Category Archives: Maine

Lighthouses and Sailing Away: July, 2015

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I arrived up on Lake Erie last Friday. It has been a marvelous week with my

“Mamacita,” who is such a dear one and a blessing.

I enjoyed the anticipation, the way I looked more closely at the scenery

and have enjoyed relaxing and being lazy, once I got here. We went

grocery shopping shortly upon my arrival.

We always have plenty to eat with my Mom insisting on buying cookies,

chips, dip, wine (Sangria) and ice cream in at least 3 flavors.

We have plans today to visit my niece and her husband, living in my

parents’ retirement home. They were married Summer of 2014, with a

tent on the side yard and all the family present.

The family picnic (Saturday, July 3rd) will include newly arrived guests,

Skyler, Micah and my oldest daughter, Carrie. They drove up last night

and we had fun visiting and hearing about their week, since Mommy was

on vacation..

Other ‘picnickers’ will be both brothers, Mom, niece, her husband, baby

Jackson, older junior high daughter, Vaya, and my sister in law.

Mom’s and my  ‘food assignment’ was being in charge of bringing dessert.

After carefully looking over the bakery, rows of frozen desserts while

debating which ones would like our choices, we bought our offerings-

frosted red, white and blue cookies, (an instant hit with the children),

strawberries we cut up last night and added sugar to make a syrup

overnight, can of real whipped cream, angel food cake and a package

of “short cakes” which each person can choose their cake base, take

a scoop of strawberries, add vanilla bean ice cream and whipped cream.

My brother is bringing corn, watermelon and sister in law made a potato

salad. My niece and her husband are making hamburgers and hot dogs.

My other brother bought free range chickens to barbecue on the grill.

We have our bag of sunscreen, sunglasses, Mom’s special necessities,

two towels, my bathing suit and sundries packed and ready to go.

Tonight, there will be fireworks all along the lake. We will see the boats

go towards the East, then will see them head back West.

The Lake makes me think of the 12 lighthouses, bordering the Northern

edge of Ohio.

Here is a list, not in any particular order of their locations along the coast,

of a dozen scattered lighthouses along Lake Erie. . . some with memories

attached:

1. Vermilion Lighthouse.

This town is where my parents chose to live from the late 80’s until 2011,

when my Mom moved into her Senior Living Apartments. Now my niece

and her husband live on an appropriately named, “Edgewater Drive.”

2. Fairport Harbor West Lighthouse.

I have been to Fairport Harbor Beach, as a child swimming with my family.

3. Port Clinton Lighthouse.

I have toured and seen this beautiful memorial and museum on the island.

4. Huron Harbor Lighthouse.

We used to go to a little Episcopalian Church there, while growing up in

Sandusky.

The church was along the waterfront, across from the lake side of the

street.

5. Toledo Harbor Lighthouse.

While I attended Bowling Green State University, in B.G., Ohio, I visited the

Toledo Zoo and was invited to eat in a restaurant along the Toledo Harbor.

On another occasion, I enjoyed a second  harbor visit. A boyfriend and I first

spent time wandering around the art collections and gardens at the Toledo Art

Museum.

Then, having completed this fantastic day, escape from studying and  school

projects, we spent a luxurious dining experience in a waterfront restaurant.

Memories of such beautiful sea- or lake- side evenings, wherever you may

have visited, include so many senses touched or ignited. Anytime when you

can look out upon the vast, dark sky, while spying distant ships, stars and a

shining beacon of light, blinking off and on, rotating to protect the harbor, you

will be moved.

I hope sometime in your life you have been to a lake, an ocean or spent an

evening on an island.

I hope the beauty and majesty of lighthouses is part of your memories. . .

6. Ashtabula Lighthouse.

7. Marblehead Lighthouse.

Another childhood memory, where I was with my parents and my father’s

coworkers.

It has a funny sense of my mother’s annoyance and slight jealousy of one

of his secretaries. I have written this in a post about jealousy ‘at any age.’

8. Old Fairport Harbor Lighthouse.

9. Cleveland Harbor Lighthouse.

It is strange, but I know I have seen this lighthouse many times, but there is

no ‘imprint’ upon my memory bank. I have seen fireworks from a park nearby

here.

The ships are large, looming in this busy harbor, there are more restaurants

along the “Flats” than on Cleveland’s downtown lake’s edge.

10. Conneaut Lighthouse.

11. South Bass Island Lighthouse.

This is one of several islands, from Sandusky Bay to Kelley’s Island,

South Bass, Port Clinton and others… A wonderful and worthy scenic trip,

reasonably priced.

12. Lorain Harbor Lighthouse.

This one is a large lighthouse that has been one where we have sat along

the beach to watch at night. The area is well kept, has a refreshment stand

where Mom and I bought ice cream and heard first a reggae band, then a

Hispanic group sang and played. My Mom and I danced to the Spanish

music, while she tried to sing the lyrics.

