June 17, 2018

     Vroom, vroom! That was the sound of last week, the 95th annual Motorcycle Week rally in New Hampshire, as all these visitors roared and roamed around us in the Lakes Region.
Here’s what I wrote about it in June 2014:

            When we were kids, it just lasted a weekend, Motorcycle Weekend, but even so it was an exciting noisy invasion. Guys with a girl or a six-pack or both on the back of their motorcycles, a pack of cigarettes rolled up in a sleeve of their T-shirts, roared aslant through our streets and camped out in whatever spots took their fancy, including the [Laconia] library lawn. We kids argued over which motorcycles were the best, Harley Davidsons or Indians. (I was an Indian fan.) As we girls got older, we began to hear wolf whistles when motorcyclists went past us as we walked along in our sleeveless blouses and short-shorts. Ah, those were innocent times!                   Comparatively.
            Grownups reacted to the invasion in various ways. Our house was on the street that led out to the place where the races were held in Gilford, and my mother sat on the front porch with HER pack of cigarettes and enjoyed the spectacle of the motorcycles zooming through our usually sedate residential neighborhood. My father took to the woods.
            When I arrived at Bennington, the switchboard operator who also put the mail in the mailboxes in Commons noticed the Laconia return address on letters from my parents and sister and told me about how she and her husband and children always went to Laconia for Motorcycle Weekend, she driving the car, her husband his motorcycle. Thus I became aware of the family aspect of the invasion.
            Don and I weren’t living in Laconia in 1965 when trouble came, but we heard the tales about it, motorcycle gangs rioting, fighting each other and the police. That put a damper on things for several years, until the rally was reorganized and the motorcyclists were back in full force.

      And now this week they were here again. We had to go to Laconia on one of the days, so we planned our route to avoid the Weirs and the worst of the congestion. But we remembered our childhood, when we’d sought out the tantalizing sight of adventurous strangers.

Note: Amazon has not yet listed the new printing of HENRIETTA SNOW. The new printing is available in the Bookshop section.

© 2018 by Ruth Doan MacDougall; all rights reserved


June 10, 2018

      Can a person yell in a whisper? That’s what it seemed like last week when Don, looking out the windows in our back door, yelled-whispered, “Ruth, come see, a bear!”
Our first bear of the season. I hurried to see. It was meandering along the bank across the beaver pond, and we were reminded of a scene we saw there a few years ago, which I later wrote into A Gunthwaite Girl:

      On the opposite bank, twin black bear cubs came scampering out of the woods and romped along the edge of the pond . . .
      And then, following them, plodded Mom. Mama Bear. Her fur shone glossy in the sun, and her vast bulk was just plain terrifying . . .
      Mom stopped in her tracks, sank down heavily on the bank, and went to sleep . . .
The cubs paid no attention to Mom’s nap and continued frolicking along the pond.


      But this time there weren’t any cubs and the bear meandered on its way along the pond, out of sight.
      These sights of springtime! We’ve now had the first sight this season of a mother duck leading a chain of babies swimming past. And in general the ducks and geese on the pond get me singing about “Chicks and ducks and geese better scurry” and that “surrey with the fringe on top.”
      There are also the sounds, better sounds of spring than my singing. We hear coyotes year-round, but I hadn’t heard any during the winter so when I heard them barking one night last week I sat straight up in bed to listen to the wildness.
      Then there’s the tiny sound of water pattering. When I’m sitting on the porch and hear this, I immediately look over to that little birdbath of ours under the lilac bush and see a chickadee having a dainty bath amid a fluttering of its wings. We make jokes about the chickadees bringing small towels and teeny-weeny cakes of soap. And we refill the birdbath.
      Phoebes have been calling their name in the backyard. When they returned earlier this spring, a pair built its nest in the usual nook over a bathroom window, plastering the nest with mud found conveniently nearby in the sump pump’s overflow trench.
      And speaking of sounds: We always wonder how something so small as a chipmunk can make such a hell of a racket. But thank heavens they do! A friend recently told us how, stepping out his back door first thing in the morning, he always looks to the right, the direction from which bears appear in his backyard. One morning, he looked to the right, saw nothing, and was about to set forth when he wondered why a chipmunk was chipping REALLY loudly. He looked to his left. A bear. He retreated indoors. Saved by a chipmunk!

Note: Amazon has not yet listed the new printing of HENRIETTA SNOW. The new printing is available in the Bookshop section.

© 2018 by Ruth Doan MacDougall; all rights reserved



June 3, 2018

 From Site Fidelity:

         Snowy said, “Maybe we should stop for a little something on the way home.”
         “Onion rings,” Tom said.
         “Natch,” she said. At this time of the year the oil would be new and fried food at its best. Connoisseurs!

         And at this time of year, when the nearest little dairy-and-lunch-bar opened for Memorial Day weekend, we were there for our onion rings. As we sat at an outdoor table under a red umbrella, we watched with our annual surprise the sight of summer people carrying trays of seafood from the takeout window to their tables, the paper plates heaped with fried clams and such. Why are they buying seafood here in inland New Hampshire instead of at the coast?
         Because, we reminded ourselves, if they aren’t vacationing at the coast, it’s the closest they’re going to get. And nowadays, sooner or later this summer we’ll do the same.
         Don grew up with this sight in the Weirs, envying the summer people who could afford fried clams. In my family, we waited for seafood until we got to the cottage that my grandparents rented on New Hampshire’s Rye Harbor each summer. There I had my first lobster. As the narrator of The Lilting House says, “I thought it was the most wonderful food I had ever eaten.”
         When Don and I were going to Maine every summer we too waited until we got to the ocean. Visiting my sister, often we couldn’t wait any longer and met her for lunch at the seafood restaurant instead of driving on the couple of miles directly to her house! Steamed clams for me, fried clams for Don. And then we’d go back at suppertime. During our vacations on Isle au Haut, I wondered like Snowy in Site Fidelity, “You can’t eat lobsters every night. Can you?”
         Nowadays, inland, we wait a while, then decide to buy a lobster or (lazy) lobster meat to eat at home, or we have fried clams out. But I’ve got a new idea for inland seafood this summer. Last week in an article in a Maine seacoast newspaper, the Working Waterfront, the writer mentioned a “haddock and havarti sandwich,” which I’d never heard of before. He didn’t give details about the sandwich except that it was delicious and the short-order shorthand was “fish and cheese.” But I’m going to try to create one!

© 2018 Ruth Doan MacDougall; all rights reserved





March, 2018

The Old Country Store

April, 2018

The Galloping Gourmet
The Poor Man's Fertilizer
Miniskirts and Bell-Bottoms
Henrietta Snow, Second Printing; Food & Drink Poems
Recipe Box and Notebook

May, 2018

Going Up Brook, revisited
The Weirs Drive-In Theater
The Green and Yellow Time,