By Barbara Parent
My Cross Lake buddy Nancy Paradis and I have had more than our share of adventures here on the shores of Cross Lake. Although, if truth be known, most of our experiences haven’t taken place on the shores of our lake. One would like to think we took to our lounge chairs, perhaps sipping a mint julep or two, cameras at the ready to capture a heron walking the shore or an eagle flying by.
Nancy and I have been yard sale buddies for many, many seasons and I’ve written in the past about our travels so I shall not reiterate. Let’s just say we’ve racked up thousands of miles in the last 10 years. We’ve slowed down on those yard sales primarily due to the lack of room in our camps for anymore stuff.
Turning the corner on 70, coupled with advice from the pages of our AARP Magazines, it’s time to consider our grown children having to deal with our “collections” and while sad as we find that notion, for after all it means we will no longer be here, alas it is very true. Not that we plan on kicking off anytime soon, and still yard sale although not traveling the miles and spending the hours in doing so as we once did. Even I have succumbed to the realization one can have just so many vintage suitcases and enamel cookware, ironstone and diner dinnerware. Readers may recall a column a few weeks back, however, about our adventures and “finds” at the barn sale in Stockholm. So much so that we returned the following weekend. They do say some habits die hard.
Lately we have taken to the road although not seated in Nancy’s blue HHR hatchback but rather a bright yellow golf cart. Golf carts are prevalent here at Cross Lake. Nancy found hers a few years ago, ironically while we were winding up a Saturday of yard sales. We were heading home along Route 161 and spied the golf cart with its “For Sale” sign on the dashboard in front of a repair shop in New Sweden.
Nancy cruises West Side Road and Shoreline Drive most days and often with her neighbor Odette Dubois in the seat beside her. Many an evening I’ll be on our deck and hear the distinct sound of her golf cart’s horn and walk out to the driveway and visit with the two. The ambiance of the lake’s neighborhood is reminiscent of a time when large front porches linked neighbors as they strolled along the sidewalks, visiting across the lawns. Here at Cross Lake we visit with neighbors kayaking by and reconnect with those who have a camp across the lake, waving as they cruise by in their pontoon boat. The gravel road that links the camps on the West Side of the lake reminds me of another time long since past. The childhood days when a friend’s house was a mere bicycle ride away and a call at her back door to come out and play.
For the past week Nancy’s been honking for me to come out and play. She is “mushrooming.” Each season around this time, the soil seems to mushroom with the fungi. Good grief, did I really write that? The line stands a close second to Nancy’s, “My collection is mushrooming.”
Her new “collection” is in full swing. She is snapping pictures with her phone of the scores of mushrooms along our route and, in collaboration with Shutterfly, is framing the returned product for display on a wall in one of the rooms in her camp. The mushrooms are quite interesting in their various forms. Some so wide they resemble miniature bird baths; others on stems with round tops the texture of a golf ball. Others are clumped together in intricate patterns and yet others still, shaped like none previously encountered.
Nancy, who does not eat mushrooms, looks at those we come upon artistically. I see them stuffed or sautéed, coated with batter and deep fried and to this day savor the memory of a pasta and mushroom cream sauce dish I experienced five years ago in a Siena outdoor café.