Friday, July 2, 2010
We felt a certain amount of pressure today because as well as you think you might plan things out, there were too many things that didn’t go as expected, so you feel like it won’t all get done in time. But in fact, everything seemed to self adjust. I got up early as usual and in discovering the grass was pretty dry (oh, today was the all time clearest day of all time – we could see Mount Washington in New Hampshire and the Camdens. There were clouds in the sky but the horizon was crystal clear) decided to start cutting the lawn immediately, even if it meant waking France. It was not meant to happen. I couldn’t get it started and it still kept making that screeching noise it always makes but that Cyndy says it always made so not to worry about it. But this time it wouldn’t start. I checked the oil and found it empty so I filled it up before I noticed the advise to fill to the fill line. Way too much oil! But I got it started in spite of it, as It coughed up thick gray smelly smoke. Not a good sign! And the upshot was that it died with the overload.
Then the reporter from Boston, doing a piece on Caretakers, showed up with a cameraman and France and I were interviewed. They wanted to get our story and in my mind when I rehearsed what I thought I wanted to say it included a spiel I failed to articulate: if it were not for the Friends of Seguin Island leasing this island and lighthouse, the Coast Guard could have easily put a modern replacement lens at the top and had this first order Fresnel lens valued at close to eight million, put in a maritime museum somewhere. Then the buildings could easily have fallen into disrepair and been vandalized. And as steward of the fine tradition that has always valued this place and what it represents, I’m proud to serve.
Ethan had brought out the reporter and while he waited for them, helped me drain the old funky oil from the mower and refill it, but this time, only to the fill line. It wasn’t enough but in a short time he realized that the starter had to be tightened. It was flopping around and not connecting with the gears that would turn over the engine. How did I not ever learn this stuff? Up and running and finished just before an onslaught of picnicking families who camped out on the lawn and ate as I took a group up to the top. Then as I continued to rake some of the grass, there appeared a group of children on the catwalk. They had gone in the back door and not seen the sign that instructed them to be accompanied by a caretaker.
But where were the group of five, three guests of the two FOSI board members, who were expected at the same time. Fortunately they arrived two hours later than expected and all the visitors had left. While we got to know each other and socialize on the lawn over snacks and drinks, two other couples arrived by sail intending to spend the night in the cove but who had come here many times before. One couple just wanted to rest and read on the lawn by the wooden bench. The other sat on the sunset bench for a time and left before the clams and the lobster were ready to bring out to the picnic table. We were invited and the seafood was super, made probably exceptional because they were steamed in the stock I’d made from the lobster shells we saved from the meal with Jamie and Sol.
It’s fascinating how people enjoy this place and get just what they came for and what they need from it. Most are really impressed. The two board members had not yet been out and they and their friends said that they had no idea they would find such beauty and peace. And a breeze that is fairly constant.
Speaking of which, after the tractor died and I’d gotten out the push mower to keep busy, France came to me and asked if I had seen what had happened to the flag. We were flying the pennant with the blue lighthouse on it on a white background with a red border for the first time, under the American flag, of course. (I’ve read the flag code.) But for a reason to long to go into, the connection between the two flags had come loose and the American flag was flying proud but without a way to rein it to the pole. The tallest A-framed ladder wasn’t tall enough so I dragged the extension ladder to the pole from the Whistle House and with great effort, got it extended and leaning against the pole, scrapping the new paint job as I made it grow. So there I was, hung out twenty feet up braced only by the little tip top of the ladder hooked against the pole, waiting for the breeze to let up enough so that I could reach out and grab any part of the flag. Out at sea I could see a number of boats, a freighter, a lobster boat, two sailboats; I wondered if any of the occupants were betting I’d take a tumble. Finally I caught it and got it all put back together.
Oliver is getting more and more friendly but I think it’s more often when we are eating outside than when we’re sitting and watching the sunset. That could get ugly!
Saturday, July 3, 2010
Interestingly enough, someone left out the shells and Oliver found them this morning for an unexpected feast.
We’re proud to be flying the Lighthouse Banner this weekend. It should be a busy one and best friends arrive this evening from New York. We’re so excited!
I’m glad you are enjoying the sunset bench that Tim and I built in 2008. Have a magical summer as we did. It all works out in the end.
We love the bench and use it often. What’s the hole for under it? Was it a flagpole base at one time? I’m sure a summer won’t ever go by when we don’t think of the one we spent here. It’s a joy to share.
I think the bench sits on the site of a former flagpole. I am so glad to see people using it. We are at an unvisited lighthouse at the moment and miss the people from Seguin. We will never forget our summer there. I’m sorry for the loss of your grandfather but we couldn’t ask for a better way to go.
It was a long time ago when I was only ten but I remember him every July 5th and when I rock in his chair, which I inherited. You couldn’t ask for a better way to go, you’re right.
Michael- love your daily notes and pictures. Wow how wonderful that you have this opportunity. enjoy-Dee’s friend, Mary Kay