August 2002 June 2002
July 2002

On the Rocks.
Early in the month, Tina and the kids came out to spend a day and night. It was a sunny, perfect day before the heat wave. Of course I had to take them to some of my favorite Blackstone Valley spots. Along with Mom, everyone was anxious to go — it's great to have willing participants. Our first stop was Lookout Rock in Northbridge. Kelsey, Erin and Joe loved the rocks — scrambling up, down and around the different levels. The air was crystal clear, making the views even nicer. Supposedly King Philip (a.k.a. Metacom), a leader in the Wampanoag tribe, stood in this spot to keep an eye on things during his war with white settlers (1675-76).

Next stop was at the West Hill Park, a secluded spot where the West River forms a natural swimming pond called Harrington Pool. It's a perfect place for kids, with sandy beaches on two sides. But no swimming for us today, it was a bit cool, and we had more exploring to do. So after a brief stop to check out the playground, we were on Route 122 going south.

Rockin' & Rollin'.
On to the Blackstone Gorge and the Rolling Dam, The water cascading over its edge and crashing on the rocks below drew the kids close to the action. Then we had to find the state border marker and have pictures taken. We kept walking and climbing, and got to the highest point in the Gorge. The kids were pretty fearless as Tina & I nervously and closely watched them. It's a place to be very careful as the drop is precipitous (top of page).

On our way back home, we made another stop at the Chestnut Hill meeting house. The kids were resilient and kept hanging in. (They are great kids, unspoiled and sweet; this from an unbiased aunt.) We were able to peek in the windows and keyhole of the meeting house. The interior is very well kept and beautiful. We walked through the cemetery next door and the kids listened pretty patiently as the adults talked about the graves and inscriptions. More pictures are here.

At home and hungry, we walked down the road to the Canoe Club. I'd been wanting to bring the kids to our neighborhood restaurant for quite a while. It's a low-key, kid-friendly place with pretty good food. We sat in a booth with a view of our lake from a slightly different vantage point.

But the day wasn't over yet. Mendon has one of the few remaining Drive-in movie theaters in the Northeast. The kids were excited about seeing a movie there, so we headed down the road and picked out a spot. Now the question was, how do all six of us get comfortable and situated to see the movie. Being novices we were half in the van, half out, on a cool night. It worked out OK, and the highlight for me was getting a blue raspberry ice at the 50s-style concession area. (Movie seen: Like Mike.)

We had been out on the lake earlier in the day (and the next morning), trying out the new Jon boat with 2 HP motor. It worked pretty well with the three kids, TIna and me aboard. We circled the lake and landed on the island to check out ruins of some old houses. Unfortunately a kid on a Jet Ski roared by us at close range, and scared Joe. There seems to be a correlation between intelligence level (low) and the people who ride those noisy things.

Birthday Boy and Super Mom.
Peter's parents invited us and Mom up to Leominster for dinner — it was their youngest son's birthday. Arthur got his sushi and the rest of us Chinese. A good time with my nice parents-in-law.

Mom took some hikes with me, and with Peter and me. On some very hot days, some pretty decent hikes. She continues to amaze, at 76. I hope I have her energy, enthusiasm and stamina when (and if) I get to that point.

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