July 16, 2009
Going to town
My parents’ camp hasn’t changed much since I was a kid. The big marsh filled with cattails, the rock cliffs, and the old oak trees stay the same year after year. What changes mostly are the people: babies turning into toddlers, little kids turning into teenagers, and young adults like me suddenly realizing that I’m approaching fifty.
Even the little town near camp hasn’t changed a whole lot. The main street is a short road filled with bars, restaurants, and shops that sell gaudy tourist trinkets, with docks on either end of the road. When I was little, we kids used to get very excited about “going to town.” A short evening car ride would take us into the street jammed with neon lights and tanned tourists in white shorts. We’d stand in line to buy ice cream cones and then go to the town dock to look at the boats.
Then we might walk to the candy shop to buy saltwater taffy or fudge or perhaps a brown paper “surprise bag.” The owner of the store would say things like, “Be careful when you open that surprise bag. There could be a rat in there.” I was actually pretty old before I figured out that he was joking.
A walk to town usually ended up with a drive around the loop that brought us past an old church, a small hospital, and a park with a big pavilion that overlooked the river. Standing on the rock cliffs, we’d look across to an island that holds a castle – yes, a real stone castle like the type you’d see in Europe – that was built by a wealthy businessman many years ago.
Now that my kids are older and obsessed with playing Ultimate every spare minute, my husband and I found ourselves alone as we drove into town one night last week. I imagine that in the next stage of our life, we’ll be taking grandchildren to the ice cream shop and then walking down to the docks in the cool evening air.
Posted by jo(e)