself up on the couch, then leaned over and gave Chloe a big hug and kiss. Then he just laid his little head down on her and sighed. Or maybe the sigh came from Chloe. They were both very content and just stayed there together for awhile. It was seriously the sweetest thing I had ever seen. This great big dog and this little boy, cuddled together. This heartshot will stay with me for a long time. It's one of those moments I wish I could put in a jar and take out when I needed a smile.
But young dogs and toddlers don't stay quiet for long. There was a lick and kiss and then they were both down and on their way.
Last Thursday, on our way back to the lake, my husband and I stopped and watched the t-ball game two of our grandchildren were in. I started thinking about all the baseball games I have watched in my life. Now you see, I wasn't really a sports fan growing up. I had a PE based knowledge of most sports. But then, my husband and I had two boys. And they seemed to have the sports gene. I swear the oldest came out throwing a ball and yelling, "Go Cubs" (And "Just wait til next year!). So, I learned about baseball and basketball and football from the boys' perspective. I learned about squeeze plays, clipping and moving screens. I learned to keep my mouth shut when they didn't get a hit, grab a catch or make a basket. I yelled encouragement--but not too much (wouldn't want to embarrass them). In the summer, I became an expert at packing coolers with somewhat healthy things to get us through the day. When both boys were playing baseball, it was not uncommon to have multiple games in a day. In fact one year, there was a week when I had 11 games.
Our older son and his family came to the trailer for the weekend. And that too, made me think back to summers with the boys.They have three kids, so there was always something going on. It seemed we just cleaned up from one meal or activity and it was time to start the next one. Pretty much like I remembered. My summer calendar used to look like a corporate executive's. We moved from one activity to another like a well-oiled machine (mostly). The boys picked what activities they wanted to join and we made the schedule work. We went from Art in the park to swimming lessons to baseball practice (Of course, it helped that in our small town, they could ride their bikes to practices). We'd squeeze in lunch (probably a few too many cans of spaghettios or raviolios). There were always pick up games of some kind, afternoons of fun swimming, and weekends of camping.
Nowadays, my summers are much more relaxed. I'm pretty selfish with my time and do what I want, when I want (mostly). Friends with children envy the fact that I can sleep past 6:30. I can sit and stare at the lake. I can read all day if I want....or watch movies....or write......or.... well, you get the idea. My house stays pretty clean (we're not there much), the lake trailer doesn't take much to clean. I love my summers and life is pretty good, but every once in awhile, I miss those summers of the past
Come on. You know you wanna. Come along with Chloe and I as we take our morning walk down the gravel lake road.
Yea! Come on. There's lots to explore. And maybe today will be the day Mom will let me loose to run! Let's just start down the road!
Chloe and I love to walk in the mornings at the lake, before it becomes too hot and the activities for the day start. We walk along these little gravel roads that run along the lake. Usually gentle breezes come off the lake to keep us cool. Unless, like Monday, they were hurricane force. Then it's not fun to walk!
Here it is! Here it is! The perfect place to let me run. Don't you think this looks like a great place. Lots of space and trees. Pretty please with sugar on top? Please let me off my leash......
Sorry, Chloe. The highway is too close. I'm afraid you would run right to the road. But, it is tempting because I can just see you smiling as you race around here. Come on. Let's keep going.
The road we walk isn't continuous. It's really a series of little lanes to each group of cabins. Every so often we come across these little barriers so that cars can't drive through. Chloe and I love that there is no traffic as we walk.
This is one of my favorite things on our walk this year. I always have to stop and marvel at it. Sits outside of a log cabin.
Yea...whatever. Keep walking!
Look, look, look....a critter of some kind. Let me at 'em.
Dang. It's not real.
Get's her every time.....
Chloe and I have been watching the development of this home for a couple of years now. Today they are pouring cement for a driveway.
This is my favorite place of all on our walk. It is owned by a very nice older couple who don't mind me stopping and enjoying their view. It is a beautifully kept little cottage with a double lot for the ground, filled with these wonderful shade trees. A welcome stop on a hot day.
Yeah, yeah, yeah. Can we please keep going?
OK, Chloe. We'll quit talking til we get to the end of the road. But I'm taking some pictures on the way back.
Come on. It's the same places going home....