On Maine Historical Society Website, I found a book by Henry Wadsworth

Longfellow. It has a collection of poems,”The Seaside and the Fireside.”

This anthology includes 8 poems about the Sea with 12 about sitting and

dreaming by the Fire.

One of Longfellow’s famous and beloved poems,

with just three passages shared in this post,

the opening, middle and closing one, below:

“The Lighthouse

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

(1850)

The rocky ledge runs far into the sea,

And on its outer point, some miles away

The Lighthouse lifts its massive masonry,

A pillar of fire by night, of cloud by day.”

. . .

“And as the evening darkens, lo! how bright,

Through the deep purple of the twilight air,

Beams forth the sudden radiance of its light,

With strange, unearthly splendor in the glare!”

. . .

(After the middle, there is a sea bird that crashes into

the glare of the lighthouse, dying and the dramatic

poet, H.W.L., mentions Prometheus chained to a rock.)

. . .

“Sail on!” it says,

Sail on, ye stately ships!

And with your floating bridge the ocean span.

Be mine to guard this light from all eclipse,

Be yours to bring man nearer unto man!”

The End.

(You may view this, in its entirety, but I chose the most

beautiful passages, in my mind’s eye.)

Last year’s music news of 2014, spoke of a ‘comeback album,’ for one of

my all-time summer favorites: Christopher Cross.  It is hard to believe his

album, titled,” Sailing,” has been out and sailing along into the sunset,

since 1979.

Did anyone listen to this album, since this post originally was published

in 2014? I have missed any of the singles on this, while listening to the

radio, daily and on longer trips to Mom’s.

I am quite content with his older one, which features lovely lyrics.

In “Sailing,” there are poetic words of paradise, tranquility, miracles

along with innocence, with canvas dreams.

“And if the wind is right, you can sail away to find serenity.”

Another passage near the end…

“Dream and wind carry me and soon I will be free.”

The Arthur movie, with the song, “The Best that You Can Be,” won Chris

Cross, an Oscar in 1981, he has been often in Germany performing, along

with on stage with country groups, like with “Alabama.” A couple years’ back,

“Lemon’s Theme” was written for the discontinued comedy television show,

“30 Rock.”

I am excited by the 2014, “The Secret Ladder,” album but have not heard

any newer songs attached to this. On Wikipedia, it lists a 2013 album by

Christopher Cross.

All I wish to express here is a combination of expectant excitement and

pleasant feeling of being swept away, if not on a sailboat, possibly an inner

tube, down a cool and easy river.

Christopher Cross singing his upbeat songs, using his fantastic, smooth

voice will be something  I still have to look forward to, someday getting to

hear the newer songs.

If only in my dreams…

I hope this spurred on memories of sandy beaches, water experiences by

a body of water; stream, river, lake or ocean.

If not, a pool is a nice cooling off place to suggest. . .

Did you ever have an emotional experience, almost magical or spiritual,

while you were by some form of water?

If you would like to list something you did or plan to do to celebrate the

holiday, please know I may not respond until July 5th or 6th, once I get

back home. . .

If you have already liked this post, written last year and then edited to

include new baby boy, Jackson, my grandsons Micah and Skyler, their

Mommy having a 2015 vacation all week, then don’t feel bad not pushing

“Like” button once again. I am thankful for this re-blogging, since some

of the details remained intact. Others, I updated. . .

Have a fantastic Fourth of July, if you are in the U.S.

If not, hope you are having a wonderful weekend!


November Story

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“The First Thanksgiving” is more than a great book about Thanksgiving,

it is one that encompasses Plymouth Rock and how the area first got

settled. I read this with my oldest three grandchildren, one is 9 and

the others are 8 years old. It was written in 1993, by Jean Craighead

George and illustrated by Thomas Locker.

This book starts out with lovely and dark “paintings” of Cape Cod and

it describes how the mountains of gravel came from the Ice Age that

deposited along the coast of New England. It tells that above the top

of the gravel, the glacier deposited huge boulders from distant places.

This became known as Plymouth Harbor.

The unusual facts about the boulders, include how they are called

“Dedham granite” and they are believed to have arrived from Africa

over 200 million years ago. This is when the continents, scientists say,

broke apart and floated to their current locations.

The largest rock, all 200 tons of it, is described:

“It came to rest in lonely splendor, on a sandy beach in a cove.

This boulder is Plymouth Rock.”

Somehow, years later, this area became inhabited by the Pawtuxets,

a tribe of the Wampanoag:  “The People of the Dawn.”

Their customs included thanking Mother Earth for Her harvests of corn,

beans, squash and pumpkins. They hunted deer, turkey and fished the

ocean and streams. Their celebration annually was named the “Green

Corn Dance” which lasted many days.

In the 1600’s, Englishmen arrived on big ships killing animals with guns

and kidnapped some of the Wampanoag men for slaves. Indians were

afraid of the newcomers, white men, with their loud weapons.

