“Every morning after breakfast, like clockwork. Dad danced with Edith. He carried her into the living room and lifted her high over his head. Then while we all stood in a circle and sang a waltzing tune, he whirled her around up near the ceiling … In those early hill days it was my brother who summed up our feelings about Edith the best, ‘I’d like to keep her exactly how she is this minute,’ Ken said, ‘I’d like to shellac her.’” — Philip B. Kunhardt Jr.
During these pandemic moments of joy here in the Villas, my new home, I would like to varnish them and keep them forever in my memories. The moments of gloom I want to paint with black paint to obliterate from my memory.
Now that I have days when I have time to look back on my life, I want to spray shellac on our Maine cottage by the Damariscotta River. To always be the same cottage we fell in love with years ago. Shellac on the shingles that have weathered to silver beach gray and the screened porch which was added on a few summers later blending into permanence.
Then a quick coat of shellac to capture the scent of our muddy cove mixed with saltwater seaweed so it lingers in my nostrils. I want to shellac the skyline complete with the sight of the osprey hovering over the river in drops and dives as if attached to a kite string.
Let me varnish Main Street, Damariscotta, the bridge over the roaring rapids, the antique red brick buildings. Then a swish here and there in front of shops established by local families, some of them still advertising beloved family names.
I want to keep the flower boxes perky with plum purple petunias and patriotic red geraniums. Give me a brush filled with varnish to cover the quirky and quaint hand-printed signs embellishing front windows. Spritz and spray. Spritz and spray.
I long to cement the dioramas along Cottage Point Road. To save and savor them as we viewed them the first time we walked the road. As with all “firsts” in life, they took our breath away.
Same trees, same sun, same river. Nature’s guarantee that some things never change.
Here in my home at the Villas, I want to spray the shellac over just the way it is today … Brush on thick varnish. Glob on some glue. Pour cement. Starch the memories and keep them molded in my mind, to preserve the past and the present. Save the “oohhs and aahhs.” I want the memories to endure forever and ever.
“This is the peace, the indifference of nature, another year seeming the same as the year before, the static ability of the world to endure.” — Richard Eberhart
Good old-fashioned baked beans
1 medium can pork and beans; 3-6 slices of uncooked bacon; 3/4 cup brown sugar and 1 tsp of maple flavoring; 1 tsp dry mustard; 2 tbsp vinegar; 1/2 cup ketchup; 1 small onion, chopped; dash of Worcestershire sauce
Mix all ingredients. Pour into baking dish. Cover with bacon strips cut into squares. Bake uncovered at 350 degrees until bubble and brown on top, 45 minutes.