|Red hot dogs and hamburgers. Trademarks of a Maine family reunion.|
|First and second cousins. One in-law.|
|Boston husband of first cousin and Patriot's logo. Of course.|
|Leading up stairs to the sleeping room.|
This past August, I drove my rented car up to the pond camp, toting my 85-year old parents with me. They had had a spat before our ride, generated mainly by the frustrations of a forced 24-hour existence together. They sat silent in the car, except for terse words spoken by my macular-degenerated dad who gave directions that were not to be questioned. My mother sat in the back seat, her tiny form taking in the scenery. We stopped and started through the mall-ladened insanity that has become North Windham and took the right turn onto the dusty road that leads to the cottage. I took a wrong turn and had to backtrack past a new white-picket fence that divides the roads and confuses the memories. I got back on track, followed the pond to my left, turned right, then left, and found the camp.
|Apple clock hanging on chimney.|
|Screen, cousins, aunts, and formidable man.|
|Strong woman in chair.|
A bathhouse down a wood-planked walkway is stuffed with Styrofoam noodles, which didn't exist when we were kids, and inner tubes - not our inner tubes, but the inner tubes belonging to the new generation of cousins, a much smaller, more scattered group. Once, a dragon fly the size of a crow landed on the inside of the bathhouse door and kept my sister and her special cousin prisoner for about an hour, terrified that it would sew their mouths shut. A passing boy cousin finally shooed it away.
|Second cousins and an in-law |
with Styrofoam noodle.
|The dock, second-cousin, nephew and boxer, in-law.|
A twenty-something niece, who only has four cousins, joined me and we swam out to the diving platform, where I struggled for a few undignified seconds to get up a ladder, then I gave up and swam past it, toward the other side of the pond. My niece and I parted the waters in front of us and noted the quiet. I remembered that the pond was filled with the roar of over-sized motor boats once, and kids screamed as they jumped off docks, and the smells of grills cluttered with red hot dogs and hamburger meat scorched the summer air. This August day was cool, with the chance of rain. No motorboat cracked the peace or threatened to run us over. The grill was located behind the came and away from the water, which took on a faint aroma of swamp, of dank age, of something not sunfish lurking in the muck far below us. I turned around frequently and looked back at the distance we had swum, at the little figures in the water and at those walking up and down the steep hill, wrapped in towels and anticipating lunch.
|Diving dock in pond.|
|Corn and second cousin.|