15 July 2013


After 18 hours in Canada, I found myself again at the U.S.-Canada border. My encounter with the American agent was much easier because I only had to answer three questions – direct responses worked this time – and I was out in about 30 seconds.

On my way out of Niagara Falls, New York, I was held hostage by an outlet mall with a crazy sale and consequently delayed myself about an hour and a half. Oops!

My seven-hour drive was a mix of clouds, sunshine and spitting rain. I had recently learned that because Jesus calmed the storm back in His day, we can call out to the storms in His name today and they will cease, so I put this premise to the test.

Any time the rain would start, I would point my finger out my windshield and either say out loud or think aggressively, “No rain, in Jesus’ name.” The rain stopped. After a while, the rain would start up again. “In Jesus name, no rain! I need to be able to see.” The rain stopped.

Throughout the day this happened several times. I got to the point when the rain would spit and I would just point my finger and say, “Eh!” and it would fizzle out. I began to laugh at this new road trip game.

My journey took me from Buffalo, New York, into Albany, New York, on what seemed like the longest drive in history. I am quite familiar with the sucky long drive across Pennsylvania, which is a big reason why I wanted another route. I did not know, however, that once I was in New York, I was sucked into the Twilight Zone on a never-ending highway that would never reach the state’s end.

Anna Marie called to check on my progress. “I can’t get out!!” I yelled. “I’ve been in New York all day. This state just doesn’t end.”

Amazingly, six hours after my outlet mall release, I broke into Massachusetts. An hour later, I was with Anna Marie in downtown Oakham taking part in a town festival involving a local rock band, some sold-out hot dogs and burgers and the remnants of the popcorn Anna Marie had been selling.

Oakham is a town of about five people. There are no street lights but there are a couple stop signs. There is a library on one corner, a church on another and a small park with a gazebo across the street. That night Anna Marie estimated 100 people came into the town for the concert, a huge success for such a small town.

I spent five days at what would be my last summer at the Smith Chalet, a house on a hill in the woods in the middle of Massachusetts shared by Anna Marie and her older brother, Curtis. The house is truly unique and one that’s inside takes one by surprise.

The house’s frame is boxy with a pointed roof and a structure that reminds me of Lincoln log houses, except this house has siding. The edifice is divided into two homes but it’s easy to forget there are neighbors just on the other side of the walls. Trees surround the lot so the house is private and the yard space provides ample room for bonfire space and gardens. The deck out back is an ideal location for sipping tea or drinking beer on a summer day, watching the garden grow. On one occasion, Anna Marie spotted a moose in her back yard.

I did not see any moose this trip but that did not prevent me from yelling, “moooooose” each time we drove past a moose-crossing sign.

They spent six years in that house and this month marks the end of an era as Curtis is the process of moving to Tallahassee and Anna Marie took a job on MassachusettsNorth Shore. I will miss my summers in the woods but winters on the North Shore will be just as enjoyable.

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