Saturday was gorgeous here, and Jim and I decided to take a drive out to central Massachusetts.Â (We have a dream of moving out to a quiet, rural town in central MA, where we could afford a decent sized house and have a bit of a yard to garden in; but being eastern MA born and bred, weâ€™ll probably never act upon that dream.)
Jim drove us through Petersham, Hardwick, and Ware, and since we had packed a lunch we ended up driving into the Quabbin reservoir.Â We found a lone picnic table in a perfect spot, above a stand of birch trees, looking down into a small bay where two men were peacefully fishing.
After lunch, we drove as close as you can get to the Winsor Dam, parked, and took a walk over the dam and into the rather decrepit visitorâ€™s center.Â It was sunny, balmy, and the perfect day for that walk.Â We marvelled at the mowing job of the grass on the back slope of the dam; they must own a special machine to cut the grass on that angle.Â I took a lot of photos, including a couple of pictures of the building that juts out of the dam itself.Â The windows are dirty, and the blinds inside are drawn, so I suspect no one goes in there much these days, but Iâ€™d love to know what that buildingâ€™s purpose is or was.
And then we got to the visitor center.Â Jim braved the menâ€™s room that lurks down a flight of creaky steps (if stones can be creaky) in front of the visitorâ€™s center, but I found the equivalent womenâ€™s room to be the single most creepy public bathroom ever.Â Itâ€™s located a fair distance away from the menâ€™s room, so I knew Jim wouldnâ€™t hear me if I screamed; there was no functioning light, it was really dark inside, it was ungodly hot and humid, and only one of the stalls appeared to be useable.Â Quick turnaround; no need to tempt fate.Â The visitorâ€™s center bathroom wasnâ€™t much better, and it convinced me that I will never, ever attend a function there that serves food.Â They store their coffee urns, serving platters, and other function dishes in the bathroom, and the bathroom ainâ€™t too clean, either.Â But at least it wasnâ€™t creepy.
After leaving Quabbin, we drove back through the towns we had seen before, commenting here and there on fabulous old houses that weâ€™d love to live in.Â One last stop took us the the Sears in Leominster, where the customers and staff alike are so much friendlier and more pleasant than their counterparts further east.Â Itâ€™s really like another world just west of us; you donâ€™t have to travel far to enjoy the visit, either.
And for that whole day, I almost didnâ€™t think about childrenâ€™s literature or work at all.
Thatâ€™s a good thing.Â We all need a break from the daily grind, even when we love that daily grind.