On man tricked to come aboard a ship with the 17 Pawtuxet men, was

named Squanto. His life is complicated, being traded from England to

Spain to eventually Newfoundland, sailing back to London and then

finally back to New England (America) in 1619. When he arrived back

and saw his village, many tears were wept for the homes were merely

skeletons and the mighty crops were reduced to weeds.  All of his

people he believed were dead of European plague.

I thought I might “pause” in this devastatingly real and sad story to

tell you that the grandkids were fascinated. I asked if they were a

little sad, they said, “Yes, but Nana, tell us the rest of the story!”

Squanto traveled northward to Maine, where he joined the tribe

named Massasoit. They were a branch of the Wampanoag Indian

community where he felt accepted.

During this time, over in England, King Jame I was making everyone

join the Church of England. There was a group of people known as

the Puritans, who when they traveled across the ocean, became

known as the “Pilgrims.” Their great ship was called the “Mayflower.”

Their arrival to the New World, was on December 11, 1620. They

landed on Plymouth Harbor beach. The sight of Plymouth Rock.

Once ithe Pilgrims arrived,  they called the natives or citizens that

belonged there, “savages.”

Their Governor John Carver and the Pilgrims all struggled through

the winter, until they were able to plant the seeds they had brought.

The women planted English herbs in “kitchen gardens.” The men

dug deeper into the land, creating huge gardens of vegetables,

wheat and barley.

Samoset, a Massasoit Ambassador, traveled to greet the Pilgrims

in English. They formed a “Peace Treaty” and the Massasoits stayed

in Rhode Island, while Squanto stayed behind in Plymouth.

Squanto showed the men how to catch hibernating eels, showed

them where the herring ran in the Spring, and taught them how

to make “weirs” and nets to catch cod and salmon. He also showed

them how to put herring in the holes they dug for planting, along

with 4-5 corn kernels in the soil. This was not noted as “first use

of fertilizer” but I thought this was very interesting, as did the kids!

The seeds that Squanto shared were considered by historians, ones

from ancestors as far away as Mexico and Peru. These included corn,

squash and pumpkins.

Squanto also taught them where to hunt for the turkeys, showed them

leaf nests of squirrels adn the hideouts of skunks and raccoons. The

Pilgrims were shown where there were blueberry patches to pick from.

In the Late Spring, meadows were filled with wild strawberries where

the children could pick also, sweet roots of Jerusalem artichoke.

In the Mid Summer, cranberry bogs and gooseberry patches’ locations

were shown and shared.

In September, chestnuts, hickory nuts and hazelnuts were found on the

ground under their trees.

The boys were taught how to make dugout canoes and paddle out into

the sea to set lobster pots, made of reeds and sinew. There were all

kinds of edible creatures in the tidal pools to show the Pilgrims, too.

Philosophy of the Native Americans which is the tenet in why Squanto

shared his learnings:

“The Land did not belong to the people; People belong to the Land.”

Such a peaceful and meaningful message right there!

When the following harvest came, after all that Squanto had taught

the Pilgrims, they felt the need to rejoice and invite the Massasoits

to join them in a Feast. Governor William Bradford sent a message

of invitation and the response was 90 guests! For three days they

shared the Feast, played games and the Pilgrims shared their guns

in contests. The Native Americans shared their bows and arrows,

using targets to just enjoy the harvest.

When I heard of the games, shooting for pleasure and the many

dishes that they ate, I thought, WE should do this, too! How many

people sit down and watch football or some form of stationary

activities after they eat their Thanksgiving dinner? We all should

hike around, play games and enjoy each other’s company!

The end of the book summarizes that the Pilgrims called this day a

“Harvest Feast” and the Native Americans called it the “Green Corn

Dance.” They must have included dancing, but the book did not

mention it specifically, it did not show any dancing in the beautiful

painted pictures.

President George Washington declared and named the first national

Proclamation of celebrating Thanksgiving during his Presidency.

President Abraham Lincoln named the annual day of Thanksgiving

to be the last Thursday of November and called it a day of

“thanksgiving and praise.”

In my family, we include two types of meats, two types of dressings,

usually more grilled or fresh vegetables lately (not so many casseroles)

and our big splurges on calories and not so healthy food are lots of

pies and two kinds of potatoes, both baked. Sometimes I will drive

home from my brother and sister in law’s house in Cleveland missing

my Mom as I drive. She and my brothers and sometimes my sister in

law’s children will be there but the rest of my own family are back in’

Delaware.

After my “goodbyes,” I head directly to my son’s house, where Jamie

and Trista still serves green bean casserole, mashed potatoes, corn

pudding, hamburger mixed in with onions in the stuffing, sweet potato

casserole with marshmallows and pecans mixed in. We finish our meal

with pumpkin pie served with whipped cream in a can (not Cool Whip.)

We eat white rolls with real butter, too!

What are some of your favorite foods, your traditions and if you are

from another country, do you have a harvest time meal?