The Paw Paw River Journal
Remembering old camping friends Cold November winds swept through Maple Hill Cemetery out south of Hartford. Margaret Martens had come out to check their family plot. She paused before Charlie’s marker. He was her husband of many years and had left this life in 1986. Before that happened, we spent many camping vacations with them. She walked around the well tended plot, then paused and looked at the back of their family monument. There, down low, something was affixed to the surface; it was a little packet of papers wrapped in plastic and fastened with plastic tape. She pulled it off and took it home to examine. Then she called us! “Bud,” she said, “I just had a strange thing happen! I was out at the cemetery checking on the plot, and I found something fastened to our monument. It’s an NFL football schedule for this year. I thought, ‘now who could have put that there?’ On the back it said, ‘Compliments of the Central Hotel, Central, Pennsylvania.’ Was that you?” Of course it was! We had been out to visit Aunt Hope who was in a retirement home. I had power of attorney for her, and we were taking care of her business. I have written so many times about her and her home in Pennsylvania. She gave us vacations back when we couldn’t really afford to travel. Margaret and Charlie Martens had been out there with us so many times. We all took our trailers, and her backyard looked like a resort. In fact, one of the natives said with some irritation in her voice, “We’re thinking about taking out the trees across the road. Then we can put in a trailer park there, and have lots of trailers.” My Chief Accountant, who had been taking this all in, said, “Oh that would be great! We could all stay with you, and maybe stay even longer!” The neighbor huffed a little, and left for other regions. There were apple trees across the road, and a big one in Aunt Hope’s back yard. One rainy afternoon we sat on her front porch. Beads of water glistened on the screen like diamonds. A quiet hush had descended over the valley. As we sat there we heard a clicking sound on the blacktop street. Here came a huge buck deer nosing the wind to see if there were any enemies about. He delicately nibbled some of her decorative plants and walked around the house. I quietly went through to the back to watch him. He was eating apples that had fallen from her tree. This was in the little town of Jamison City. I have always said any map that has Jamison City on it is a good one. It is such a small town… one hotel, bar, restaurant, and maybe 20 houses. Back in the days of logging it was a boomtown. But no more. What a wonderful place to vacation. I suppose if I had to spend the winter there I would be out in the pantry reading labels on the cans. It was Aunt Hope’s summer home. She must have realized how much it meant to us, because she left the house to us when she went into assisted living. Just down the road about two miles was another small town named Central. Every summer their fire department put on a carnival. We tried to be there then; it took us back to a time years before. We sat at long tables in the fire barn with all the doors open, and the fire trucks parked outside. I loved the raisin pie with homemade peanut butter ice cream on it. They had all sorts of homemade food. Another favorite was bean soup! Central Hotel was a favorite place to eat also. The walls are decorated with stuffed wild animals and birds. The front wall of the dining room there is a whole Buffalo… the front half, and he looks as though he is charging right into the dining room. One of our little grandsons gazed at him and then turned to his dad saying, “You don’t think he will come all the way in do you?” My favorite meal there was a Philly cheese steak sandwich, French fries, and an ice cold bottle of Rolling Rock extra pale. Also whenever they had it, I ordered coleslaw. Out there they call it pickled cabbage. It is made like almost nowhere else. Just west of Central there is another restaurant called the Brass Pelican. Their food is excellent and people come from miles around to sample the Buckwheat pancakes. I don’t know what the natives really think of us when we come in at vacation time. When I was teaching, my school was always very good about giving me time off to go out and take care of Aunt Hope’s business. Every spring and fall I would get a few days off, and we headed for Pennsylvania. Of course we went there summers too. In the fall we timed our visit to be there on her birthday. That would be when the leaves are turning. The mountains are beautiful then. Those visits were a part of our life hard to give up. When the wind turns cold in November and the leaves have fallen I sometimes wonder what it is like out there in the mountains. That summer we had been out there and when we ate dinner at the Central Hotel, on the way out I saw a stack of NFL schedules. When Charlie was with us he always picked one up. So I got one, brought it home, and pasted it down low on their family monument. Margaret never saw it until the day she was out there in November. I was laughing as we talked on the phone, and she told me how surprised she was when she found it. So I said to her, “Are you going to paste it back on?” “Of course,” she said, “the season isn’t over yet, and Charlie needs to know what the schedule is!” And that’s the way it was that cold November day, as we were weaving threads into the golden tapestry of our lives in this storybook town along the Paw Paw River.
Coloma Library News Libraries Rock! The Coloma Public Library presents “Libraries Rock” during their summer library program. The 2018 Summer Reading Program is open to all young people. There will be programs, prize drawings, storytimes, a reading club, and more for the whole family. Registration for “Libraries Rock” is in progress. For more information, call the library at 468-3431 or visit www.colomapubliclibrary.net. All programs are free of charge. Book Club The Coloma Library Book Club is meeting on Thursday, June 28 at 5:30 p.m. The title to read before the discussion is “Daring to Drive” by Manal Al-Sharif. Call 468-3431 with any questions on any Coloma library activity.
Watervliet District Library News Summer Reading Program Through July 21, the library is pleased to partner with WPS to provide free lunches for kids & teens following each Thursday program. Upcoming programs include: June 14 Wildlife Safari; June 21 Kindness Rocks. Make-It Music Mondays, 1-2 p.m. Musical Instruments to make-n-take for K-6th graders & family: June 18 Pianos for Thumbs (Mbira Kalimba, African Thumb Pianos) Third Monday Book Club June 18, 7 – 8 p.m. “The Light We Lost” by Jill Santopolo. High Tech Help, June 19, 9-10 am. Open Mic Night June 22, 7:30 p.m. Watervliet’s Got Talent, we know we do! Share yours with family & friends at the library’s first Open Mic. Singers, musicians and dramatic artists are all encouraged to participate. Don’t forget: Performers need an audience, too! Come down to show your support! All artists must sign-up in advance. Call 463-6382 to register or for details.