The View from Mary's Farm
January 1, 1970Greetings, friends,
Here it is, almost the end of summer. Where has it gone? We have had many storms this summer and the weather has been cold and rainy. What to make of all these changes? To make it more disorienting, I traveled on assignment frequently this summer, up to the Canadian border where I've been preparing a story about the existence of our international border, post-9-11. Ironically, I had wonderful weather up there and my eyes were opened to a number of surprising facts and sights. Stay tuned.
In the meantime, the new edition of my book The Place He Made is now available. If you are interested in obtaining a copy right away, send $18.95 plus $4 s+h ($22.95 total) to me at PO Box 112, Dublin NH 03444. In a few days, the book will also be available to order off my website. We're still making preparations.
I'd also like to tell you that I've been blogging for Yankee on their website (www.yankeemagazine.com) which has been interesting. I write a new blog about once a week and I'm trying to figure out how I can also post the blogs on my site. I'm gradually learning all these skills but it takes me twice the time it takes others. But I am committed! Check out the blogs. I'm still not sure why we blog or what I'm doing when I write them (I think it's an ugly word and, for those of you who don't know, it's a contraction of the words "web log" in others words, a kind of journal or log kept on the web) but they asked me to do it and, in general, I'm a pretty good soldier.
I hope you've all had a great summer, wherever you are, and that you enjoy a safe and fun Labor Day weekend.
Here's my summer column.
Hot summer nights make the young restless and now that I’m older, I wonder why. I was once guilty of pumpkin smashing and a few pranks worse than that so it’s not that I don’t understand but when I think back to such a time, I truly can hardly believe that I did those things, that I am that same person. I guess that is what is meant by growing up or maybe even redemption.
One of my favorite stories of life in these parts happened when my husband and my parents were all still alive and we were together, my elderly parents here on a visit from New Jersey. It was June but it was hot and we all decided to go out to eat rather than heat up the little house, cooking.
We were on our way home, late in the evening. As we were passing by the pond, which was a short distance from our house, suddenly several young men leapt in front of the car, causing us to come to a complete stop. Naked, they danced exotically in the glare of our headlights. Later, I realized the genius of their exhibition: the headlights, at their low level, revealed nothing but the boys’ privates. The rest, especially their faces, remained in the dark. The four of us sat in the car, stunned speechless except for my mother’s initial shriek. At last, the giggling young men ran off into the darkness and we proceeded home.
I would not have done so but my parents insisted I call the police. Back then, and even now, our police force consisted of one man, who sometimes wore a uniform and sometimes showed up in his farmer’s jeans. I called him, a little embarrassed, and dutifully reported the incident.
“Yup,” he said. “I’ll check it out.”
We heard nothing further. My parents returned home, somewhat worried that the area in which we lived, which was mostly woods and water, was not as safe as they’d imagined.
A few weeks later, Paul and I were out for a walk along that same stretch of dirt road and the constable came along in his cruiser, which was not the newest model but it was reasonably equipped. Suitable.
After some initial chatter, I asked him, “So, did you ever find those naked boys that night?”
“Oh, yes,” he said, with a slight chuckle. “I came right down after you called. I slowed down when I got to the pond and, darned if they didn’t hop right out in front of me, just like you said! I let them dance a bit,” he said, and paused a little before he went on: “And then I flipped on the blues! You never saw barefoot boys move so fast. They dove right into the water. I went down there and tried to wait them out, spent about an hour there, but they outlasted me. I never found them.”
We knew that pond, haven to snapping turtles and water snakes. I wondered which was worse, a prolonged immersion in those black waters, standing stock still, or being taken in for exotic dancing on a dirt road.
That was probably twenty years ago now and those boys are men, probably fathers. I wonder if they ever think back on that night of revelry and tell their story, as I do, or if they blush at their imprudence and ask for forgiveness.