Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Talk of a freer time but was it really so

My daughter asked what it was like to spend summers in the mountains. It was a different time as there were no computers or cell phones. The children would walk the woods with no fear as Bears were gone. It was before the era of the Eastern Coyote.

On our trips the eight year olds traveled with Rusty. Rusty was mostly Shepperd with some collie mixed in. I never saw a dog that loved kids so much. We would walk through the woods like it was a  mini Eden. Look at Waterfalls and visit tiny caves, but Rusty was always there watching the group never far.

The children walked into a meadow and gentle Rusty looked different. There was a huge Black dog snarling at the frightened children. Rusty ran forward and chased the much larger dog. The larger dog ran, but Rusty returned to us as soon as it was safe. He was far better than any baby sitter. We never had to put a leash on him as it may sound funny but Rusty was guiding the kids like a flock of sheep.

I told my daughter that we never had a little dog like the Maltese, but even at home Rusty was special and never far from the children. Even as an old dog he would play like one of the toy breeds. I remember being so sad the summer he passed.
Chico was a good dog a black lab- cocker spaniel mix. The kids were older and the walks longer. He would venture off bring a woodchuck back. He was there when you needed him, but not much more. Maybe if he didn't follow such a great dog we would have appreciated him more. Chico would get mischievous
and steal the baseball and we would chase him.

There wasn't much there just a few baseball a great dog clean swimming holes, warm camp fires and gooey marshmallows. The night time had CBS radio mystery theatre that we could get on a huge tube radio.
My uncles would talk of WW1, WW2 and Korea. My grandfather would come up and fell huge trees and make items with the wood. He would talk of his lost relatives and his time in the cavalry and how he hated horses.

The food was all home cooked from scratch and plentiful. We would sneak steaks to Rusty.

May sound funny, but there wasn't many items and if my daughter looked at us she would think we were poor. People just lived differently. Listening to your Uncle describe WW1 was more entertaining than watching a silly kids show. It was a different time a freer time when parents didn't worry as much. You went away with your extended family and enjoyed the open spaces.

Different time and for me a better time. Sometimes, I look around and wonder if I imagined those days.
It was a better time to be a kid in the twilight of the dusk of the Borscht Belt days of the Catskills. I would get to be an early 20 something in the last moments the resorts were healthy. I would see them as guest and worker. Its sad to see empty lots where hotels thrived and abandoned buildings.

Nothing lasts forever and I am sorry my daughter will never know the land or magesty of the hotels. The place is a shambles and only the woods have survived. The Black Bear and Coyote roam the woods and poor people dwell in the vacation homes.

My dream is to retire to Western Maine along the Kennebec and winer in Berbice Guyana away from the coast. I could travel both rivers with a simple craft. Grow Mulberries and Make Maple Syrup in ME and have fruit and rubber trees in Guyana.

I no longer dream of the big car or the big home. I dream of the hamock and open sky. I dream of a campfire and soft music and seeing the stars at night. I dream of the freedom to read great epics and perhaps a chance to pen one of my own.

I think of stronger families and friendships of those days. Marriages lasted and people didn't look over their shoulder for impending pinkslips. We have computers and gadgets, but I wouldn't trade one day of those warm memories for the progress.

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