My Father’s Only Son (chorus)                                                                                                                                                          Carrie Newcomer                                                                                                                                                                          You never talk much in a fishin’ boat
‘Cause it just scares the fish away
You give it time and watch your line.

I am lucky. I grew up in a family with Grandparents that loved me very much. My maternal grandparents have a camp that they built in Canada. My grandfather and 2 of his brother’s and their wives all bought land in Canada and starting out small, they each built camps on their land.

Each summer, my grandparents would bring me, my cousin Shari and my sister Tammy up to camp for a week. My Aunt’s and Uncle’s would try and bring their grandchildren as well so that there were enough kids to keep us all occupied. Many memories were made during those weeks, but fishing with my grandfather was always a highlight for me. Each grandchild got to go fishing with Grandpa alone. If we were there for a week, then you got to go several times. For each camp, going out at about 4pm to fish meant the race was on. Who would catch the biggest fish that night.But the deeper meaning for me was the time that I got to spend alone with my grandfather  on that beautiful lake.

Now, those of you who know me, know I am not the easiest person in the world to get alone with. In my later adult years, I have been able to temper that with self-control, but as a child and especially a pre-teen, I didn’t yet have that capacity. One thing that anyone who knows me well is that I love to talk. Not to just hear myself, but to just have that connection with whoever I am with. I can spend hours talking about one subject. Running the words through my mouth, turning them over in my head and then listening to what the other person has to say. Really listen. That was not a skill that I had as a child, but it was a skill that I was able to  develop especially as I moved into my professional life as a Clinical Social Worker. As a child, I asked questions. A lot of them. So, what better to have a captive audience in a boat, out on the middle of lake Kashawackamack. Yes, that is the real name of the lake. Go on, google it, i’ll wait.

I have many fond memories of fishing with Grandpa. I was taught so many things about life out in that boat with him. I remember very early on talking with him and him telling me that we needed to be quiet because we would scare the fish away. Me, be the questioner of all things, said “if we just reeled out 70, then that is a long way down Grandpa. I don’t think that the fish can hear us”. Long sigh from him. Then I asked him if fish had ears? He told me that they did and that we had to be quiet so that they would bite and we could catch them. As you might imagine a lot was talked about in the boat. But not all the time. During the periods of time when I was quiet, I spent time looking around at the majestic nature that I was surrounded by. How quiet it was, but with the sound of the water, other boats on the lake and the sound of birds or other animals on the various islands that we would troll around. I was never a patient child, teen or adult, but sitting in the small boat with Grandpa felt like I had all the time in the world. I think I spent more time hoping I wouldn’t catch a fish because I didn’t want it to die even though between my Grandmother and Aunt Lottie, they made the best darn fish fry I have ever tasted.

No, it really was about the life lessons that I learned. Being with my grandfather and having conversations at first about kid things that eventually morphed into other more worldly things such as what my life’s passions were and politics. But, the reality is that we never did too much talking anyway. Not talking really made me listen. Not to just what my ears could hear, but what my head and heart could hear. Being silent and musing were the real life lessons that were learned. The most important lesson that my dear grandfather gave to me.

I do want to end by saying that one early evening when it was my night to go fishing, I came walking down the steps to the dock with my life preserver on over one of my grandfather’s fishing shirts, a big hat tied under my chin and various snacks and a drink to have when I got hungry because you never can be too sure when you would catch a BIG one and need sustenance after you hauled it in. I also had a book. I got down to the boat and grandpa was making sure that we had everything we needed and was checking the boat over. I got into the boat and set my stuff down on the seat next to me. My grandpa looked at my book and asked me, “what is that”? “It’s my book”, I told him. He took my book and put it on a chair on the dock, got back into the boat and we left. Apparently reading is not something one does when they go fishing.

I do realize that all these years later that my grandpa was trying to give me one of the best gifts that a kid could have. The silence with which to be with my thoughts and not be scared of them. Thank you Grandpa. Your message was not lost. These days I find myself seeking solitude more than I ever have. Walking along a beach with the sound of the waves, or in a forest with the quiet of the tree’s all around. Listening to what has always been there. Knowing that the further I go inward, the happier I will be.

Grandpa, you were the best. I’ve never said goodbye because I know that I will see you again someday. Thank you for the life lessons.

Fishing

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Black Friday

I do not understand the concept of Black Friday. I used to love shoppping, but never on. Black Friday. Getting trampled and fighting to get something material does not seem like fun to me ANY day!

