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Road Trip with Mom
Part II

A Summer Road Trip with Mom in July 2008 - Part II

Visiting Pam and Terry Brockett in Casco, Maine

Back yard and Lake
Terry and Pam's grassy back yard
rolls gently down to a long and narrow lake

After a delicious lunch that was made just like ones I had at home many years ago, my Mom and I bid farewell to Billy and Eileen. We headed out on US 302 to visit my youngest brother Terry and his wife Pam. They live in Newmarket, New Hampshire but were vacationing at their cottage in Casco, Maine. The day was hot and humid; about 90 degrees Fahrenheit and 85% humidity. Not so distant hills turned bluish green in the afternoon smog. I rolled up the windows and turned on the air conditioner.

My Mom is an easy person to travel with. The miles slipped away as she told me stories of events from before I was born to what happened just last week. In what seemed like just an hour or so we found the turnoff for Terry's cottage and in a few minutes rolled into his driveway.

A car for every family member and
my little red rental fill the driveway
A bucolic setting: the cottage is nestled amongst the trees
and faces a beautiful and serene lake
Josh the Black Collie
Josh, an exceptionally friendly black Collie loves people and attention

Terry and Pam extensively remodeled their cottage and added a few new rooms. The living and dining room affords an expansive view of the lake and distant tree covered ridge. We watched the sun slowly sink in the west while we dined on a delicious lobster dinner. As twilight overtook the lake Terry gathered some kindling and started a blaze in an outdoor fireplace. Pam's mom and step dad stopped by and we gathered around the dancing flames while roasting marshmallows and swapping stories. A full moon rose over the still water and Terry invited everyone to join him for a boat ride. As we slowly glided over the quiet lake a loon quickly broke the surface and then reappeared a few seconds later and about 100 feet away. Overhead the stars twinkled in the hazy sky. In front of us rose two moons; one over the land and another reflected off the rippled surface of the lake.

Orange Day Lilies
A thick stand of orange day lilies line the verdant shore
Terrys boat
Terry took Mother and guests for several leisurely boat rides
up and down the long and lovely lake

We head back home to Branford, Connecticut

Mom and her sister, Catherine Shebell
My Mom in pink and her sister, Catherine Shebell

The two days we spent with Pam and Terry flew by in the blink of an eye. We left their Casco cottage around 9 in the morning and followed a series of winding back roads in the general direction of Connecticut. Several times we stopped to take pictures, eat lunch or just enjoy the scenery. I have only a vague idea of the roads we traveled for I did not use a map and deliberately stayed off major highways. We ate lunch at a small roadside picnic table set in a grassy grove next to a general store. Then we traveled over lush green and tree covered mountains for another hour or two. Around three found my Mom and I driving along a river and surrounded by rolling farmland. Around 5 in the afternoon we crossed into Massachusetts and hopped on Interstate 91 for a quick jaunt through part of the Connecticut River Valley. Then we took the back roads over the picturesque farm land of Middlefield, Durham and North Guilford. Just before sunset we arrived in suburban Branford, Connecticut. My Mom was glad to be home with her six cats; Blacky, Buttons, Smoky, Cokie, Scooter and my favorite; Orange Kitty. She thoroughly enjoyed the journey. Mom said "that was the best vacation I have had since I was a little girl".

On my last day in Branford my Mom and I visited my Aunt Catherine at her home. She had not been feeling well but was gradually recovering from a gall bladder operation. At the time of this writing, December 14th, 2008, I understand that she is feeling much better. Later my Mom and I participated in one of her favorite pastimes; browsing the local thrift stores. We had a great time picking through all the little treasures that lined the shelves and racks. Of course we both found a few items that we just had to take home.

Long Island Sound
Multi-story pleasure boats are a common sight along the
Branford shore of Long Island Sound
Parker Memorial Park
The "big" beach at Parker Memorial Park in Branford, Connecticut

Parting Thoughts...

As I prepared to fly back to my home in Emigrant I thought about the numerous and often amusing contrasts between Montana and Connecticut. When I shot the above photo of a pleasure boat in Branford harbor I was reminded of what one Connecticut state legislator boldly exclaimed at a public hearing regarding a proposed natural gas pipeline that would go across Long Island Sound from Branford. He hotly stated that "Long Island Sound was as pristine an environment as Yellowstone Lake in Yellowstone National Park" and thus the pipeline should not be allowed. His overstated and somewhat ridiculous viewpoint reflected then current, popular sentiment. Eventually the pipeline project was denied necessary permits by public officials.

Long Island Sound is a body of water millions of people love to live close by. As a result, every day when they flush their toilets, their treated sewage pours into Long Island Sound. Bacteria and alga thrive in the warm water. It is forbidden to eat the shellfish in Branford's coastal waters because they are a public health hazard. Public beaches are sometimes closed in the summer when bacteria flourish and the water is unsafe to swim in. The warm sea water is often bright green in the late summer partly because lawns are ubiquitous, often large and heavily fertilized. The nitrogen rich fertilizer eventually washes into the Sound and causes widespread algae blooms and mats.

Long Island Sound is also a busy transportation and industrial corridor. Thousands of commercial ships ply its waters yearly bringing bringing oil, gasoline and raw materials to storage depots and factories in Connecticut and New York. Tens of thousands of pleasure boats crisscross the Sound every nice summer day. Because our overheated legislator was stating a popular misconception the residents of Connecticut paid dearly. Ill informed law makers concerned more with popular passions than making their constituent's lives better, thwarted the gas pipeline and numerous other energy projects. As a result my mom and all the folks who live in Connecticut have the second highest electric and heating bills in the entire United States. Only the people in Hawaii, an island state thousands of miles from the mainland, pay more. Meanwhile in Montana, home to many clean coal power plants, wind turbines and modern oil refineries, folks have some of the lowest energy bills in the country, the cleanest air and lakes so pure that you can drink directly from them.

To read more about the town I grew up, Branford Connecticut, visit: http://www.timslife.com/town/town01.php

To read more about the evolution of parks in Branford and discover why trash cans were banned visit: http://www.timslife.com/town/town02.php

Do Not Litter

This sign reminds people not to litter; twice. Once nicely on the sign and again with a more demanding tone, engraved on the post. Sadly, many people do litter because the town government removed all the trash cans from this park several years ago.

Supply Ponds Park
Branford Supply Ponds Park - so named because just 100 years ago it was a major source of drinking water for the town
State and local government heavily regulate almost all aspects
of life in Connecticut. Here the state is prohibiting fishing for
alewives; a prolific fish that is not fit for human consumption
If your idea of fun includes off road vehicles you
might be happier in Montana

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