Tuesday, September 22, 2015

September at Otty Lake with my Sister, Doris By CB Taylor Kinsella

September was always my favorite month at the cottage on Otty Lake. Until all the kids were out of high school and away, I was based in Rochester during that month, but as soon as the “coast was clear” I took off for Canada. Sister Doris, whenever possible, was with me. Like two giddy “high schoolers,” we headed north, sometimes together, more often one of her boys brought her, both one or two weeks together, was our goal.

Mom and Doris looking GREAT for Krissy Hawkes' wedding in 2003

These weeks, or week, were closely planned. If only a week, which was the usual, our plan was clear. Shopping and sightseeing were the norm, and surrounding towns were our goal--Lanark (pop. 1,000?), Smiths Falls (pop. 8,000?), and Perth (pop. 5,000). Allowing a day for each, our second goal was our “kitchen duty.” One year we made and canned chili sauce, one year apple sauce, always we tried “new” recipes we’d clipped through the year. Our favorite, though, was “making pickles”!

Making pickles sounded so laborious but, in truth, the recipe we followed was a simple one. Take a quart jar, cut cucumbers lengthwise to fit, stuff full, add 2 Tablespoons dry mustard, 2 teaspoons salt and 4 Tablespoons of sugar, then vinegar to almost cover and ½ to 1 cup of water. Screw lid on and shake often for a week. This we accomplished by placing the jar on the kitchen counter. Each time we passed by on our way to the bathroom, our bed, (for frequent naps), or to go outside, we’d shake it vigorously and upend it! Thus, by visit’s end, we had “made pickles” (and good ones, too)!

Mom and Doris--Looking snazzy in matching shirts (Giant Tiger, anyone??!), 1979

Both these goals, though, easy to understand because we’re TAYLORS, were encompassed in READING TIME! We read early, late, all night, snacked at 2-3 a.m. – whatever occurred, NOTHING interrupted our reading! Yes, we visited and knit as we did so, but I repeat, our READING TIME was sacred!

Two separate events pop into my head, though one, a given for every visit, was that Doris, when she “cased” a store, operated like a vacuum cleaner! She never missed an item – or a bargain! And each of those towns might have only one or two stores of our interest but they were spread miles apart! Therefore, after two or three years of my driving to repeat town stores, because she’d decided she really DID want to buy “such and such,” I ruled that she must make up her mind in one visit, I was not driving all over Canada, even for her!

The second event is our famous “brown sugar tart test”! I am pretty sure I’ve already written that one up for the blog though, so I’ll just content myself with a “memorable moment.” In my mind’s eye I see Doris, lying prone on her back on the couch, book open before her eyes, and on her chest, in a straight line, four brown sugar tarts, just waiting to be eaten! This I see from my vantage point of the green chair, feet on the stool and book on my chest, as awaited my perusal, on the arm of the chair, four brown sugar tarts! We voted at the end—which of these four tarts, from four different stores, were the best, before we both fell asleep!

 Mom and Doris again in almost matching shirts, 1979, at the Marble Mines

Yes, we had glorious times together! Made marvelous memories to tide me over these lazy days. Like Uncle Wiggley, maybe the next time I’ll tell you about our “toilet manufacturer quest.”


Pat Herdeg said...

Love this, Mom! I remember such terrific stories about you two every time you can back from your September jaunt!


Mom/CB said...

The last 2 or 3 were harder, presenting such items as how to get portable Oxygen up 3-4 steps, but we solved ALL [ yep, neighbors helped! ] Glorious days and memories! WE were next in age, so did out teens together and repeated our elder age together! Never did learn to stop talking!!

Evelyn Taylor said...

The precious gems in our life are the memories we have of loved ones and the wonderfull times that we shared.


Tim Kinsella said...

I had the pleasure of being up at the cottage in September several times when the two of you were up there. Aunt Dot was always so excited to be up there. One year Rosemary's cousin's from Germany (Barbara and Friedbart) came up to the cottage while Aunt Dot was up there with you. To this day they still talk about her and how much fun she was!

MOM/CB said...

Aunt Doris really was FUN!! WE did get the most of all the time we had together! When she was home and tied to Oxygen , or had surgery, I would go and what a circus we would have! THose last years, T tried to go evry 3 weeks or som for a day, would take her out in Lockport, had lunch with her at Grandaughter's restaurant, [ Portobello burger, I did not know they even HAD such a thing!] Well, yes, I do miss her, miss them all but " It is what it is!"