Growing up in the far northern climes of Vermont, summer could be summed up in one word, which, oddly enough, is the same word attributed to its winters, only for different reasons.
L O N G E R
There is only one question to ask when living with and through a northern winter…”When will it end???”
No one I’ve ever known would dare ask that same question from the 4th of July through Labor Day, which in the best of years, is a Long Vermont summer.
A better question for summer is “When will it begin????”
But the Longer that lives in the northern summertime, isn’t for how many months, or weeks, or days, it lasts…it is for those Longer days, Longer bike rides, and Longer games in one backyard or another. Longer moments of peace among the winter weary, battle fatigued, cohabitants that are brothers, sisters, mothers and fathers. Longer trips looking for warmer weather, with Longer hellos, and even Longer goodbyes.
Summer is a Long way from Long in the north.
At the same time, there is also only one question I know to ask as a northerner living with and through, a southern summer… “When will it end???”
My slow melt begins in April, with signs of ripples in May. Then I start to bubble in June, and by July, I’m roiling out of the proverbial ‘melted pot’. By August, when coincidentally enough, the homicide rate begins to increase, I’m ready, willing, and able to add to the statistic of “Heat induced insanity killings”
It’s only the 9th of July here in Virginia and I’m ready for it to end. I’m Longing for cool days and cold nights. I want to put on a hoodie and go out by the campfire, watch the lightning bugs, and gaze at the stars in the crystal clear, cold cleansed sky.
I’m tired of the inside of my house. I’m heart-sick at the number of times I say no to ‘Grammy, can we go out so I can run through the sprinklers?” because that would mean I’d have to go O U T there to supervise.
I’m disgusted that the longest walk I take all day is from the front door to the mailbox and even then, if I knew someone else I could ask to do it for me, I’d PAY them to do it!
I am glared at by my four legged pal who wants nothing more than to run around the yard, chasing something…anything…as long as she can runl. NO, No, and no, because that means I’d have to go O U T there and participate! Ugh
I Long for shorter days.
I Long for cloudy or rainy days.
I Long for someone to pick up on the fact that I wear a “Let It Snow” night shirt EVERY night hoping it’ll happen.
If you haven’t noticed…I hate the heat. But even if I didn’t…I’d hate T H I S heat!
When. Will. It. End?
The last holiday before the official end of summer.
And this is a steamy one for sure.
Humidity levels are through the roof so if you venture into the sun, you’ll braise…not bake 🙄
It is a day to celebrate the working person.
A day to ‘not’ work [as long as you don’t work in retail, then it’s a day to go Christmas shopping].
I know, right?
Anyway, since I don’t work outside the home, it is just another laundry day, with the added bonus of baking turtle brownies. (turtle brownies: nuts and caramel in the brownies, um yeah mama)
Baking? Today? In this heat?
Ummm, my indoor thermostat says 68, and as he knows me well…he knows that should his digits read below 68, I shall haul off and punch him in the face!
So yeah, it’s a baking day 🙂
As happens in the summer, more bloggers are out living life rather than inside writing about it, hence, less blogging more jogging. At least it seems so to me.
And while I wasn’t out there jogging (God forbid!) I was ‘out there’.
So Labor Day does tend to remind me that it’s time to come in once in a while and ease back into the fall yarns (get it?) so when winter comes, I’ll be knitting stories with the best of ya!
I don’t have any particular “What I did on my summer vacation” tales to weave, but I do have a snap or two that do paint (crafty eh?) a pretty picture of some of the fun we had.
Like…the time Matty spent back in the lower 48. Three weeks of sun and disc golf and beachin and boozin (ahem) and cousins and Grandfolks and…well, you get the idea
For myself…most of my time was spent in the same places as the boys…I just had my hands on something other than a beer bottle.
[Ah shit, that’s a lie. I had one hand on a bottle and the other on the camera.]
Okay? Geesh! Can’t get away with crap around here!
So my time was spent catching mountains and moonlight…
then rivers, lakes, and lilly pads, roads and bridges too.
I had a couple days where the pickens were slim; a tree and some deer, and an old car pullin in. A whirlygiggly butterfly and dead people’s ground; a downpour and a pond sign for an absconded pond.
But you all know what I’m like, always a barn or two; then Supe with his sidekick, and a damsel lunching, eew eew…
This is a glimpse of what I’ve been laboring with. And if I do say…
Life is Good!
Hope you all had an enjoyable, relaxing, family and fun filled summer.
I look forward to seeing more regular attendance now that Blog U is back in session.
Ah…the good ol’ summertime.
A time for beaches and bicycles and picnics and bbqs and vacations and staycations and more likely than not… family.
Whether you’re a nut from a towering oak, have a touch of sweetness like the magnificent sugar maple, are tart and tangy like the bounty that falls from the fruit trees, or run more to the quiet strength of the whispering pine…we are all branches of our family trees.
As it will, nature steps in to prune our branches. Our leaves fall through the natural process of age and death, or in times of storm and disease, we sadly lose precious limbs way before their time.
Nature will…have its way.
But because our roots are so deep, we continue on…new saplings sprout from new seeds and new blood.
Often, we are stronger and more resilient for it. Having richer hues and sweeter fruit.
Or, as is common enough in my family to be the rule and not the exception, (leaves fall too close or too far, whichever the case may be) we end up with nuttier nuts and fruitier fruits.
Which leads me to:
“The Family Reunion”
For the good folk up here in the extreme north, the best thing to be said about summer is …NO SHOVELING!
