Tuesday, August 16, 2016

time away

We spent a week at my parents' home in Pennsylvania which went by very fast for my Mom and me, but not as fast for my children, which was exactly how I remember summer days, lasting forever. Now I blink a couple of times and they are over in the same way that the setting sun brings a quiet end to an afternoon pool party.
We drove both of our vehicles down since Shane was only staying for the long weekend before heading back to work. This left us with our new-to-us vehicle to bring the kids and I home on the following weekend. Those last two photos, while not aesthetically beautiful, capture the sentiment that pervaded our long screen-free, road construction-filled car ride home. But the friendly Canadian border agent made me smile, bringing us home that last 45 minutes with hope that we would not descend into a scene from Lord of the Flies after all. Any future car trips will have a screen for Kate to help persuade her away from repeatedly and nearly sadistically bothering her younger sister.
Our time was well spent with my parents, my uncle and other extended family members.
We also visited my step-grandmother, who just turned eighty-seven this past Sunday. She is my last grandparent still with us and her laugh and teasing spirit still shine through as strong as ever. She crocheted a warm granny-square blanket for me as a baby and my girls still use it and know it came from her, as did most of their doll clothes which she made for my cabbage patch dolls years ago. She has a wonderful personal support worker who cares for her several times a week and even visits my grandma on her days off.
We helped in various ways care for my parents acreage and picked and ate the few wine-berries we could find on their property. Since we visited later in the summer than we usually do, we missed the wild black raspberries which we are used to foraging for.
We were there to celebrate both my Dad's birthday and Laura's birthday which come the last two days of July and bring lots of cake, presents and good food made by my Mom. The girls both took turns having a fever off and on but no other symptoms appeared and naps and good nighttime sleep helped bring them back to good health after the weekend.
That preserved note mounted on the side of the kitchen counter about the spider makes me laugh each time I see as it portrays quite accurately the various facets of our family issues. You can see where my mom dated it after she reassured (in writing!)the writer, my older sister, that the spider had been dealt with. This is a fairly new piece of family history but it captures a whole lifetime of concerns.
I managed to snap a few photos of the scenery and winding roads that are so familiar to me, mostly just for me to have. These Pennsylvania roads are so different from the roads we use here in Ontario and often that is the striking feature that Canadians remember about traveling there. What stood out to me this trip was the old stone houses, stone fences/border markers and stone barn foundations. I saw it in Upstate New York too as we momentarily left the main highway to avoid some construction delays. It is so appealing to see the stone work carefully preserved and displayed and noticeably absent in the more recent housing areas.  Creeks and barns also are main features of the countryside throughout Pennsylvania and New York.
I attempted to fight through the bush across the road from my parents' property to find the stream that I played around in as a youth, but I wasn't wearing proper footwear so I gave up. Next time I'm packing my tall rain boots and really exploring.

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