As you read this, Kaye and I will have spent our first night in the camper at Cole's Creek on the St. Lawrence. There are bound to be interesting, if not hilarious, experiences during our two-week stay, and you will no doubt share them with us vicariously in this newspaper space. It's always fun to vacation with family and friends. If I hear a loon this morning, you know I'll be in heaven.
Speaking of family and friends, we had a gathering here at our house along the Saranac River a week or so ago that was little short of legendary. Our daughter Barbie from Long Island and her family arrived, and shortly thereafter, our son Kirk and his family rolled in from Ohio. Friday night, we invited the rest of our clan from this area to gather by the river for a giant cookout. I think we counted 26 all told. There were little ones crawling, toddlers toddling, teenagers talking, senior citizens comparing family memories and the happy sounds of laughter far into the evening.
We were into the old photo albums, and Kaye dragged out kindergarten report cards from more than 50 years ago. What great fun. We have a diverse family group with many interests and passions, but we all get along famously. Because we have every shade of political and religious persuasion, those topics are generally avoided for reasons you can easily understand.
I fired up the grill and, with everyone bringing their own culinary specialties, there were goodies galore from taco salads to tantalizing torts. I mostly sat back and watched with gratitude at having such a loving group around me in our humble home. Kaye was busy flitting from room to room making sure folks were stuffing their faces and stopped only briefly from time to time to join in the happy palaver. It was fascinating for me to watch several generations interact in a gleeful way. I'm not sure Kaye and I are ready to be designated matriarch and patriarch, but we had children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren around us in a marvelous mesh that made us proud and happy.
I had to offer vociferous thanks to our son Bruce, who built and installed that fabulous record cabinet in the River Room and inspired me to clean the clutter that had surrounded me there for so many years. It started what we hope will be a trend toward collecting less "stuff" and divesting ourselves of so many things we no longer want or need around here. You can actually walk through the River Room now without having to resort to a roadmap.
Then, there's the lawn. I wanted to mow it neatly before they all arrived, so I hopped onto my new tractor, which some say is a bit of overkill for our postage-stamp yard. As I tooled around the side lawn, I stopped to talk to Kaye in the garden and, when I started off again, I inadvertently lowered the mower deck all the way down instead of a reasonable height. Before I realized it, I had scalped a question mark into the otherwise perfect length lawn, and it garnered many humorous comments from the family group. I can't fix it till it grows out.
That reminds me of when I was 5 and used my father's hair clippers to do a number on the cat. The only difference between that incident and this is that I took a licking for that one and only a few verbal jibes for the lawn.
Our out-of-town families spent a lot of time on the back deck off the River Room, absorbing the natural ambiance of this location and issuing the same sighs of satisfaction that have become commonplace for Kaye and me. Our hummingbird feeders are a great attraction to both young and old, and even the woodchuck family that nibbled off my young squash plants caught their attention.
Family is everything to us, and when they all drove off into the sunset, Kaye and I just stood there holding hands and offering our humble prayers of thanks for what we have. Meanwhile, the crop strip is thriving. Kaye picked a couple batches of string beans to bring with us to camp, and we expect to have copious amounts of tomatoes and cucumbers when we get home.
Have a great day and, please, drive carefully.
Gordie Little was for many years a well-known radio personality in the North Country and now hosts the "Our Little Corner" television program for Home Town Cable. Anyone with comments for him may send them to the newspaper or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.