Next to that…there is reunion season, which in my case, consists of the following:
Mother’s Mother’s side
Mother’s Father’s side
Two distinct and unique trunks of my maternal grandparent’s tree.
Let’s say it’s where the Spruce meets the Elm.
Now, the Spruce and the Elm don’t share the same patch of ground. Perhaps because the Spruce is pretty rigid and doesn’t change much, and the Elm, while close when push comes to shove, has a history of infection and being hard to find (much loved all the same).
But…two distinct and separate genus with two distinct and separate reunions.
Which brings me to the other half of my tree:
Father’s Mother’s side
Father’s Father’s side
Or, as is our case…
ONE trunk for my paternal grandparent’s tree
(It’s a damned big tree!)
This is where the mighty Oak meets the Sugar Maple and rather than remaining as such…they became a whole new tree.
The Maple Nut Tree (Don’t Google it…no sucha thang)
Here’s the roots…
The George boys had a thing for the Smith girls…
Brothers marrying sisters…
(No, not their own sisters…we may be hilly people, but we don’t all play the banjo!)
Anyway…because more than one George married more than one Smith, the reunions are Smith/George amalgamations rather than just Smith or just George.
We even have Smiths who married other Smiths and those Smiths married Morrisons who in turn married other Morrisons…
EEE GAD, it’s enough to make you dizzy!
Anyway, the reason I started this, besides having just attended above mentioned gathering of Maple Nuts, is to do with names.
It really is about names.
But not just any names.
One would think, with sir names like Smith and George, the given names would be rather vanilla, wouldn’t you?
Tom, Dick, and Harry kind of names. But no.
And it just tickles the shit out of me to sit around listening to the older folk talk about their parents and grandparents, aunts and uncles, bandying around some names not heard 100 years from here.
Kids my age, and those after, hear these names and think
“What the hell were they thinking?”
But I disagree. I think there is something strong, and connective in these old names.
It speaks of family more than the color of our eyes or the shape of our nose.
Names that are passed down in an obvious attempt to keep a loved one alive are beautiful names.
Okay, I shall.
Just a tiny sample.
Great Grandfather Smith (ok…the next part is a sing along)
M.U.R.D.O. M.U.R.D.O. M.U.R.D.O. and M U R D O was his nameo!
Now, farmer Murdo Angus Smith married the lovely Rose La Brecque. They had 11 children (that’s Family #1).
Norman George, Mary Ethel, Eva Maude, Christie Rose, Margaret Leona, Clara Esther, Gladys Irene, Pauline Mae, Paul Angus, Walter Robert, and Baby Girl.
These names that don’t quite rrrrrrrrrrrroll off the tongue like names do today, but, it was all about continuity.
The lovely Rose died at the tender age of 36 (she needed a rest I think), whereby farmer Murdo married Marion who had another 5 children (that’s Family #2).
Murdo Harold, Joyce Ann, Fred Donald, Gerald Lloyd, and Virginia Maggie.
Again, these names don’t effortlessly fall off the tongue, but suggest a ‘reason’ behind them.
Nothing trendy here.
Great Grandfather George
Elmer Eugene George
(The only other Elmer I know lives in Cartoonland!)
Now, Elmer married Sophi (pronounced so-feye) Laundry and they had two sons
Raleigh Royal Eugene George and Morton Guy George
(So much packed into two little boys right? Oh, and a side note on Sophi~she had sisters…Mary, Maude, and Mert. LOL. Great huh?)
Both these George boys married Smith sisters:
Raleigh Royal Eugene George married Mary Ethel Smith (my grandparents) and had two children
Roy Eugene and Betty Rose
Morton Guy George married Christie Rose and had four children
Stanley Morton, Philip Dale, Beverly Ruth, and Harvey Elmer
Sadly, after my parents’ generation, the names became more normal(?)
Gone are the Murdos, Elmers, Mortons, and Raleighs.
No more Claras, Maudes, and Gladyses (Gladi?)
I’m as guilty as the next gal. I named my kids rather trendy names, but I think if I’d spent more time sitting under that big ol’ Maple Nut tree, I’d have found the courage to be different in the pride I feel when I’m sitting in that big pile of leaves.
Had that been the case, perhaps I would be the proud mother of Raleigh Murdo Elmer Roy?
Or if I’d had a girl…Mary Clara Maggie Rose?
And the groaning you hear in the background is my husband who has NO room to talk…he is the son of ELBO.
But THAT is another mango tree altogether!
I hope you’re enjoying the summer, and hoping too, that you’re gathering round the base of your own magnificent family trees. There’s nothing quite like it.
And for those nuts that are part of my Maple Nut Tree…here’s a reminder of the beautiful day spent reminiscing about the old times and creating new ones. (Thanks Debbie and Henry)
-Click on a circle to bring up the full size photos-
I cannot, in all honesty, say it thrilled me when I heard the kids had gotten a Trampoline.
With a 12-year-old and 3-year-old on that behemoth bouncy bone breaker, I had visions of head wounds and little fingers and toes caught in the webbing, and mid-air collisions that would result in trips to the emergency room.
However, never let it be said that Grammy Rhoni is not one to ‘give it a chance’.
So, on many a morning during our recent trip to almost heaven…I sat with my trusted and constant companion and just watched.
I’m glad I did and hope you can see why.
My laddie is definitely a TRAMP!
So…I guess the lesson here, for all you Grams and Gramps out there…look before you leap; to conclusions that is.
Supervision, common sense, and a love for life is all that’s needed to make this a safe place to be a TRAMP!