TandemHearts

A Weekend in Maine

February 16th, 2008

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While Thom was enjoying a warm weekend in California and going mountain biking, I was freezing in Maine. I flew back to Maine for my grandmother’s memorial service. My gram was 99 years old when she passed away. She saw so many changes in the world and she left a real mark on it. Her eternal optimism, zest for life and incredible work ethic lives on in her grandchildren and great grandchildren. Her service was held in the church she and my late grandfather were married in. After the service, the church ladies had a lunch buffet for friends and family. It gave me a chance to get to know one of my cousins, Julie, whom I had not seen in 25 years or more.

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My cousin Julie raises oxen. I’ve always been a little leery around cows. Yes, my grandparents raised them, but they always seemed so big and kind of clueless. Julie made me see bovines in a slightly different way. After the service on Saturday, my sister Vicki, my niece Katie and I went to visit Julie and her oxen. Julie has four pair ranging in age from about 6 months to over twenty years old. I was amazed at how these huge animals would obey her voice given commands. I was surprised to discover that they have distinct personalities. I don’t know that I will ever be at ease around cattle, but I will no longer regard them as clueless creatures.

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While we were at Julie’s it begin to snow, big, wet fluffy flakes of snow. I think we received six – eight inches of snow Saturday – perfect snowman making snow. Sometimes the snow is just too dry to make snowmen with; these flakes were perfect. Katie and I were staying with my oldest sister, Valerie. Katie has lived in Texas since she was young and she couldn’t remember ever making a snowman. I decided that we should make two snow people and dress them up as our grandparents. We had such fun planning what would go on them. Val had three of gram’s aprons and her eyeglasses. Allyn, Val’s husband, lent us marbles to use for eyes and the mouths. Vicki was driving over from Portland so she was tasked with bringing us carrots for noses and she had a pair of overalls for grandpa. We were thrilled with the result.

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8 Note those huge icicles on Val’s house. I never did get a chance to play with them.

Somehow it occurred to me that if Katie had never made a snowman, she had probably never been sledding either. Val lives at the top of a hill above a mill pond. I looked at the hill, looked at the pond, looked at the hill again. It seemed a little steep, but as long as the pond was truly frozen at our end… stopping the sled shouldn’t be too hard. Val and Allyn assured me multiple times that the ice was sufficiently frozen at our end. I kept asking because over by dam was open water. I really didn’t want to end up in the water.

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Katie liked my idea and we borrowed a sled from the girl across the street. I made the first track and we all took turns going down the hill. We even convinced Val to go. It was a blast! I don’t know the last time I have so enjoyed the snow. Having some quality time, hanging out with my sisters and my niece was fantastic. The best part, when we were cold and wet and ready to be done, we just walked into the house and Val had hot hamburger soup and freshly made cornbread for us. HmmmHmmm… aren’t big sisters great?

As always, the photos link to the full gallery.

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