Tub O’ Soda, 10″ x 10″ Oil on gessobord
Original page from Michne Camping Log, 1971
My father kept our camping log all the years we camped. This page has the story of the day I won the “floating mattress!”
It was July 16, 1971. The perfect summer day as I recall. My father was hosting the annual work picnic. I won a green raft that day for my athletic ability in the egg race! It was my biggest claim to fame as a 9 year old. I remember reaching into a tub of iced cold soda with what seemed like every variety ever invented. It was sheer heaven- all the FREE SODA I could drink! Pull the ring tab- wear it on your finger for a bit before carelessly dropping it somewhere in the grass. Take that long first sip…..ahhhhhhhhhh. Life was good.
Who’s Thirsty? 10″ x 10″ Oil on Gessobord
We didn’t have water bottles- there was no sippy box, pouch or fancy energy drink. If you were outside playing, and you were thirsty, you would simply turn on the spigot, bend down a bit, wait for about 10 seconds until the cold water reached the end of the hose, then take a long, long gulp swallowing, swallowing and swallowing. Of course, you would then offer the hose to the next sweaty, out of breath neighborhood friend. If you were on your game that day, you might remember to turn off the hose. Or, your father might step in huge puddle and yell out ” Who left the dam hose on?”
Cherry Kool-Aid, 10″ x 10″ Oil on Gessobord
Making Kool-Aid was hit-or-miss. First, you had to have packet. Chances are, we didn’t have enough sugar to fill the measuring cup. Next, to find the pitcher- (dump out whatever old drink was brewing in that!) After accidentally snorting the unsweetened powder when you opened it, get your spoon, add sugar, stir, then pray that you would have ice in the ice-cube maker! If all was right with the world, you would have the perfect sugary cup of cherry Kool-Aid. All in a summer’s days work!
Frozen Pink Lemonade
After ripping the plastic strip off the can, removing the aluminum disk from the end, I would hold that can for a few seconds then wait for the “scccuuuupppppp” sound as the plop of pink creamy ice fell into the pitcher. I remember being in such a hurry to make it that filling 3 whole cans of water seemed like an eternity. The sticky, gooey mess would be left on the counter, along with whatever utensil could find to make it. Then, after selecting a glass as impressive as this pink drink, I would find the perfect spot to enjoy it. The ritual involved with pink lemonade hasn’t changed much and while buying a carton may seem easier, there is something about the canned frozen pink lemonade that remains my prefered method of classic, summer-must enjoyment.
Coke and a Smile. 10″ x 10″ Oil on Gessobord
Detail: Coke and a Smile.
I feel for this generation that didn’t get to experience the Real Thing. The commercial- apple trees, honey bees and snow white turtle doves. Everyone knows things go better with Coke. Especially the mountains! Taking a freezing cold Coke out of a galvanized bucket of ice- there is nothing more refreshing on a hot summer’s day. It adds life! It’s a natural! This video clip says it all! Classic Coke Commercial- Thank you Don Draper!
Heads Up, 6″ x 6″ Oil on gesso
Walking among Adirondack pines, I can not help but feel I’m in my “happy place”. The fragrant smells as you brush pine trees, the chirping of bird (which I can never find), and the sunlight that manages to break through the towering trees to reach the floor of the woods fills me with gratefulness. Looking straight up through the trees is its own experience-almost dizzying. As a kid, I remember going on a few hikes. We would fill a canteen and wear it around our neck. My father could identify every tree. He would pick up a rock and tell you the geological formation from which it originated. He could hear a bird and identify it’s call, if heard only once. He is pretty much a walking Almanac of information. It’s sad that the things so available in nature aren’t shared as much as they used to be. Now, we hike with our phones. I am guilty as charged-for without my phone, I wouldn’t have taken this photo. A short walk on Hammond Pond trail yielded the most amazing views…especially up.
Hats Off to Frontier Town, 6″ x 6″ Oil on gesso board
Growing up in upstate New York, it was inevitable that we would make the journey up the Northway (I 87) to North Hudson’s acclaimed Frontier Town. We would cram in the hot car filled with excitement to see the Wild West act out in front of our very eyes! There would be the shoot out, and the horse rides…the visit to the jail, and of course, the train ride. We would spend the entire day walking from “cool” building to the next, while wearing our red hats and Sheriff badges. A visit to the snack bar for a burger and fries before watching the Rodeo…it was a perfect summer day. It was a wonderland for every child, with real cowboys and Native Americans. We would walk to our car at sunset, and there it would be: the Frontier Town brown and orange car signs wired to our bumper. On the long drive home, we would sit in the back of the wagon, window down, playing cowboys and Sherriff with all the cars that passed us. Another fun family day…in summer, as it was. Ironically, we bought our camp from the creators of Frontier Town. The hat in this painting was purchased at Lonergans’s Antiques in Ticonderoga. Today, I rode my bike back to Frontier Town and found the perfect spot to say Hats Off to Frontier Town.
The Sprinkler, 6″ x 6″ Oil on gesso board
There was always the sprinkler. On super hot days, the sprinkler was seen more as an “at home” amusement rather than something to use for watering the lawn. Of course you could run through it, but the most fun was the dare to see how long you could stand under it while the freezing cold water fell on you. There is something about the sound of a “good” sprinkler that evokes all the magic of childhood, even though the sprinkler I painted made no sound, unless it would hit a metal roof, or a wheel barrel, or the pavement in making its arc of water. For watering the lawn, a sprinkler is a fine piece of suburban artifact-but for hours of sheer joy, a sprinkler deserves a top ten rating for its enjoyment factor!
Road Without a Name, 6″ x 6″ Oil on gesso board
Paper maps seem to be just for decoration and collage projects these days, maybe the rare emergency! There was a time, when you would open the glove compartment, and they would spring out like a jack-in-the-box! We had maps. Maps of states, cities- local road maps…but I don’t recall them ever being used. My parents instilled in all their children a sense of adventure. We would turn down random Adirondack roads in search of any sign of wildlife. Eventually, we would make it back to home base. My own kids have the same love of discovering what’s around the next Adirondack bend…except Siri or Garmin is with them all the way!
Growing Clouds, 6″ x 6″ Oil on gesso board
There is something mesmerizing about watching storm clouds form. They percolate upward as if trying to reach the top of the sky. Saratoga County is filled with wonderful fields and farms sharing the big sky with its travelers. Growing up here, I was very aware of the sun setting. It seemed to linger longer than anywhere else I have ever lived. Now, living here again, I have become a storm chaser…anything for the glow of late day sun.