kind o long story Poland Springs, ME My husband and I took the babies to Poland Springs, Maine two weekends ago. We have a friend whose family owns a shack on a lake up there. Asad, had gone up a few weeks before with Larry who had been trying to get him to come up for about 10 years. He came back rested, clear-eyed and driven to paddle his boys around in a canoe. So a week later he said, let's go, let's just do it. We had fruit flies in the kitchen and I could not find the source. The laundry was piled to the ceiling + there were projects pending and client's whining & the baby had a cold. But I looked around and said Maine's got to be healthier than this dump and we went. We bought fruit bars and juice boxes and a spray bottle to squirt the kids down since the air conditioning in our new-used mini-van wasn't working. I about lost my nerve, trying to pack for the trip, knowing I would forget something. But gathered my courage and said "screw it- we've got to get out of here". I dumped whole hog, into the third back seat, deciding if I forget anything, we'd buy it there.
On the way up, Asad said, "don't worry if Larry's relatives stop by." I said, "why would I worry?." He said, "they're nice simple people." I said, "I know nice simple people. Nice simple people, love me." It was a little over two hours up. The kids thoroughly enjoyed the spray bottle and we sang golden oldies songs out loud. "What would you say, if I turned and something away? Something know how you feel when your love for me is real"- Asad thought of flight school in Florida and I remembered 11th grade. We get there and it is soo pretty. Not unlike North Carolina. Not unlike most of the country- but real different from Boston. We get out of the car and the kids run for the lake. We wade in and splash, before doing anything else. When we look back at the shack/cabin we find a couple sitting out on the deck. We approach- me thinking "oh, some of Larry's Maine relatives, visiting." My husband knowing differently. They have a big black Labrador retriever- Griffin or Griffith- I never found out which. And they are Larry's nephew and his new wife also from Boston who didn't find out we would be there until earlier this morning around the time they hit New Hampshire and thought to check in with Larry who told them we would be up too, but don't worry because we're nice people. We get a tour of the cabin and it is small and rustic and very cute. There are no real walls between the bedrooms- just those curtain things which don't quite close. In the bedroom the couple have already staked out- the one you have to go through to get to the bathroom- there is a beautiful down comforter on the bed and lots of pretty smelling matching makeup bags on the dresser. Back outside, Asad takes Awais over to look for the canoe. A snake is sunning on top. The nephew assures Asad it's not poisonous. Asad tries to remove it with a stick and it rears up to strike. Awais wants to know if there are sharks in the lake and lions in the forest. I get to tell him- this is what real woods are like. The children become wild men, both of them running full on into the lake. Baby Haaris falls in face first, over and over again- the game is "save me from drowning". The lab runs around trying to get someone to accept a slimy stick from him- then the ball- then the stick. He's the real thing- water dog/ retriever. The nephew and the wife are a pretty couple, but a little tense. They've just returned from a vacation in Puerto Rico. I tell myself, "it's o.k. They just had a romantic getaway.- It's o.k. she teaches sixth grade, he's from a big extended family and used to kids. If they wanted time alone they should have called Larry & checked it out. I'm not going to feel like I'm intruding. Not going to do it." The nephew asks me, "so why didn't you all come up with Asad last time?" I tell him, "Asad needed a little break, and you know we're not a very relaxing crowd". The nephew blinks. Back at the lake the boys are having a ball. These are children raised up with the sounds of car alarms and neighbors fighting. Here it is quiet and lovely and fresh and clean. The water is perfect. The couple change out of their suites and tell us they are going to visit friends. While they are gone, we get out the canoe & paddle around, we swim, we throw the stick to G. about a million times. My husband tricks both children into going under water. They forgive him. "Look at me!" my husband says, "I'm getting to be a real father!" At some point we take a break back at the shack. I take a closer look around. There is a lovely checkered tablecloth and a glass jar of fresh daisies. On the cabinet a bottle of wine. In the refrigerator is a huge slab of imported cheese. We find stonewater crackers. My husband tells me, "Larry says they've been having problems. The trip to Puerto Rico was spur of the moment. But I tell you if you can't make it work there, I don't know where it'll work." 4 hours later they are back. They drive up just as I've put G.'s water bowl out of reach of my 18 month old (also out of reach of G.) The nephew goes to put on his bathing suite, the wife looks at the bowl. Asad offers to cook dinner for everyone. He's a really great cook, he suggests grilled salmon & everyone talks about food for a while. The baby is getting cranky. He's already had a big day. I set up the playpen and try to settle him down for a rest. He cries. Awais wants to be naked. Which might not be a problem, except he likes to jump into laps and that gets a little awkward with strangers. I chase him down and wrestle him into a pair of shorts. The couple go to the lake. The nephew is in the water and his wife stands on the shore above him, arms crossed. I tell Asad, "I think they're fighting." Asad looks and says "you're right. You're so good at reading people. Larry told me they've been having problems." "You told me that, already"- I say.