It’s getting late…

Samnangerfjorden a late summer evening. Seen f...
 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It’s getting late. Summer is fleeting. The slant of the sun—morning and late afternoon—seems to be at different angles now. Fewer and fewer residents are up here at the lake during the week, vacations having run out. Nights are cooler, calling for sweatshirts more often. The dark comes much sooner in the evening—and it’s dark, almost immediately!

But the real indicator that lake season is in its homestretch for another summer is our grandsons were here these last four days before they have to start school on the 14th. And the last two summers, they were barely up here to spend much time with us at all, their busy lives busier than ever with so much other stuff besides Grandma and Poppy.

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Matt and Grandma working on ice cream cones.
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Jack with another spoonful of chocolate goodness!

Even so, what a wonderful four days it was, having them both without Mom and Dad! Whether it was splashing and rough-housing around in the lake for hours or challenging Grandma and Poppy to crucial games of Aggravation or Apples to Apples, or enjoying a summer evening visit to Frosty Boy for ice cream, it is what summer, with those we love, should always be.

There was even time chiseled out of our busy days for “down time”—reading or doing “nothing” quietly. And it’s amazing how they both seemed willing—almost eager—to open up to Grandma and Poppy about the upcoming school year: teachers, activities, friends. Often’s the case that getting any kind of information out of either one of them is as tough as extracting the Kremlin’s secrets.

Capping off our time together was a day spent at the Henry Ford Museum and Greenfield Village over in Dearborn, Michigan, a two-and-a-half hour journey from the cottage. It was something that Grandma and I had been planning for most of the summer, and it all came together on one very gorgeous summer’s imagesday.

Originally, we’d planned to make the trip over on Monday, but watching the weather forecast call for storms for most of that day made our decision to move the trip to Tuesday mostly a no-brainer. As it turned out, the skies were the bluest blue, full of fluffy clouds, gliding along way up there on lovely, gentle breezes. Temperatures eased into the low-80s, without much humidity whatsoever. How could we not have the wonderful time we did!

I had visited Greenfield Village once before, back in 1968 when a senior in high school. I always remembered how impressed I had been at the time with the Thomas Edison workshops there, and I made sure I re-visited that part of the Village. I think I was able to convey my excitement about such exhibits to my two grandsons, even though they were more enthused with the OscaUnknownr Meyer Weinermobile on display in the Henry Ford Museum!

Upstairs at Thomas Edison's Menlo Park Laborat...
Upstairs at Thomas Edison’s Menlo Park Laboratory (removed to Greenfield Village) Note the organ against the back wall. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Throughout the course of the day, we rode in an authentic Model-T, and later climbed aboard the Greenfield Village train, pulled by steam engine fueled by good old coal.

We paid a visit to the Wright Brothers’ Bicycle Shop, where they did most of the work on their famous Flyer, and also stopped by their house (with the neat porch that wraps around the front). This was even more special since I recently finished reading David McCullough’s book about the Wrights.

Before we realized it, the day had given way to late afternoon and approaching closing time. Weary from a day of walking, the boys and I were content to find a bench and wait for Grandma to finish her assault on the Village Gift Store.

Finally, once she re-joined us, two large shopping bags laden with who-knows-what, all of us were ready for the not-too-far trek to the parking lot to begin our drive back to the cottage, with a stop somewhere in between for dinner, of course.

Getting back just after 9:30, we found it quite easy to call it a day—a very fine day, indeed—and there was nary a problem for any of us to fall asleep. Turning off the cottage lights and closing up, I realized that Carolyn would be taking them home in the morning, and it would be just me—alone—here all over again.

As I write this now, I cannot help but keep returning to that wonderful day the four of us shared yesterday. No cares, no worries, no frowns! Just Grandma, Poppy, and two wonderful little boys who will one day be grown up and off on other things important in their lives besides spending time with us. Realizing this, I’m saddened at the thought. Am I getting old? Scary thoughts abound. At any rate, I suppose we’d better enjoy these moments while we can. And so it’s these times I cherish and will always hold dear. Thank you, Jack and Matt and Grandma…

Nothing to say…

“Blessed are they, who have nothing to say, and who cannot be persuaded to say it!” (James Russell Lowell)

English: Elmwood, Cambridge, Massachusetts. Ho...
English: Elmwood, Cambridge, Massachusetts. Home of poet James Russell Lowell etc. Photograph taken by me, September 2005. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

American poet James Russell Lowell (1819-1891) penned these words a long time ago, and they still ring true today. As I was scrambling for a blog topic the past couple of days, his words kept popping back into my head, and I began to realize that perhaps I really have nothing to say. And until I actually do have something to say, maybe I should stop trying to force the issue.

Yet, I could write about the mess that the world finds itself in, particularly the evil that is ISIS and how our government is attempting to deal with it. But even though I have very strong concerns about this latest threat to our precious way of life here, I don’t want to come off as just another reactionary, spouting that “we should have done this…we should have done that!” As always, I leave it to those folks—our leaders—to make sense of it all and stow the politics long enough to protect our country and  all of us in it!

Of course, I could devote hundreds of words to the current sordid state of affairs in the NFL, with its rampant, out-of-control domestic/child abuse, but what really more can anyone say to make much sense of a league gone mad, featuring massive humans—wealthy beyond reason—operating in a world that places them way up on pedestals and adorns them with crowns for being so good at what they do—on the field of play, that is.

I could throw out several paragraphs detailing my continued struggles to get much writing done on my next novel, the one in which I’ve been becalmed and landlocked for such a long time. However, I really don’t like to whine and complain, beating a dead horse over and over again. I’m sure readers don’t deserve having to read any more about it, either.

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Jack poses next to the sign at the local gas station to check out the special birthday message!

Amidst all of the sadness, sickness, and horror that swirls about in this world of ours, I’ll keep it to a couple of pleasant and good things. Yesterday, my one grandson, Jack, turned nine. We celebrated with one of his favorite dishes—Grandma’s lasagna, salad, and cake and ice cream. Before we ate, he and his younger brother spent an hour or so out in our back yard having a terrific time playing whiffle ball and laughing and running and sweating.

They knew nothing about the tragedies that surround them or the growing evil over in Syria and its neighboring countries. They couldn’t care less about professional football players who don’t know how to behave in a civilized manner. And they most certainly couldn’t give a rat’s patooty about Grandpa’s writing issues!

In their own beautiful world, life is still very good. They have a mom and dad who care and provide for them. They have warm beds to sleep in—safely—each night and a good school to get to every morning to learn and grow and try to be good citizens of the world.

As we all sat down to dinner and enjoyed the delicious offerings from my wife, I couldn’t help but feel a real sense of pride in my son sitting across from me and my two grandsons, one on each side of me—my legacy!

I do hope the world will turn out OK for them in the years ahead.

So I guess I really didn’t have anything to say after all!