Thursday, August 02, 2007
Vacations we have squandered
The creature from the lagoon is Jonah, who vacations like a champ. He really knows how to have a good time. The lake is in upstate New York, in the middle of nowhere. There's a movie star on the dock back there, but Jonah can upstage even the bigs. We were there on a day when thunderstorms came and went, as did snakes in the water. In memory, the day has a slow feel, even with a six-year-old in the mix. We also had a Jack Russell terrier who went crazy for the snakes. Later, he threw up a frog.
In the main, however, it was an unrestful vacation. I planned the trip around three locations with three different groups of family and friends, driving from Boston to Maine, down to New York near the Pennsylvania line, and back up to Boston. My darling does not suffer road trips gladly. Plus, the middle stretch was work-related, so my brother and I disappeared into a basement for days, with breaks to eat and deal with various crises. The last such was the losing of the rental car key.
I advise against losing rental car keys while in the country, especially these new keys with microchip remotes that occasion the reprogramming of the car's ignition system as well as getting a new key made. The brave new world is unkind to bucolic key losers.
But the bucolic world is kind to young readers. Here's Jonah in the hammock on the farm, midway through "Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban." The kid reads like a vacationing champ and doesn't care that he's four books behind the times.
And here's Jonah with his best friend, Gabriel, who just moved to Maine. The beach was at Reid State Park, south of Portland. We also went to Popham State Park in the same area--beautiful spots, where the tide goes out thousands of feet and leaves you with a beach you can walk to nearby islands on. We built sand castles, which are heavily metaphorical.
In Boston, we saw a Shakespeare in the Park production of "A Midsummer Night's Dream." It was marvelous and inventive, and somewhere near the beginning of Act III, Jonah said, "I don't like this play." But later, he remembered some funny bit of action that Bottom performed during the play-within-a-play.
We also saw a beautiful film about Jane Goodall, and Jonah now sleeps with a chimp (stuffed). At the Science Museum, he also got to put a baggie on his hand and squeeze the heart and lungs of a sheep (dead).
Boston is Joytown to me, my sis having lived there for some time. She and her partner, Pam, have been married a couple of years now and have three lovely daughters. Joy and Pam are exceptional hosts, the most human of Boston baked beings.
Re: their being married... at the penguin exhibit in the New England Aquarium, I asked about same-sex pairs. The guy wading around in the big penguin enclosure said he'd heard of same-sex pairs nesting and tending eggs, but that these particular penguins seemed to confine their same-sex pairings to grooming, preening, and crapping on rocks together--in other words, he hadn't observed any actual homosexual mating--"even though this is Massachusetts." That got a good laugh from the crowd. Massachusetts is hip.
Here's Jonah, with Joy's daughter Grace, and a couple of dixie-cup frozen pop thingies at the end of a long day. Grace is ten, taller than Penny, and a sports nut, just as my sister was in her youth. I think this was the last night before flying back home on Tuesday.
Anyway, upon my return, I note the absence of beaches in Kansas City. And I note that midsummer is gone, that school starts in exactly two weeks, that a vacation is but a play-within-a-play. Our castles are crumbling. Lord, what fools we mortals be.