We started the day with another long walk around Norma and Clayton’s quiet, forested neighborhood. Not a car passed by during the entire 1 mile lap. There was lots of new and exotic smells to keep the dogs sniffing the undergrowth for the entire walk. The sun was shining and it was promising to be a beautiful day.
After breakfast, Clayton drove us over to Calumet, a large Lutheran conference center and summer camp hidden in the forest surrounding Ossippee Lake. On Sunday mornings, they have a large open air church service on benches between the pines. The congregation is a mix of local families and kids that are attending camp. Pam’s cousins were going to meet us there and join us for the service. A young visiting pastor gave a powerful message on faith and the rejection of hate in response to events that are currently happening in our country.
Cousin Beth arrived with her son, Camden who was leading an excited chocolate lab named Teague who was ready to hear some fire and brimstone preaching, well maybe some tennis ball and milkbone preaching. We all exchanged greetings and settled in for the service as Cousins Holly and Chris showed up and took up their spot among the trees. Excellent service and uplifting vibe from a very positive crowd. We all did a little catching up in the parking area, then caravanned over to the house.
Cousin Beth and Teague
New Hampshire Mafia, Chris and Clayton
We spent the afternoon sitting around outside in lawn chairs filling each other in on the happenings of our lives. The weather cooperated delivering sunny skies and moderate temperatures. Lots of spirited conversation and laughter on the patio interspersed with a little bike riding, dog wrangling and frisbee tossing. Soon corn was being shucked and the bar-b-que was rolled out. Master chef Chris manned the grill and we were soon sitting down to a veritable feast of shrimp skewers and steak.
The conversation was non-stop and you couldn’t blink or you would be left behind. Topics covered a hundred years of family history and many memories of their times spent together as kids. Lots of love and family connection around the large oval table. Camden, who is preparing to head off to Amherst College in a few weeks, did an admirable job of hanging out with all of us oldies and not going crazy or burying himself in a smartphone. The future is bright for this thoughtful young man. Best of luck as you move into this new phase of your life, great to meet you.
The sun was sitting low in the sky and the party was beginning to wind down. The cousins all had long drives ahead so we said our farewells and settled in to watch a little of the Red Sox game and chat with Clayton and Norma. Wonderful down home hospitality.