Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Family vacation

School is out!!! What a wonderful feeling to have 10 weeks to spend on a secluded island off of Southport Island on the coast of Maine. With nothing to do but rest and eat and breathe the Maine air. As my mom says, "you get the munchies and sleepies in Maine."
Our family frequently got together for a week in the summer. On the first visit of my Uncle and Aunt and 2 cousins, we planned to meet them at Climo's General store. When my Aunt approached the store, she yelled, "Is this Climo's Store."
When we had a larger gathering, the dining room shelves were lined with the pottery bowls of potatoes, onions, and fresh farm stand tomatoes. They usually were finished off quickly.
My cousins, Bruce and Carol, often walked around Pratt's Island with me. We enjoyed exploring the North Beach which was just behind the woods of our rental cottage. As we walked through the wooded forests,listening to the crunch of broken sticks and the sound of the moist lichen moss squished beneath our feet. Above us, the light streamed through the trees which cast a shadow upon the forest floor. Occassionally, a squirrel scampered through the woods. There was a pungent smell to the decaying leaves that were in the forest. After walking through the woods, we approached the North Beach, a small secluded beach that had action from the waves. We watched the waves lap against the shore with a sound of a tennis ball hitting the racquet.
We often went fishing off of the Pratt's Island Bridge. This bridge was a rickety bridge with narrow wooden slats that had room for one car at a time. Definitely riding at a snails pace while holding your breath. We cast our lines into the water hoping to catch some fish but only to catch some little green crabs that summer. "Where are the big fish that we can eat? "exclaimed my cousin, Bruce. These crabs kept coming on the lines that were sent down.
On the southern side of Pratt's Island, Gus Pratt had a general store that is quintescental Maine. Gus wore overalls with a white apron. He wore small wire-rimmed glasses and had a broad smile. The room was dimly lit and on the counter, there were the glass jars selling the nickel candies and racks were filled with post cards of puffins and boats and islands for sale. Behind the green counter was where the root beer floats and hot dogs could be ordered. The floor was creeky and had a worn finish to it.
A duck pin bowling alley rested upon the wooden pilings above the harbor. When chatting with Gus, the talk mainly focused on the locals in Maine and a little politics of the area.
Our family enjoyed playing card and board games while sitting next to the fire in the cottage. And we had great fun listening to the subtle nuances of humor from my uncle.
My Dad and I enjoyed playing Gin Rummy and we would often have tournaments with my uncle and aunt and cousins.
One of the afternoons of that visit, we went out in our motorboat and we caught a couple of pails of mackeral in the Sheepscot Bay. We just kept catching them that day. Must have been caught in a school of them.
Having the wind at our back and the aroma of warm fresh salt air washing over us was a treat for all of us. Above us, the sea gulls flew overhead and waited for any fish that might be tossed overboard.

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