Posted tagged ‘New Hampshire’

“Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished.”

May 16, 2016

Home! Gracie and I got home late yesterday afternoon. It had been a wonderful visit for both of us. Gracie had Bill who walked her every day and Peg who fed her goodies. Peg and I went to the glass blowing shop where I bought some Christmas presents and to a wonderful craft fair where I bought more presents and some stocking stuffers. I also bought myself a few things, that seemed only right. All the area around Mont Vernon where Bill and Peg live is lovely. There are dairy farms, lots of wooded areas and old houses, big old houses. A few miles from their house is a wonderful view from the top of a hill. Stretched out before me were hills, small hills, tall hills and some hills tall enough to be called small mountains. The hills were different color greens and looked like a landscape painted on canvas. The sky was blue and the clouds had the most wonderful shapes. I stopped for a few minutes at the top of the hill to take in that wonderful view.

We laughed a lot, Bill, Peg and I. We share so many memories and have made a few more. Bill said he always wondered how they knew I was coming to visit them in Tafo, in Ghana. I always wondered the same thing. We figured it must have by mail, and in Ghana it was truly snail mail. I used to visit them on my way home from somewhere, usually Togo. I always took the train. They moved to my school for our second year. That’s when we had so many adventures.

The trees near Boston and on the South Shore are filled with leaves. I could see them rippling and turning when the wind blew, but as I continued toward the cape, the trees got barer. By the time I crossed the bridge, I was seeing trees with buds and tiny new leaves. Spring is slow to come to Cape Cod.

A dump run is coming up, and I have a wash to do. Everything is as it was.

“To be with old friends is very warming and comforting.”

May 12, 2016

I’ve had three days of bliss thanks to warm weather, a bright sun and the stirrings of spring. The days have been in the mid 60’s while the nights are still warmish in the mid-40’s. I had my windows opened yesterday and left my bedroom window open all night. The air smelled new and chased away the winter. I left my sweatshirt at home when I did my errands yesterday.

Today will be a short entry. Gracie and I are heading north to New Hampshire to see my friends Bill and Peg. They date back to Peace Corps days, and we were neighbors our second year in Ghana. We had all sorts of adventures and traveled together on school holidays. I knew they were kindred spirits the first day we met. They were also fellow truants when we started to skip lectures to see Philadelphia.

They come down here in the fall, but this year will be different as the three of us are going back to Ghana together. Their Cape visit will have to be either earlier or later than usual. I play the tour guide when they come down. Bill had never been to Cape Cod before his visit to me.

Gracie will be with me. She loves visiting them. Bill takes her on long walks and Peg feeds her. The dog makes herself at home climbing and sleeping on the couch near Peg.

I won’t be writing again until Monday except for an update or two. Enjoy the spring weather!

“It was not an outhouse resting upon the imagination. It was reality.”

June 18, 2015

Okay, we’re finally home. Gracie and I decided to stay an extra day. Her decision was quick: she got an hour walk every day with Bill. She loved it and left her calling card everywhere they walked on the road. All of Mont Vernon, New Hampshire knows Gracie was there. Peg was forever treating Gracie to ham and other tidbits. Gracie followed Peg and Bill each time one of them moved. I was so spoiled by their care and affection and the wonderful food Peg made that I was almost tempted to follow them too.

Bill, Peg and I were in Ghana together. We met during the week in Philadelphia before we left for training. I joke with them that I was lucky enough to find two people willing to skip out on lectures and presentations. We toured Philadelphia instead. I swear they tempted me off the straight and narrow. They, of course, blame me.

They were supposed to be posted 100 miles from me in Tamale, the capital of the Northern Region. I was posted to Bolgatanga, the capital of the Upper Region. Given the small number of volunteers in the Northern and Upper Regions the 100 mile proximity would have made them my neighbors, but Peg found out she was pregnant. Peace Corps decided to let them stay but they were moved closer to Accra and the Peace Corps office to a town called Tafo. I visited them and their son Kevin on my way home from Accra, Ghana’s capital, every time I went. They lived without running water and had their own outhouse in the row of outhouses at the back of their building. That’s where I met the night soil man. I was sitting there when I heard a noise from below. I got up and looked down. A man’s head popped in the hole and looked up at me. He said, “Hello, madam,” as he emptied then replaced the night soil bucket. It is still the most interesting first encounter I’ve ever had.

“We’ll be Friends Forever, won’t we, Pooh?’ asked Piglet. Even longer,’ Pooh answered.”

October 22, 2012

The weather, other than Friday’s rain, was lovely all weekend. Though I had missed the peak foliage in New Hampshire, in Mont Vernon, there was still enough color to make every view spectacular especially the one from the top of a hill close to Bill and Peg’s house. Stretched out in front of me were rows and rows of trees in reds and yellows. The whole scene, unblemished by wires or houses or roads, made me think impressionism, of a panoramic painting left as a gift for all of us.

