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September 2004 Archives

September 1, 2004

All Together Now

Family and cousins came from all over. The last puzzle pieces arrived from the West Coast to be joined into a picture of the lighthouse at Brant Point, the spot where you throw two pennies from the ferry to guarantee a return to the island. Tables, linens and dishware were rented, a tent was put up, flowers were arranged, appetizers prepared, sirloin grilled, lobsters delivered, and champagne glasses raised when everyone gathered on a perfect summer evening to celebrate. The bugs went elsewhere, and the coolness of evening waited for the event to wind down before arriving. Two-year old Tatum and eighty-eight year old ggpa, along with everyone in between, toasted the foresight that provided the 'big' and 'little' houses twenty-five years ago, as a place for us all to gather. Reminiscing about beach trips, birthdays at the Sweet Shoppe and nightly games of flashlight tag, older cousins drank together while younger cousins played together and started their own traditions of outdoor showers and lunches on the lawn. And at the end of the evening we shared the anniversary cake and celebrated 64-years of the marriage that had started it all, affirming for everyone, the strength and love in our family connections.

Weekend and party pictures show what it all looked like.

During the winter, if anyone wants to recreate a bit of that party and family spirit, just buy a bottle of champagne and age-appropriate sparkling lemonade to raise a toast while eating the tartlets that seemed to be such a big hit. Here's the recipe, and don't be shocked by the unexpected ingredient. You know they're really a gourmet treat.

Mushroom and Onion Marmalade Tartlets
    2 tbsp. olive oil 1 large onion, chopped 1-1/2 c. finely chopped mushrooms 1 tbsp. sugar leaves from 2-3 sprigs of thyme 12 slices Wonder bread or equal (the secret ingredient) unsalted butter, softened for spreading 2-1/2 c. grated Gruyere or Cheddar cheese kosher salt or sea salt and freshly ground pepper
    a 2-inch glass or plain cookie cutter two nonstick 12-cup bun pans or shallow muffin pans
    Makes 24

Heat the olive oil in a skillet, add the onions, and saute until softened and lightly golden. (The longer you cook them and the browner they get, the sweeter they'll be.) Sprinkle the sugar on top and season with salt and pepper. Add the mushrooms and thyme and cook over a high heat until the mushrooms have softened, about 5-minutes.

Using the top of the glass or cookie cutter, stamp out circles from the bread. (The glass flattens the bread at the edges, which will make the tartlets crisper.) Lightly spread butter on one side of each circle, then use to line the pan, butter side down, and press firmly into place.

Put teaspoonsfuls of the mushroom mixture in the bread cups and top with the grated cheese. Bake in a preheated oven at 425 degrees for about 10-15 minutes until golden and bubbling. Serve hot.

Alternatively, let cool, then warm through before serving.

September 15, 2004

Long Time Coming

a rainy day in the Public GardenWhew! It's been quite some time since my last post. A series of blue-sky days with a certain crispness to them, have announced that it's really fall. Just a week ago though, it was still warm enough to feel like summer. Walking from a doctor's appointment at Mass General to Newbury Street for a haircut, I got caught in a heavy downpour as I crossed through the Public Garden. Because it was so nice and warm I didn't rush for shelter and instead, pulled out my camera. As my sandals got squishier and squishier, and my umbrella started to leak, I had fun taking pictures and just disregarding the rain. My favorite shot is this one with the bouncing raindrops.

September 22, 2004

A Summer Restrospective - Part 1

One weekend instead of going to Nantucket, Meg and I drove up to Vermont for the Aloha 100th reunion. Every summer during college I worked as a counselor at Aloha Hive, so when Meg and Michael were old enough, we sent them both off to camp - Meg at Aloha and Michael at the brother camp, Lanakila. For this reunion weekend though, I got to be a camper. I shared a tent with my college roommate, Harriet, the person who had recommended me for the job at Hive, while Meg and Harriet's daughter, Holly, were in the next tent. They had also been campers and counselors together, as well as friends when we shared a ski house rental for several years. The hillside tent seemed quite familiar, just a lot steeper and a lot darker than it used to be. But keeping the tent flaps up, even through the first night's rainstorm, brought back the magic of camp and how that spirit was undampened by nature at its wettest.

The weekend was full of camp activities but the best part was just talking, talking, talking, with women I knew as a counselor, with others who had been my campers, with counselors and friends of Meg's, and especially with people I hadn't even known before the weekend. With a camp connection to start, an incredible number of other connections followed in the conversations, indicating the breadth of the Aloha family.

As a swimming counselor I never did much hiking so, after a pancake breakfast on Winships hill up above the camp, I wasn't that interested when people gathered for an additional climb up to 'the Bluff'. Somehow though, as the last folks started up, I joined in, walking along with two women who had been at camp with Meg. The trail led up through shady woods that were finally brightened with slices of sunshine after the weekend's rain. As we climbed along and passed some of the others, I became aware of a certain Aloha determination to participate fully regardless of age or physical circumstances. Continuing along, someone asked if anyone was making this climb for the first time, so of course I answered yes. Camp tradition says that the first time climber should be blindfolded just before reaching the top, and then guided up to the bluff where the blindfold would then be removed. Rather than an actual blindfold I opted for simply keeping my eyes closed and started out with my guide holding my elbow. At first, whenever she said, 'Be careful, there's a root', I'd just look down to be sure I avoided it. As we kept going though, I got more into relying on my guide's warning words and feeling the ground with my foot before taking each step, so I just kept my eyes tightly shut. We continued on for some time this way, with her hand on my elbow and me with my eyes shut, until it became very comfortable and almost easy. When we started to slow down I sensed we were close to the top and suddenly remembered to tell my guide that I was deathly afraid of heights. She calmly mentioned it was too late for that, and that I should stand absolutely still. I should not step forward and I should not step backward, just remain motionless and, when I was ready, open my eyes.

I hesitated a bit, planted myself and opened my eyes. There I was, halfway out on a granite ledge that was maybe eight feet long and barely two-feet wide, with a thousand foot drop staight down to where I could see the camp below. Behind me was another drop off, though a less spectacular hundred feet to a pile of rocks. Stretching out in front of me, beyond the camp I could see the whole lake, and beyond that, several of the White Mountains that others back at the edge of the woods were trying to identify by name. Getting out to the middle of that ledge would never have happened if my eyes had been open for the whole climb. On a New York visit, I couldn't even get myself to walk out on the balcony to see the spectacular view of the Empire State Building. It was only with eyes shut that I could possibly have walked out onto that bluff to share this Aloha tradition. So thanks, Anne Downey, for being my guide and making my reunion weekend another step in the continuing series of growth experiences that are part of Aloha.

September 30, 2004

A Summer Restrospective - Part 2

shadow of himselfWhile we spent lots of time on the boat to Nantucket this summer, it never got boring. We took photo after photo of the ocean, in rainstorms, at sunset, and whenever a boat passed and was silhouetted against the sun. This shot of Peter is the opposite of that, with the light at his back to silhouette him against the stack of the Eagle. I love the way the gray and blue colors make it look old, and almost like a drawing rather than a photo.

About September 2004

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