Saturday, October 10, 2015


I was aware of being six years old, around 7:00 AM on that lovely summer morning as I walked along the sidewalk -- a ribbon of asphalt wide enough to walk on at that point but eroded by grass from both edges and from cracks in the middle -- proudly conscious of having buttoned my red dress up the back by myself and enjoying the bright sunshine, the greenness of the grass and the trees, and the warmth of the air. "I wish this moment could last forever," I said to my small self.

The huge, rambling old house at the corner of the Old Winchendon Road, larger even than ours and with only a couple of feet of lawn between one corner and the sidewalk, was the home of my father's friend Chag (pronounced "Shag"), who was familiar to me and to everyone else in Otter River. The Old Winchendon Road was the farthest I was allowed to walk in that direction according to the limits set after my attempt, chronicled elsewhere, to walk with my sister to our grandmother's.

As I passed the house, an old guy standing on Chag's lawn observed and another agreed, "It's going to be a scorcher." I couldn't imagine what they were talking about, on such a pleasant morning. The old men must have proved right: they knew, as I didn't, that if it's lovely and comfortable at 7:00 AM, it probably will be hot later. I remember no more of that day than my puzzlement, my red dress, and the delightful weather at that early moment.