Holiday weekend was dreary but there was still more bacon than onions
I spent Memorial Day weekend in New Hampshire.
Before I went, I put a good deal of thought into packing my suitcase.
I was only going to be away for three days, but the somewhat grim and unpredictable weather forecast forced me to plan for a wide range of conditions.
Would it rain for three straight days? Would it be cold? Would it be warm? Should I bring both sandals and sneakers and hiking boots? Should I bring multiple fleeces and thick woolen socks? Would a winter hat and gloves be necessary?
I answered yes to all of these questions, which made for a very full suitcase. I looked like I was leaving on a weeklong vacation.
The temperature dropped steadily as I headed northeast on Saturday, dipping to 38 degrees as I drove over Hogback Mountain, a 2,400-plus foot peak in southern Vermont. Gloomily, I wondered whether it would snow. The rain that had awoken me earlier in the day showed no signs of letting up. Strong gusts of wind shook the trees and the American flags displayed for the holiday. Most cars had their headlights on because of the increasingly dark skies.
Wearing three layers
When I got to my sister’s house, she apologized.
“I’m sorry it’s raining,” she said.
“It’s not your fault,” I said, because, as much as I like to blame other people for my problems, I knew that my sister was not responsible for the horrible weather.
We spent the rest of the day playing with my delightful niece Kenzie, eating dinner and discussing what to do the next day. “Maybe it will clear up and we can go outside,” I said.
I was trying to be optimistic, but it wasn’t working. I was quite certain that it would rain for the next two days, and that I would go crazy.
But when I woke up the next morning, I was pleasantly surprised. It was still cold and windy, but the sun was out. We bundled up, and set out for a walk on a nearby rail trail. I wouldn’t describe our outing as pleasant: At points, my ears got so cold that I pulled the hood of my sweatshirt over my head. “Maybe we can get ice cream,” my sister said. I shivered. Ice cream seemed like a bad idea considering the frigid weather. But after lunch in a warm restaurant, I changed my mind. “Let’s eat the ice cream in the car,” I said, “so that we don’t freeze to death.”
I’ve never ranked Memorial Day weekends before, but this one was a definite contender for Worst Memorial Day Weekend Ever. I won’t lie: I feel entitled to good weather on Memorial Day weekend. Don’t you? I spend most Memorial Day weekends wandering around in shorts and sandals; this year I found it necessary to wear at least three layers at all times.
“This has been a bad spring,” my sister remarked at one point. “It’s been really cold, and I got epilepsy.”
Catching up with Adam
On Sunday night, I met up with my old friend Adam, who was house-sitting for a friend on New Hampshire’s Lake Winnepesaukee. After dinner, we walked down to a small beach; to prepare for our jaunt, I donned another layer of clothing and a winter hat. Adam and I worked at camp together years ago, and at one point he observed that our little outing was reminiscent of the late-night walks after we had put the campers to bed.
“I don’t remember it being this cold,” I grumbled.
In fact, I remembered jumping in the lake to cool off, and sitting on the dock with my feet in the water. Even so, it seemed a bit churlish to complain about the weather. I hadn’t seen Adam in a couple of years and we were having a very nice time, sitting beneath the stars and talking, and listening to the water lap gently against the shore. Sure, it was cold, but it wasn’t raining, and I felt as relaxed as I had in weeks.
The next morning, we got up and packed our bags to hike Welch and Dickey, two small mountains connected via a loop trail. Adam’s family had attempted Welch and Dickey a few days earlier and been forced to turn back because of wet, slippery rocks, but we were hopeful. It hadn’t rained in 24 hours, and the ground appeared to be drying out.
On the way to the trailhead, we stopped at a diner. The service was speedy; after a short wait, our waitress delivered my three-cheese omelet, Adam’s sausage, gravy and biscuits and a small plate of bacon. But after eating about half my breakfast, I encountered a problem: The center of my omelet was filled with onions! I pushed it aside.
“What’s wrong?” Adam asked.
“My omelet has onions in it,” I said. “I don’t want to complain. But it’s kind of annoying. I checked the ingredients. If I knew this omelet contained onions, I wouldn’t have ordered it.”
Adam nodded, thinking. “Maybe you got the wrong order,” he said. He pointed to the plate of bacon in the center of the table, which neither of us had touched. “Did you order that bacon?” he asked.
“No,” I said. “Did you?”
“No,” he said. “I think they brought you someone else’s omelet. And bacon.”
We helped ourselves to the bacon, which was delicious.
“I think there’s a lesson here,” Adam said. “Sometimes life brings you onions, but it also brings you bacon.”
Our hike was just about perfect — great views and balmy weather. On our way back to Adam’s house, we stopped at a waterfall. I still had my fleece on, but it wasn’t quite as cold, and when I dipped my toes into the water it felt good. Perhaps this wasn’t the Worst Memorial Day Weekend Ever. Perhaps there’d been more bacon than onions.
Driving home, I realized that it had actually been a great Memorial Day weekend.
It just took me a while to realize it, that’s all.
Sara Foss is a Gazette reporter. Opinions expressed in her column are her own and not necessarily the newspaper’s. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org. Her blog is at www.dailygazette.com/weblogs/foss.