Like I said, I used to love going out to the store or mall to go shopping. Then the internet happened and just like that, I could shop from the convienince of my own home. Shop I did! I had a serious clothing addiction when Katie was little. It started out with Gymboree and then climbed from there. Mini Boden blue bags came almost every single day with clothes for Katie. Boxes and envelopes with clothes in the came daily. Then I got hooked to custom made clothes and had so many fabulous outfits made just for Katie. It got so out of control, that I have at least 7 bins in my sewing room full of clothes that if they were worn, you can’t even tell. A lot of the have the tags on them still. Shameful I know. I have a huge box set aside to mail to my friend Val, for her daughter Sophia. Twirly dresses that I know she will love. The rest….well, I think I am just going to suck it up and do e-bay.

Ebay scares me. I’ve done it before and had good results, but I was never that good that I could just print out postage to send right from my home so going through the whole process of taking pictures and putting stuff up for sale just seems so overwhelming, but I have a helper! Katie is going to help me do this. I’ve tried consignment shops and even mailed a box of clothes across the country to a friend who does ebay.

At any rate, back to shopping and material things. I think that as I have grown more in tune with myself, I have realized that material possessions are just that. Material. When I die, I can’t take any of it with me. Not the books, clothes, car, not any of it. This doesn’t mean that I stop reading books. In fact, I still buy them, but instead of saving them all because I might read it again, I pass them along to other people and save the ones that I think I might reference again or that I think my daughters’ or someday my grandchildren might read. I like to think of them reading the books I’ve saved with writing in the margins or passages underlined and getting a better idea of who I am as a person. Clothing is still a necessity, but I don’t need expensive clothes. In fact most days I’m lucky if I ever even get out of my PJ’s. Then, my go to is my favorite pair of jeans. I’d like to think that I could live without a car, but in today’s world, that is simply unrealistic. But, I don’t need the best or most expensive car. I need a reliable car. I have that.

The roof over my head is the one that my wife and I bought almost 17 years ago. It is our home. It’s modest and meets our needs. Yes, it does need updating and that is hopefully something that we will be able to do in the coming years. We’ve raised a family in this house. Brought our youngest home from the hospital to it. I know that someday we’ll let it go and move somewhere more temperate due to the cold and the negative impact it has on my body, but for now, it is home.

Home is exactly where I want to be. With the things that we need, not just want.

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Thanksgiving 2016

I woke up this morning to my phone buzzing at 7am. My Aunt calling to tell me my Grandma was in the ICU. Her kidney’s have been failing and she’d just been discharged from the hospital a few days ago because her heart rate is low. 

Although I feel sad, knowing that my 90 year old grandmother is winding down, it made me realize how thankful I am to be her granddaughter.

I hope that every one finds something to feel thankful for today.

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Who Am I?

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Hi there! Although this is not my first time blogging, it is my first time being a serious blogger.

Let me tell you a little about who I am. I just celebrated my 49th birthday. I’m married to my best friend, Cheryl and we have 2 daughters. Gil is 24 and Katie is 13. I am a Clinical Social Worker in private practice with 20+ years experience. It is a profession that I love and am deeply committed to although I did seriously consider seminary about 5 years ago. As with everything in my life, I tend to go in search of what truly makes me happy and fullfilled and I have found spirituality and self-love to be the 2 most powerful areas in my life. If I’m not filled, then I can’t be the best wife, mother, friend or therapist that I know I can be.

To that end I find reading everything and anything stimulating. One of the things that I will be sharing here are books that I’ve read and what I thought of them. I hope if it’s something you’ve read, we can share thoughts! I read everything from autobiographies/biography’s, murder mysteries, self help, political, historical, true crime, religion, poetry and so much more.

I have enjoyed quilting in the past and after finally sorting out my sewing room am ready to take it up again. I will share pictures as they come.

Music is another passion of mine. I am a huge folk music fan. There is just something about a good folk song to remind us of our history. I just finished reading Pete Seeger: In His Own Words and as I was reading letters and articles that he had written, I had to go back and check the date on the letters because it seemed like he was writing about the present day but these letters/articles were written in the 50’s, 60’s, 70’s and 80’s. The man was a humble genius. I can only imagine him looking down on the earth and the US in particular and shaking his head and saying, “when will they ever learn..”?

It is my intention to write everyday. About what? I guess you’ll have to check back and see!

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