Nope. I look at different things on the way back. If you pick your nose off the ground once in awhile, maybe you'd notice.... Ahh. Here we are at the end of the road. We'll turn around now.
This is a beautiful little rock garden on our way back. Pretty little plantings. But what I really like are the blue wine bottles perched on sticks throughout. I don't know if they make a sound with the wind, or if the people just found a way to get rid of wine bottles, but I really like this little area.
I always stop and check out this little flower garden at my favorite cottage. It's just such a peaceful little place. If it were me, I'd have a comfy chair set up somewhere close so I could read here.
If it were me, I'd be diggin'!
There it is! The cat! And it's not hiding under the pick up today. Maybe it'll play with me today. Let's go see, huh?
After almost two miles, this is always a welcome sight, the entrance to the resort where our trailer is at. By this time, even Chloe has slowed down.
Ahhh, here we are. Home sweet home. I'm ready for a glass of lemonade and a good book. Hope you enjoyed your walk with us today.
Hey, come on back tomorrow. I'm sure she'll let me run then. Maybe we can play fetch in the field. I'm gonna make friends with that cat too!
There was always something cooking or baking in Grandma's kitchen, especially on Sundays. Sunday dinners put most restaurant buffets to shame. Grandma and Grandpa started cooking early in the morning, and it seemed like the stove or oven was going all day. A beef roast and a pork roast cooked together in a roaster (because it made the best gravy to cook them together), pork cutlets or chicken fried in a nearby pan. Potatoes boiled. Macaroni and cheese baked in the oven (called witch's brew when it was warmed up for supper). Pies cooled on the counter--lemon merengue, banana cream, French Silk chocolate, and always an apple. Recipes never skimped on ingredients--real whipped cream, pie crusts from lard, butter for potatoes. You didn't try to diet on Sunday.
The grown-ups gathered at the kitchen table for dinner. The seven grandkids sat in the "breezeway". Conversation flowed from room to room, as food passed around the table. If you were hungry when you left the table, it was your own fault.
After the dinner was cleared and dishes were done, we moved on to the activities of the day. Often we grandkids were herded up and taken to the movies (I have a special fondness for John Wayne/Clint Eastwood/cowboy movies to this day). If it was nice outside, we might be able to talk Grandpa into a hike through the woods.
But my favorite Sundays were the days we played cards.
When I finally got to start playing cards with the grownups I felt like I had arrived. Grandma taught us all to play cards at that kitchen table. And you always played for money. Your money. If you didn't have money to play, you could "earn" it, but Grandma never gave it to you. We first learned 500 Rummy. Then Pitch, 500. And finally Poker--all those goofy "ladies" games with lots of jokers. Grandma never let us win. If you beat her a card game, you really beat her, and she loved it. If you made mistakes playing, you heard about it, and you better not make that mistake again. I loved playing cards with her.
Sundays ended as they began, with food. Dinners remains were pulled from the fridge and warmed up. We gathered around the kitchen table and laughed and joked about the day.
Grandma and Grandpa's house was my safe haven as a kid. I always knew I was loved there. When life got tough at home, I could ride my bike to see them. We'd sit at the kitchen table, have a cookie and a glass of milk and I could spill my troubles. After an hour or so, I'd feel better and ride back home, ready to face the world again.
"Time is what we want most, but what we use worst." William Penn
Ahh, there's the trouble. I know I waste summer days (but, really, isn't that what summer days are for?). I putz around the house, often not accomplishing the task I started out working on. I get lost on the internet. Play too many games on Facebook. Watch reruns of too many old episodes of NCIS (I'm a sucker for marathons on USA).
SO, how to "find" time to write this summer? Hmmm....
I really don't have any excuses. I just need to schedule time and make sure I stick to it. Mornings are always my best time to work, so I plan to write every morning starting at 8:00. I'm up. I've had coffee. Chloe is in the yard.
I will write. For an hour.
What will I write???? Who will read it???????
I will write what I feel like writing--after all, it's the process, the experience of writing that drew me to this summer camp. I can do this. And, there is that novel I started in November that just might find it's way to my head again.
And I don't care who reads what I write. Not really. I have always written for me. To make myself happy. So I will write for me again, but I will share. My slicing friends are out there and they are the most supportive people I know. It's great we have each other during this camp.