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Edie at home in her kitchen.

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The View from Mary's Farm

The View from Mary's Farm for August 2008

August 1, 2008

Greetings, friends, and forgive that previous message, just sent. Somehow my computer got confused, or, as the folks who work on the computers would tell me, it's NOT the computer, my dear, it's YOU. So, OK, maybe I got confused but sent you something three years old and from the wintertime. Can't get much more confused than that, whichever one of us that did that bad thing. But what I want to tell you is that I've been traveling most of the summer, up on the Canadian border, in preparation for a story I'll be writing for Yankee about our international border, post-9-11. I'm so excited about all that I found and looking forward to writing the report. But, of course, all that traveling has put me behind in everything, including my garden which looks like a jungle.
Other exciting news is that the new edition of my book The Place He Made is now available. The book is 304 pages, quality paperback, and I've written an afterword that gives perspective to the story. There is also a great new cover designed by the wonderful artist, Dave Dodge. If you are interested in obtaining a copy right waway, 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. I'm gradually learning all these skills but it takes me twice the time it takes others. So, check out the blogs if you are so inclined. I'm trying to figure out a way that I can simultaneously post the blogs on this site. Stay tuned on that one.
In all, I hope you've all had a great summer, wherever you are and that you will enjoy a safe, restful and fun Labor Day weekend.
Here's my summer column:

Dark Waters
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.

Selected Works

Articles
In 1992, the Bishop of Worcester condemned St. Joseph's Catholic Church and ordered it closed. The parishioners refused to leave, sleeping on cots and on the hard pews. For thirteen months this was their life. In July of 1993, they were removed by the police. In many ways this was the blossoming of their faith. Originally published in Yankee Magazine in November 1993.
Growing up, nothing I could do seemed to please my mother and nothing she said made sense to me. But when my mother, on the threshold of death, came to live with me, I found what seemed to have been lost forever. Originally published in Yankee Magazine, May 1995
(The follow-up article to Miracle at St. Joseph's.) The Bishop turned to them and said, "Your prayers have been answered, the hard hearts have softened." Originally published in Yankee Magazine, December 1996
A reflection on the power of cooking and friendship and the concept of family. Originally published in Yankee Magazine, November/December 2007
Memorial Day, Harrisville, New Hampshire 1995. Originally published in Yankee Magazine, May 1996
My Articles
Libraries occupy a special place in the heart of a town. Evening events at the library give a strong sense of community and make it seem like a great place to live. And in the wake of the online revolution small town libraries have found a way to not only survive but to be indispensable.
In December 2008 an epic ice storm left virtually the entire state of New Hampshire without power. The residual effects of that storm paralyzed the Monadnock Region almost through Christmas. A first person account.
In 1994, sixteen-year-old Billy Best was diagnosed with Hodgkin's Disease. After several treatments, he ran away to avoid chemotherapy. What happened after that may have been a miracle.
Roxanne Quimby once lived primitively in the Maine woods. Today she owns 90,000 acres of those woods, and her goal is to create a national park to preserve the landscape forever. So why do so many people wish she'd just go away?
Multi-million dollar border stations are rising along our line between US and Canada. What was once the "friendliest border" has become deadly serious.
Renowned short story writer, Andre Dubus, reflects on the accident that cost him his legs.
A trip to Poland discovers a beloved family friend
An elegy for the master of the short story.
Fall comes to The County
Thousands seek healing from this innocent, comatose child.
A complete listing of articles published since 1978
Fiction
An encounter with a sick fox brings a young woman to the heart of her grief