Sunday, December 6, 2015

A Journey Into The Past

Connecticut River, looking towards Vermont. I swear that old log has been there since I was a kid.
When I was young, our family was very close. Weekends would be spent at one or the other of the grandparents' homes, holidays everyone would come to our house.

There were cousins, uncles and aunts. Sometimes all at once in a not very large house. But we all squeezed in, we were happy. At Thanksgiving and Christmas, the house was full. Lots of food, lots of people, lots of laughter. Those were good times.

Now I am older. Most of those voices I listened to growing up are silent now. Those of us who are left are scattered to the four winds. The older generation has passed on, the younger generation have their own lives. Pursuing jobs and careers we had to move on. I to the Air Force, my youngest brother to Texas, New York and now, finally, Boston. A cousin in Florida, another in Kentucky (last I heard), and two more, the oldest two, still in New Hampshire. My brothers and I are not that far apart, but not that close. Not "stop by a couple of times a week" close.

Growing up we all lived within twenty miles of each other. Less perhaps, it was such a long time ago, it's hard to remember. But the drives to get there were short. We were close emotionally and in distance.

When I went into the world and made my own family, I tried to keep the traditions alive, stay close, cherish each other. We stay close, but not in distance. Two of my kids live in California with their own small tribes. Each has two children. The thought of my four grandchildren being so far away is painful at times.

My middle kid lives in Alexandria, just outside DC. We visit her, she visits us, as often as we can. It's a bit of a trip but nowhere near as taxing as getting to California and back.

Now I understand why, after every visit home while in the Air Force, my father would get teary eyed when we would leave. Now I get it.

The Sunday after Thanksgiving, The WSO had made for us a plan. Once her sister had returned home there would be only five of us. The Missus Herself, The WSO and her two daughters and, naturally, Your Humble Scribe. The plan was to pile into the car, frightfully early, and drive up to New Hampshire to see my Mom. It was a good plan, other than the up and back all in one day.

Still and all, it was good to see my mother and good to see her holding her newest great-granddaughter. The visit was sublime, but all too short.

I do like the fact that the kids try and get together with each other, and with us, as often as their busy schedules let them. Being spread over a continent makes it hard but with modern air travel it's doable. Tiresome, but doable.

I had The WSO snap some photos of the trip back to Little Rhody. Actually just the short distance from where my Mom lives to where my "territory" as a kid ended. Near the small town where my Dad grew up, the darkening sky made her put the camera away.

But these photos remind me of a time when I was young, the world was new, and we all lived within twenty miles of each other.

Those memories echo still, they will until I draw my last breath.

Family is something to be cherished...

Another view of the river which separates Vermont and New Hampshire. She runs from Canada to the sea, not that far from where I live now. An old friend.

North Walpole, near where my Dad grew up. He didn't like people thinking he was from here. The local paper, in his obituary, said he went to school here. That would have annoyed him no end!
I like the way the sun seems to touch this mountain with fire. It's across the river from where I was born.
Bellows Falls, where my two brothers and I were born. Where my Uncle Charlie lived. Our high school sports rivals. A long time ago...
Another view, just a bit further on from the last. In the very old days, canoes had to be portaged around this area. The river drops about ten feet here. Hence the name, Bellows Falls.
There's that mountain again, the railroad here is active. I remember hearing the mournful whistles of the trains, off in the distance on a cold winter's night.
Those high tension lines and their towers caught my eye. So I had The WSO snap a photo.
Zoomed in, the towers look out over the river valley, saying farewell to the sun. It was a very pleasant day.


  1. You are old enough to remember steam locomotiv whistles? At 54, trains have always gone GRONK! with their air horns for me. For most of my lifeI have lived along the Milwaukee Road/Canadian Pacific, with 35 scheduled trains a day going past 100 feet from my house. Plus a morning Eastbound, and a evening Westbound EMPIRE BUILDER. Now I live in Baraboo, with one Wisconsin Southern train a day. There is something meet, right, and salutary about trains.

    1. I confess to a bit of artistic license when I said "whistle."

      We used to have a living train museum in these parts when I was a lad. Steam locomotives and all the trimmings. So I do know what a true steam whistle sounds like. Again, I claim artistic license.

      We should use more rail transport in this country. For long haul (sorry my trucker friends) it's cheaper and less expensive.

    2. We use trains when it makes sense. Along with the leadtime tradeoffs to consider, the cost curve crosses into favor of rail as loads get more dense. Boxes of beach balls make more sense by truck that coal cars.

    3. Makes perfect sense, thanks for the insight!

      (I live, I learn.)

  2. Fifty+ first cousins scattered to the winds yet none are strangers when we get together. Family ties are strong.

    1. That's a good thing. A really good thing.

      But you know that.


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