Thursday, March 29, 2007

Whoohoo Spring Break!

Not so many years ago, my little daughter led a Spring Break backpacking group through some trecherous canyon out West. About 20 kids from her college in New York stopped off at our house on the way home. Twenty, stinky college kids. They just set up their tents in our front yard for one night, long enough to rotate through our hot water supply a few times. Our stuffy neighbors have probably logged it into their memories of us along with the insane tree climbing my husband did every Christmas to decorate the White Pine in our yard that grew to be about 50 feet high despite the textbooks never gave it a chance in our climate.

While it was heartbreaking Erin went off to college at least she called home enough to not make it sound like the only time she called was to ask about money. She was pretty astute that way, and sometimes I think she was even lonesome.

The summer after she graduated, Erin poked around the house a month or two aimlessly sending out her resume, but she had big city lights reflecting in her hazel irises. She soon packed up the little tin can car we had bought her, in her last year of college, and along with a few scruffy boys she had known since junior high, headed for the West Coast. Sadly, she loves it there. And while she makes considerably more money than she could in our neck of the woods, she has no parking space attached to her leased apartment that she has to share with several others in order to afford the costly just-above-slum located flat.

It was on one of those Spring Breaks that Erin coined the phrase Whoohoo Spring Break! You just can't type the phrase and expect it to come off the way it sounds, but I know you can use your imagination.

Now, as a busy executive who travels a lot, Erin has a new saying, "I don't have time to talk." Some people get in that groove and never come out of it, but she is young, and working hard, and we're very proud of her. Besides she's the girl that coined Whoohoo Spring Break! And I'm sure that in the not too distant future she'll get back to her core values.

She's getting married in a few weeks. The good news is that we love her bethrothed, Alex Koll, a budding comedian, with many other creative talents as well.

As I paddled through the glassy water on my lunch break today, the yellow pollen that lies on the surface of the lake right now like oil on water, skirted the kayak, and I thought to myself Whoohoo Spring Break! The trees on the mountain are all shades of green and I should have felt joy. But the little squeeky Whoohoo that came out was a little pathetic and weak.

This is not the first time I have been the mother-of-the bride, but it is perhaps the hardest as it is my last. There will be nothing traditional about this wedding, but thankfully the saying my husband quoted years ago, when Erin was a teen, "If Erin ever gets married, we'll probably have to learn another language," won't be a prophesy after all. And while we do consider California another country, they do speak English! And yes, she's having the wedding there of course.

So Whoohoo comes out a little less than enthusiastic this week, but soon the wedding will be behind us and we'll go on to other milestones. Spring however, won't be around very long. In just a few short weeks the leaves bud out on the trees so fast you can almost watch their growth, and the beautiful fragrant blooms of Spring are so short lived. The Dogwoods are currently blooming here, and the birds are migrating. I just spotted a bird I've never seen before, a Black Poll Warbler. I've been watching birds since the early '80s and have kept a log in my well-worn Peterson's Guide to Birds.

So in the tradition of perserverence, I'm working on a positive attitude. The kind of attitude I see in the inspiring art we sell everyday. The kind of inspiring attitude that got Andrew Pollack back to New Orleans after the travails of Katrina, with a grant from the CERF Foundation, the kind of attitude that got Ildikó Kalapács honored with the Puffin Award twice.
View this piece of art by George Wittenberg and see if you don't get in a Spring Break mood.--Ruth Mitchell

Acropolis From Hotel Terrace

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