Blue skies and gentle west winds with occasional gusts graced our Sunday Family Fourth Festivities at Goomp's Camelot-by-the-Sea down east. Old Glory, above, was in her glory.
Suzi's Red, White and Blue Strawberry/Blueberry Shortcake hit our sweet spot. All agreed Pillsbury's Shortcake beats those dry, tasteless homemade ones of our new-bride days when you had to prove your culinary worth by making everything from scratch.
Working off our just desserts, Sue, Ellen, Matt, Tuck, Ben and ourselves tripped the light fantastic in a rousing rendition of the Cliff-Walk Two-Step across the York River down by York Harbor Beach, with the Hahbah in the background.
Mother ponders what to do next as son checks camera settings.
Earlier on the opposite side of the river at Goomp's, a groaning board of Fourth-of-July faves was downed with relish: Grilled Chicken Sate with Peanut Sauce, rib eyes, Kayem [Chelsea's own!] dogs — both pork and beef — on grilled buns, corn on the cob, Eddie's Beans [Thanks, Ellen!], Sissy's Superb Potato Salad and Corny Cornbread Mini Muffins. Did we forget anything? Oh, yes: The champagne flowed!
Note gray roof of Goomp's house in background across the river, upper right amidst native forest greenery.
'Wish the day would linger longer … They left us laughing and begging for more. A wonderful time was had by all. Click here for higher-resolution image.
As we made our way back to the car, Matthew discovered a botanical "reversion," growing out of one of the Dwarf Alberta Spruces (Picea Glauca 'Alberta') that dot the landscape. The sport's the strapping youngster sprouting from the refined parent plant, above. Wikipedia explains:
A sport is a part of a plant … that shows morphological differences from the rest of the plant.
Sports with desirable characteristics are often propagated vegetatively to form new cultivars. Such selections are often prone to "reversion," meaning that part or all of the plant reverts to its original form.
Googling, we came upon this fascinating snippet of plant-explorer lore — worthy of a blogpost of its own, tied in with the contentious "green" debate — from the University of Arkansas Extension Service:
Dwarf Alberta Spruce was discovered in 1904 in the Northern Rockies near Lake Laggan, Alberta as two Arnold Arboretum botanists awaited the arrival of their train to take them back to Boston. Today, they would meet with serious government red tape and social castigation, but at the time they spotted the stunted seedling and recognized it as something new and different. Without a second thought, they dug it up and took it home with them.
Back in Boston, the dwarf spruce was found to be easy to propagate and was released to the nursery trade a few years later. [You see them everywhere, from carefully cultivated formal estates and suburban lawns to planted in large terra cotta pots outside luxury apartment buildings and perfunctorily "landscaped" curbs of gas stations along the interstate.]
The most famous of the pair was Alfred Rehder, who became known to thousands of students for his Manual of Cultivated Trees and Shrubs. In the1940 edition, Rehder was the first to use a plant hardiness zone map based on minimum winter temperatures. His first hardiness map had only seven zones but served as the precursor to the 12-zone USDA map we use today.
Heading south back to Chelsea on I-95 Monday morning, we found ourselves playing a bit part in the big traffic story of the day, a smash-up involving three cars and a tanker truck in the northbound lane. Police cars, ambulances, fire engines, a dump truck full of sand and a hazmat vehicle rushed to the scene, and a helicopter hovered overhead. The highway was closed for hours as emergency workers tried to stem the flow of oil into the nearby Merrimack River. We escaped with a relatively modest 45-minute delay and a creepy feeling at the horror of it all, compounded by the fact that just as the traffic was starting to slow down, we had been reading the chapter in Jonah Goldberg's Liberal Fascism where Lucianne's elder son makes the argument that Woodrow Wilson was "the twentieth century's first fascist dictator."
Update: More pics and info re crash and clean-up from local Daily News.
Other than that, a perfect weekend.