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Day Four: The Summer of Serendipity

18 Jun

Every good adventure should have a theme. This year, for CMRT 2016: K9 Edition, is seems to be serendipity. The beauty of the unexpected. The utterly random turned into magic. It started with unexpected sandwiches on Day One. And evolved into a summer home drop-in today. But I’ll get to that in a moment.

We started our day in Manhattan. When I woke, Remy was snuggled in tight between Beau and Harper on the floor of the apartment. Like puppies in a whelping box. We managed to all wake, get dressed, roll sleeping bags, and move furniture back to its original position without waking Robyn. Earning us the best compliment that we are “the quietest house guests ever!” Maybe not always true, but we really did try hard this time. Probably also helps that being a long-time Manhattan resident she is used to a lot of ambient noise. While the kids watched a little tv with Robyn, I took Remy down to Riverside Park one last time for another quick, illegal off-leash romp. This time running around with a Labrador for a few minutes, then chasing a stick. Then back up to the apartment to bid a fond and exceedingly grateful adieu to Robyn, and pack the car. As we walked up to Broadway to the recommended bagel shop, Beau leaned into me and said, “You really do have the nicest friends.” Which obviously was a nice compliment for Robyn, but also for me. Made me smile and feel very warm inside. I hugged him to me and replied, “Yes, I do. I really do.” And then, being a mom, I couldn’t resist exploiting the teachable moment, adding, “And you know why? Because I try really hard to be a nice friend myself.” But it is so true that it squeezes my heart (and perhaps makes my eyes tear ever so slightly), I really do have the nicest friends.

At the bagel shop I left the kids on the sidewalk with Remy, and waited in line for breakfast. I am enjoying giving them these small tastes of true independence. Trusting them to behave properly, to assess their feelings of safety, and respond accordingly. It’s good for them, and I really should seek more opportunities to do it. A large sack of bagels and a few bottles of water procured, it was back to the car for the final push. Typically when we leave NYC it is on a weekday afternoon. And that means traffic. A staggering amount of traffic. Not so today as we were rolling out at around 9:45am on a Saturday. And as much as I absolutely adore driving in New York City (and I do! I LOVE it!), I really enjoyed my drive out of the city on the Henry Hudson Parkway today. Very little traffic, everything lush and green, a curving road cut through a beautiful landscape. It was wonderful! And as we cleared NY state and were rolling through Connecticut my dear friend, and inventor of the phrase “Pup Pit,” Jen, contacted me to ask if we were already through CT. Indeed not, dear friend, and why do you ask? Because you just landed in Hartford? What? Jen’s parents, whom I have known since I was 12, have a home in Glastonbury, CT, and which exit was Waze telling me to take to connect from I-91 to I-84? The Glastonbury exit, of course. So, here we are, 1,000 miles from home, and my dear friend from home will be shortly arriving in the little New England town that we just happen to be driving right through. Serendipity. And we may not be hungry at this exact moment, so no sandwiches necessary, but definitely unexpected. And though being fairly road weary, though Maine is now getting close enough to taste, how could I not stop? That would be like spitting in the face of fate. So we changed our destination, and rolled up to the Hughes’ gorgeous home. Remy was certainly happy to run free on their lush, golf course grass lawn, and it was so fun to see Jen and her entire family. The consummate hostess, Mrs. Hughes was insistent on plying us with some food, even if I wouldn’t allow her the time to make us lunch, so the kids munched on fruit, and enjoyed sitting in their stadium seats from Fenway. We had such a lovely visit in their beautiful home with these truly wonderful people, that I was loathe to get back in the car. But what a fun, serendipitous stop. Life really is beautiful if you’re paying attention.

Easy hop back onto the interstate. Thought I had it made with my packed car, and hopped into the HOV lane, only to get stuck for quite some time behind a guy who must have had his cruise control set on the exact speed limit. For goodness sake, if you want to drive the speed limit or under, just stay in the far right lane. Frustrating. Luckily he must have been local, because he got off at an exit, and gave me an open lane of smooth sailing for awhile. Those NY bagels and fresh fruit packed a punch, and it wasn’t until much later that we started feeling hungry.Thankfully we spotted an exit with a Moe’s, and while not necessarily the easiest thing to eat while driving, a burrito really was preferable to more fast food.

After lunch we had one final stop to make before reaching the house. Unfortunately, it was discovered as I went to lay out our clothes for today, that Beau had left his Crocs, the only shoes other than running shoes he brought on the trip, back in our hotel room in Pennsylvania. Grrrrr…. He needs to have beach shoes, and thankfully it turns out that there is a Crocs outlet in Kittery. So, about 10 minutes total – off the interstate, to the store, Beau & I hop out of the car, select the right size, pay, back in the car, back to the interstate. Not too long to solve that problem, and we were back on our way. But I would be remiss if I didn’t mention how I feel when the Piscataqua River Bridge comes into view. Before I focused on resolving the shoe crisis, I was feeling that delightful, floaty feeling I get whenever I cross over that bridge. When I see the “Maine State Line” sign in the middle of the span. It just makes me happy. Plus, writing about it gives me the chance to say “Piscataqua”, which is just fun to say. Go ahead. You try. Piscataqua. Yep, just feels good in my mouth, and makes all the love I have for this state blossom in my chest.

Once we had the shoes, it was just about 20 miles to the house. That’s nothing. As we drove through a packed Dock Square, made the turn onto Ocean Avenue, I just felt home. We rolled up to the house, and it was like no time had passed at all. There is comfort in returning to a place known to you, a place that holds happy memories. And just like coming home, it was time to get down to business before we could truly enjoy ourselves! I had scheduled a grocery pick-up from Hananford’s To Go, and I had approximately 45 minutes to completely unpack the car, and get to the grocery store. Side note: Seriously, this Hannaford’s To Go thing is amazing! (Shout out to my friend Mandy for letting me know about it!) I have spent the past three weeks or so compiling my list of two weeks worth of groceries. And all I had to do was press a few buttons, and manage to show up at the grocery store within the pick-up time window. Amazing. I got to the store and grabbed the two or three things I had forgotten to add to the list last week, and checked out, then the wonderful lady at the HTG at the Kennebunk store wheeled out to my car and we refilled the cargo area with grocery bags. Kids helped me unload the bags, I put the perishables into the fridge, and out onto the beach we went. And it did my heart good to watch the kids run off and scamper onto the rocks, watch Remy race around in the mud, splash into the freezing water without a single hesitation. Everyone frolicking, exactly as I hoped they might. This. This is why I do this. This, not Maine, per se, but this feeling of freedom and exploration, this is exactly what a childhood summer should contain. Exactly the kind of magic this KPT Cottage on Turbats Creek can provide.

 

Northbound by the Numbers:

Number of miles driven: 1,425

States traveled through: 14 [FL, GA, SC, NC, VA, WV, MD, PA, NJ, NY, MA, CT, NH, ME]

Number of license plates accounted for so far: 44 [Only missing Kansas, North Dakota (a perennial troublemaker), South Dakota, Wyoming, Hawaii, & Alaska]

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© 2010 Krista Lindsey Willim