Gracie, other than when she jumped out of the car and started running up and down the street as soon as we arrived, was a perfect guest. Bill walked her all over including a 2 and 1/2 mile hike on Saturday and a shorter but more memorable walk on Sunday when Gracie saw her first porcupine and was unfazed. By the end of the weekend, she had settled right in and on Sunday morning was stretched on the couch between Peg and me with her head resting on Peg while she napped and snored.

I hadn’t seen my friends in forty-one years. We were in Bolga together for a year and have the most amazing shared memories. We even have many of the same pictures, and their living room has several of the same Ghanaian crafts I have in mine. Our reunion was seamless, as if I had been with them all along in time. We laughed a lot remembering things like our motorcycle accidents, his and mine were both caused by goats, and the trips we took together to Ouagadougou, Togo and Benin, which was Dahomey in our day. We had dinner together most nights in Bolga, and Bill remembered endless meals of goat. In one picture of theirs, both our motorcycles, his red and mine grey, were parked in front of their side of the duplex. Bill asked why I had parked there as if we could conjure the memory, as if it were just a few weeks ago. The weekend made me realize that Bill and Peg are the dear friends I’ve held tightly in my memories all these years, older, but mostly unchanged.

“Only he that has traveled the road knows where the holes are deep”

October 19, 2012

When I woke up, I looked out my bedroom window and saw a grey day and the possibility of rain. The breeze was strong enough to sway branches. I let Gracie out and followed her onto the deck. I was surprised by how warm it was.

Today I am going to New Hampshire for the weekend. Last night I wrote out my list of what I need. Because Gracie is coming with me, I also did a dog list. It is longer than mine. I don’t know if I’ll be able to post this weekend, but I am bringing my trusty Mac in hopes that I can. Please check!

When I came downstairs this morning, I noticed a plant had fallen off the windowsill. Pieces of pottery, both chunks and shards, and dirt were strewn in the hall and about the tile floor. It must have made a lot of noise when it fell. I heard nothing. I slept right through it. I also think Gracie slept through it. I’d like to think her ears are discriminatory, and she knew there was no danger. After all, she does bark at the UPS man. Of course, on a day when I have stuff to finish before I hit the road, a plant must fall though fall is too gentle to describe the event. The pot must smash. The dirt must be strewn about, wet dirt as the plants got watered yesterday, dirt which settles in the grooves of the tile floor necessitating an on my hands and knees cleaning, all before my first cup of coffee. I was reminded of the number one travel adage: nothing goes as planned.

I have my directions and a pretty good idea of where I’m going to a certain point. My sister heard the directions and reminded me the route is near the mall. That’s all I needed. Travel adage number two: roads are identified by their stores, not their numbers.

This is Gracie’s first overnight. I’d like to think I’ve covered all the contingencies: bells for the door so I know when she wants out, plenty of food, her halter so no slipping out of the collar and treats galore. I just hope travel adage number three never happens: expect the unexpected!

“I confess freely to you, I could never look long upon a monkey, without very mortifying reflections”

May 31, 2012

Today is a lovely day with sun, a breeze and blue skies. Gracie is out on the lounge having her morning nap in the shade of the oak tree. Dogs do know how best to enjoy themselves.

Today I have a few errands then I can sit back down and read. My newest read is Defending Jacob.

On the bear front: he is now in Dennis. The black bear was sighted near the Dennis golf course yesterday and according to all reports is still on the move. The sightings are very early morning and at night. Fish and Wildlife as well as the local police have the bear’s best interests at heart and are hoping to keep him safe. If there are problems, he will be moved but only as a last resort. The bear has a twitter account if you want to keep tabs: The Cape Cod Bear or @bearswimmer.

When I was a kid, I never saw much wildlife in the local woods. Maybe a skunk or two came our way but that was about it. Here on the Cape, besides the common skunks, opossums and raccoons, I’ve seen foxes and coyotes, and wild turkeys are now pretty common. One night a deer ran across the street in front of my car a couple of blocks from here and another hit the car while we were driving on the highway. White-tailed rabbits sit in my front yard and drive Gracie crazy. They just stare and she tries to jump the fence.

I remember seeing my first elephant at Benson’s Wild Animal Farm in New Hampshire. We even got to ride on it. I know I told these Benson stories a long time back, but I enjoy them so much they’re worth a second time. My parents told me that on one visit the crowd was around the baboon cage, and they were roaring with laughter when they got sprayed by the baboon. My father said he and my mother watched a while and saw the baboon urinate then fill his mouth and spray the crowd who again roared with laughter. My parents did too but for a different reason.

My favorite incident I remember perfectly well. We were at the round monkey cage, and my brother who was probably 3 or 4 ducked under the rail and got right beside the cage. A monkey grabbed his arm and tried to pull him inside. I believed back then when I was the tender age of 4 or 5 that the monkey had recognized lost kin. My brother screamed until my father yanked his arm away from the monkey who was dearly hoping to add to her family. If I close my eyes, I can see the cage, the monkey and my brother wearing shorts and a striped shirt and being pulled so that his body was flush with the cage. I lived with making fun of him for years on that one incident. It was like a gift wrapped in bright paper and flowing ribbons.

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