Sunday, September 11, 2011

After Lanakila

The best time of the day is 6:00 AM.  Coffee is made and there is time to sit on Main House porch and listen to Brook running after a full night of heavy rain.  The boys of Lanakila still sleep.  Brook runs down past Health House, Woodcraft and Exploring.  Running with the spirit.  The spirit that provides the faith that Lanakila will be here in another 90 years.

There will be at least one counselor (a direct descendent of Doug Pilcher) who will have two bowls of cereal and two pitchers of milk served to him in bed.

There will be a bugler.  It may not be Hans or Fraser but someone will blow reveille.  Probably really badly.  Mostly likely not recognizable as reveille, but boys and young men will still get up.  Some will brush their teeth, some will not.  All will coming charging to breakfast.

During the first week of camp at least one Brooksider will miss his Dad but will be quickly and firmly and lovingly made to feel part of a community by someone with a heart as big as Angus Davidson's.

Dogs belonging to no one and everyone, will wander into and be shooed out of the dining room.  The dining room with the piano played by someone who knows the power of music to lift hearts towards the heavens.  Probably someone whose Grandfather was prepped for chapel by Robbie Pennoyer.

There will be a chef who will not prepare enough grilled cheese sandwiches.  And a group of Bridgers who are terrible dishwashers but incredible rat-tailers.

Jenn Grossman's mist will hover over Lake Morey's surface and I will sit on Main House porch with a cup of coffee and listen.

Boys and young men will return next year and Brook will still run down past Health House, Woodcraft and Exploring.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Me, Irene, Tula and the iRobot Roomba

I left camp as Hurricane Irene was making her way up the East Coast not really sure of direction or where landing would be.  Both me and Irene.  We both lit about the same time, me back in Middlebury for a short while and she, briefly but very efficiently as hurricanes go in Stockbridge, Rochester, Gaysville and numerous other communities.  Reeking of devastation and vandalizing our notion of final resting spot;  what will become for those of us close to her as “our hurricane”, left behind a lot of mud in the wrong places, dead cows and substations of power grossly downstream.  But there was the unintended heroic consequence that pointed out why places like Stockbridge, Rochester, Gaysville and others are called communities.
Knock knock.
Who’s there?
I think Irene.
I think Irene who?
I think Irene the lottery, my home isn’t upside down.
So after a couple of days at my sister’s house in Cornwall and a hurricane extended trip to New York, New York (the city so confused they had to name it twice) to move daughter Grady from Brooklyn to her new life as a student at NYU I find myself with 4 or 5 days of not a whole lot to do other than drink beer, watch the Lake Dunmore shoreline slide back into position and keep an eye on Tula.  
Tula is Ashley’s dog and is the heir to the Miss Bindergarten fortune.  I have been tasked as a dogsitter which in this instance is not that taxing a task.  Food twice a day, a walk every morning which she could do in her sleep and throwing a tennis ball into the lake.  Throwing the ball is the hardest part of the job because throwing it too far results in a look of yeah right.  “Woof woof” (trans: “There’s a good strong wind blowing into shore, let’s let that take care of things shall we?”)
There is no internet access (something which has jumped ahead of access to healthcare on my list of great job benefits) and no TV.  But who cares.  I’ve got me an iRobot named Roomba.  More precisely Roomba the Model 400 vacuum cleaning robot.  This little bad boy “Cleans I don’t have to.”  And is quite mesmerizing as he bumps his way around the room like a severely drunk dancer at a very white wedding.  (What is about the culture in which I matured that names bad things like hurricanes for women and assigns maleness to modern life-altering wonders?)  Better than any Jim Carey movie, I watch endlessly, trying in vain to figure out the algorithm that guides Roomba.  Yo stupid!  Lift your feet outta the way.  Tula at least is smart enough to leave the room when Roomba fires up.  Out of the room and up on a bed.  “Woof, woof, woof” (trans: “Call me when you learn how to climb bedspreads.”)
Knock knock.
Who’s there?
Irobot who?
Irobot out to pick up the tennis ball because the wind changed direction.  
So it’s 4 or 5 days after Irene and Tula, Roomba and I await the arrival of another storm due to deposit up to 4 inches of rain.  The Cherokee have a saying that roughly translates as “don’t piss off Mother Nature”.  Actually I made that up.  What do I know of the Cherokee.  But it seems like something a culture with more sense than ours would say.    
So we wait.  Woof, woof, woof, woof. (trans: Roomba!  Get your ass out of that corner and bring Peter another beer.)
Love you all.  Peace.  Peter