Thursday, July 15, 2010

Squirrel Thoughts - Old

Dennis and I are silent as we drive along until . . . SQUIRREL!

Me: "Stop the car! Now!"
Him: "What? What's wrong?"
Me: "Cloud mountains. Must. Take. Picture."

Later at Hartwick Pines, I snap pictures of every sign and every display. A little research for my WIP. I linger in the bunkhouse and imagine my great-great-grandfather's decor over and on his bunk that undoubtedly included his hammered dulcimer wrapped in burlap at the foot. I stop to write down things like Sweet Dark Burly Tobacco, Woman's Heart Tobacco, Dr. Sages Catarrah Remedy, and Bradley-Metcalf (Makers of Good Shoes Since 1843.) I snap more pictures.

Me: "Does my taking so many pictures bug you?"
Him: "No. Not really. Well, sometimes, it gets old."

Old? Did he just call me OLD?

We walk the Old-Growth Trail, taking us back to a time when "White Pine Was King" and note the "last remnants of Michigan's virgin white pine forest" and gaze upon the "Monarch's" remains. The Monarch is the "most famous tree" in the park.

"Unfortunately, the Monarch lost its live crown in a wind storm in 1992 and died four years later. Before the storm, the Monarch stood 155 feet tall with a circumference of 12 feet. It was about 325 years old when it died. We don't know when the rest of the Monarch will come tumbling down. It could be today, next week or years from now."

We contemplate the fallen crown on the ground and raise our eyes to the remaining trunk.

The Monarch is/was old. And none of us know when we will come tumbling down, either. Even if we're not "old."

Later we stop in front of the house I grew up in. The one my dad built on to the front of our six-room motel. The "little house" is still there, too--four rooms and a screened porch--that housed five of us until my parents decided that I, as the oldest, needed my own personal space and moved me into one of the motel rooms.

We don't ask to walk down to "our" lakefront, but we drive around to the other side of the horseshoe (Horseshoe Lake), and I remember memories from long ago. And there, still, are the lily pads I loved, topped with the yellow blooms that always held bugs. I used to pick bouquets from the boat.

I hung out on the lake and in the woods alone when I was a kid. I made "fern forts," by stomping some ferns down flat leaving leafy walls, had little picnics. I take pictures of some of "my" ferns. They seemed a lot taller back then.

When I was young.


We're "up north" this week to visit family and hang out at Alpenfest--the 46th year. I was the third queen in 1967.  And yes, the family teases me about being an "old queen." I prefer the term, "past queen." My mom likes to say I'm the "queen who became a King." When I meet people in town, I love being told I don't look "that old."

Speaking of old, those high-speed hand dryers scare me. I envision them stealing my skin's elasticity leaving my hands looking like overstretched crepe paper that never returns to its original shape.


I leave you with a video of Dennis and me on longer trips. We may be old. But we can still have fun.

And be sure to check out all today's other pleasantly disturbed posts over at
Duane Scott's Pleasantly Disturbed Blog Carnival

Copyright © 2010 by Sandra Heska King


  1. Oh my goodness, that's my favorite video of all time!!! I swear I'm related to that old woman. I mean, oldER woman.

  2. You aren't old, oh Queen who became King. What are these high speed hair dryers of which you speak?

  3. I love Hartwick Pines. We went up last summer and loved it!

  4. Beautiful and funny...thanks for sharing!

  5. Thanks for the laugh! It sure beats weeding the garden...
    Have a good weekend!
    Karen :)

  6. "And none of us know when we will come tumbling down, either"

    I love this! No one knows, only the Father, so we live each day, take in what we can, and pray that He be glorified.

  7. Hi Sandra -

    I'm glad I'm not the only one yearning to re-visit my old hometown. :)


  8. @Brenda: I never tire of watching it!

    @Helen: Those hand dryers in some restrooms.

    @Jody: I used to go there every year as a kid. Last day of school field trip for the entire school (all 50 of us.) I didn't appreciate it as much as now.

    @Jay: Thanks.

    @Lia: Welcome! Glad you enjoyed. Come again. :)

    @Karen: I'm afraid to see what my garden looks like when I get back home!

    @Karin: Amen.

    @Susan: I go back every few years. Lots of memories. My grandma's house is gone, though. And my mom's childhood home is a funeral home parking lot. :(

  9. Snady, my kids and I love anything antiboredom, and the video was definitely that.

    Not that *I* ever have time to get bored ...


  10. Seriously... so good fun happening here! Tell your husband he can just get over it. You are there to stay.

    And your camera is too.

    The video? Loved it.

  11. Lots of wonderful memories and reminiscing here... loved it! I was born and raised in Vancouver, Canada so no there are no small town memories for me. But the family did go north to holiday on the very lake where we now have our little cabin. I'm glad we're helping our children make rural memories to cherish with the grandkidlets! (And Sandra, we are never *old*. Women don't get old!)

  12. Oh man, this just cracked me up!