My summer travels
Every year since I moved to St Augustine I’ve returned to New England for six weeks to visit family and catch up with old friends. For the past three years, three of those weeks have been spent on Bailey Island in Maine, in a cute little cottage overlooking the ocean at the northern edge of Casco Bay. The time there starts with a bang, quite literally, for Independence Day. I get to watch fireworks from my deck from towns and cities all along the coastline as well as a spectacular display over the cove right down the street. My son and his family were up for a few days and this year we took a side trip to Fort Popham which happens to have a lovely beach nearby. For those of you who think the Maine coast is all rocks and ledges, there are many lovely fine sand beaches and Popham is one of them. I had my annual feasts of lobster fresh from the icy waters of Maine when they are at their succulent best, and lunches of Maine Gulf shrimp, another treat I never get in Florida. It was a lovely, relaxing visit.
I returned to Massachusetts to take care of some of my dad’s business. He’s been in nursing care for the last year following a nasty fall and broken bones last July, and now is eligible for Medicaid, but that application process can be difficult so my sister and I consulted an advocate to help us get it right. It was also good to have time to visit with him and remember some of the good times we’ve had over the years.
Now I’m at the family place at Bow Lake in New Hampshire. We own a small island there which has a lot of charm . . . and a lot of drawbacks. No running water or phone, no hot showers and an outhouse, but it is all ours and we – my kids, my grandkids, my sister and her daughter and some of my inlaws all arrive here for one week each summer. Cousins get to spend time with each other, playing, swimming, boating, having sleepovers in each other’s tents and telling stories and making s’mores around a campfire every night. My children, close in heart, but separated by distance most of the year, get to enjoy each other’s company and talk about everything from kids to politics, to sports and work and life in general and somehow the fact that we all have to sleep in tents and treat the tiny camp like a clubhouse doesn’t matter so much. Every year there’s a theme to our week, usually a holiday we never get to enjoy together. We’ve celebrated Valentine’s Day with little red mailboxes by every tent and the kids had fun making and delivering their messages. We’ve had Easter egg hunts and dressed up and gone trick or treating at everyone’s tent, too. This year is April Fools. This morning I woke up to find it had snowed right in front of my tent and there were little snowmen, snowballs and duckies with woolen hats and scarves. Who knows what will happen the rest of the week.
Next week my summer journey will be over and I’ll head back to St Augustine. It will be good to be home once the long drive is over, but it’s always worth the trip. Family time always is.