Dad and Ma are at work and we are having our “mud vacation” from school. There is just so much mud on Rowe Hill that someone said it is like a swamp and once you get into the ruts, you can’t get out. We go through this every year when spring starts to come. The nights are cool but the days are warm.
Curt and I are sitting at the kitchen table. He’s coloring in one of his books, which he loves to do. I just finished sweeping the floor for Ma and sometimes the old wooden floor is rough. It looks better than it did before I started.
I can’t remember when Curt was not with us, but I remember when Ma was in the hospital and brought him home!! Winnie Hanscom was living on Bird Hill in Locke Mills and I went to stay with her and her husband, Ray. I was a little upset to be away from home because I was only four years old and used to being with my older brothers. Winnie and Ray gave me a doll that was in the house when they moved there, so I played with that but I wasn’t happy. Then one day, Winnie told me that we were going to have a big surprise. Tomorrow was Christmas and we were going to Ray’s family in Newry! I did not know how we were going to go because there was no car. She said that was the big surprise.
Early the next morning, Winnie, Ray and I went to the railroad station near the bridge in Locke Mills. I was a little afraid because I had never seen a train but sometimes I had heard it from Greenwood Center. It finally came into sight, with big gushes of steam coming out the top and oh, the whistle when it came to the crossing!! I put my hands over my ears and Winnie told me it would be alright. When the train stopped, she helped me up the stairs and I handed my ticket to a nice man who smiled and asked me if it was my first train ride. Before I knew it, we were chugging up the track. I held tight on to Winnie’s hand because after awhile everything seemed to go by awful fast. Well, before you could say Jack Robinson, the train stopped and off we got in Newry, Maine! Now I could tell Ma and Dad I had a train ride! We had a wonderful day at the Hanscom house, but a very nice man gave us a ride back to Locke Mills, so I never did get another train ride.
There Curt sits, coloring away, and I remember Ma holding him and I wanted to hug him and she said, Sandra, you have to stand at his feet. If you stand up above his head, he can be cross-eyed. Well, I certainly did not want that. Now he is six years old and his eyes are just fine, so I guess I stood in the right spot.
I have the front door open to let in some of the spring air. There are patches of snow here and there but it has melted enough in the woods so that Roland has tapped some maple trees, so we can have some syrup. Grammy Martin has a big rock in her pasture that is split in two and in the split is a perfect place for a metal rack and a small fire to boil down the sap. We all take turns walking the little snowy path from one maple to another with a little pail and emptying the sap into it. We try to guess which tree will give us the most! It is hard work, as Roland ,and sometimes Rex, has to use an auger and bore the holes by hand and put in the spiles. I love it when Roland gets the fire going and the sap bubbles around in the old metal dish pan Grammy gave us. We usually don’t get much syrup in the end, but it is a nice treat for each of us. Roland is careful that the fire is out when we are through for the day. Grammy says that is all she asks of us.
I remember one day last year when it was near the end of maple syrup season. We had a little sap we wanted to boil down and oh, it started to rain. So we brought the sap to the house and boiled it down on the wood stove. That was a mistake! We really didn’t realize it until it was boiled down perfect and I touched the cupboard and it was sticky. Oh, my goodness, everything felt sticky. We grabbed some rags and water and Ma’s Fels Naptha soap and started scrubbing everything within reach. Roland took care of the sap pan while Rex and I scrubbed.
By the time Ma and Dad got home from work, the kitchen looked very clean and even Ma commented on our cleaning. All during the next week, sometimes I would hear her say, now that feels sticky. I wonder what that is. Well, none of us said a word.
That syrup sure tasted good with Ma’s warm biscuits! I hope this year the weather holds good and we can boil it all down in the pasture because we are not going to be bringing it inside again.
Sometimes we learn by our mistakes!