Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Live from Maine

Well, I'm in my third day in Maine and the weather is beautiful as I post this. The island grapevine was saying that you could park in front of the hardware store or Pilgrim's Inn and poach broadband access, but no such luck for me. I'm trapped using my aunties dial-up access-- how does Frasier do it?

Here's my journal of the first days of Pappy and my vacation, the "War and Peace" of postings:

Day One
After leaving for Maine at 2AM, I left flaming tire tracks all the way up the coast and arrived before 3PM including a few stops and a nap on the road. I stopped at my aunt's house on the way to our place. Pappy was tearing in circles with delight to be free of the car, dive bombing his dog-cousin Polly. I ran into huge packs of cousins roaming about, but many were finishing up their visits. I was so tired I could barely maintain an intelligible conversation.

2007-08-13_110Day Two
There are two flavors of weather in Deer Isle-- glorious or dismal. Brilliant sunshine or chilling rain. Fresh breezes or pea-soup fog of the kind that drives people to murder. If the barometer needle is stationary throughout your first visit, you either had the best time or will never come back. Today was an exception-- I woke to gloomy overcast but we weren't socked in. There have since been periods of sun and a few passing heavy showers, but we get so little rain during summers in DC that it seems like a treat.

Pappy and I were playing down on the beach, and he's getting his first experience of sea water... and he loves, loves, loves it despite its being temperature challenged. He was dropping his ball in the water and bobbing for it over and over. I tossed the ball a little way out, and for the first time I saw him really swimming. He is a water dog. I'm a little nervous that he doesn't have the sense to come out before hypothermia sets in.

Day Three
A quick background on our history in Deer Isle: my grandfather's widowed sister, whose first husband was killed in a WWI-era naval gun accident, remarried to a man whose family had been visiting Deer Isle since the nineteenth century. After visiting for a number of years, around WWII my grandfather jointly purchased a 40 acre lot with three summer houses with his sister's two daughters by her first marriage. Four generations and many cross-family marriages later, we now have cousins spread across a mile and a half of coast and can all recognize each other by our family's distinctive sixth toe on each foot.

About 37 of the 40 acres are woods and wetlands, but the rest is lovely coastline. Our shared beach, to my mind the best in the vicinity, is called Brook Cove. This is a euphemism for "place where the swamp drains", but after a heavy rain the water running down the beach from the woods looks much less like over steeped tea. Our wonderful, open cottage was the Pressey Village schoolhouse relocated to the current site by barge a million years ago. They raised the roof to add a second story over the huge living room, and my grandmother later added a huge steel eye-beam from a navy yard to keep the second story from collapsing into the first. In the tradition of the islands where no brick went unrecycled, additions to the house were scavenged from elsewhere-- there are windows that were originally on boats, and untrimmed logs used as supports. From year to year, our main tasks are to keep the house from falling in on itself and keep it from falling into the ocean.


Flirt the Squirt said...

6 toes?

Amici said...

We're glad you are having a good time!

Asta said...

Pappy and Dad,
that place sounds pwetty magical..I'm glad you made it safely..how vewy nice to belong to such a big family and have a place you go back to over and over again...Pappy must be having the time of his life, can't wait to see some pictuwes. I had aweally nice holiday too, not as adventuwous,but lots of fun..you'll have to go to maybe older postsw if you want to see it..keep having fun and don't slide into the water
smoochie kisses

Charlie said...

Sounds like a wonderful time!
- Charlie

Jude said...

Sounds idyllic! I am glad you were able to log on. :)

Pappy's Fella said...

Well, I found the island's one internet cafe, and am using it for all it's worth.

I've added a few pictures out to our Flickr account

Flirt the Squirt,
The sixth toe gives you real stability.

We waved as we passed Portland. I had been thinking about stopping by the dog park on Ocean Road, but we were making such good time I kept on going. My aunt used to live right past there on Canterbury Way.

Hope you're having a great summer.