Where Did The Summer Go?

VaughnAs I sit here on the evening of the first day of autumn, watching this year’s potato crop being harvested, I can’t help but ask, “Where did the summer go?” Up here in The County we joke that “I overslept one day in May and missed the entire summer!” Still every year we watch the leaves turn color, begin cleaning our shotguns and rifles, and face the fact that in two months (a mere eight weeks) we could be dealing with our first snowfall of the winter. I realize that since June I have done barely a single paragraph of writing and do a mental inventory of what I accomplished since June.

There were a number of appearances, eight at Thursdays On Sweden in Caribou, one in Freeport, 4th of July in Belgrade lakes with several other Crime Writers. There were three appearances at Aroostook County libraries and The Potato Blossom Festival in Fort Fairfield–and then there was the thing that consumed the greatest block of my time. On June 6 my nephew passed away in Florida. Usually a funeral would only take a few days, but not this one (sometimes I think that all it would take to complicate a roll call in a one-man submarine is for me to be involved).

Richard, or Rick as we called him, was fighting cancer and in strong denial of his inevitable demise. He was a life-long bachelor with no children and more importantly no will. His mother, my 88 year-old sister-in-law, had no idea how she was to handle things. You’ve heard the expression “Once a Marine; always a Marine”? I of course saw her dilemma and rode to her rescue. What I assumed would take a week, two at the most, is still an open issue. Dealing interstate with this stuff will drive one to the nearest bottle of Makers Mark! It is now September 22 and we have finally made enough progress that we can see the end of the process…

Guess what? I just found out where my summer went! Now that fall is here I hope to have some  time for myself–once I finish winterizing the house that is…


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6 Responses to Where Did The Summer Go?

  1. David Plimpton says:

    I can identify with your experiences this summer, and it becomes easier the older I get. I think more families than many people realize are actually like the Godfather’s extended one. You can get in, but you can’t get out, even if the ties are emotional rather than a gun to your head.

    And once you’re in, the obligations, the rituals seem, especially as I age, unpredictable and time-consuming. Or maybe I should say, more evidence of my failure to develop predicting skills. Or maybe more surprising, because my memory isn’t what it used to be.

    Anyway, when they arise or even when you embrace or pursue these family connections, whether based on love or duty or both, they don’t seem easily compatible with the solitary writing life.

    But, I hope some story ideas have bubbled up from your summer. What popped into my head, though perhaps already overdone, was the picture of an 88 year old aunt, now alone and vulnerable in a faraway state after her son died, who may be falling under the spell of some rough-edged hoodlums in her decrepit, decaying urban neighbor. They’ve started to win her over with a thin veneer of affability. Her nephew, now retired and no spring chicken himself, is the only one who can help her. If it’s any good, I promise I won’t use it.

  2. Lea Wait says:

    Take deep breaths, Vaughn. Before the snows, Maine is at its best!

  3. So sorry to learn of your nephew’s passing, Vaughn. A solemn reminder that writing and life constantly battle for our time.

    • Vaughn says:

      Thanks, Bruce. It was also a great learning experience! After everything we’ve gone through since he had no wife, no children, and no will and having to deal with interstate probate issues I contacted my attorney and made out a new will. There may be a new plot in this…his lack of preparation for his passing made me want to resurrect him so I could kill him! (Just kidding–he was in denial of his situation and was sure he’d beat the big C.)

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