Watching spring arrive in the Berkshires in Western Massachusetts is pretty special - so many shades of green. Luckily, the black fly season lasted just a few weeks - those biting critters sure were persistent.
It didn't take long for us to get back involved in helping Scott, the caretaker and only paid employee, get Klondike ready for the upcoming season, with the official opening Memorial Day weekend. Seeing as we were up here earlier than planned, we figured we 'd make ourselves useful. Scott prepared a list of items to be done so we picked what we were capable of doing. We pulled dead flower stalks, we sprayed for weeds, we fixed flower containers, we battened down the hatch and other parts of the wooden play boat in the playground, we swept and mopped the entire second floor of the clubhouse and vacuumed out all the dust bunnies and dead bugs from the windowsills, we replaced some of the depth markers in the pool, we helped put the pool furniture out, we removed storm windows and cleaned the first floor of the clubhouse, we put up badminton and tennis nets, we weed whacked and swept the tennis and basketball courts and we picked up trash outside of the park's entrance. Larry learned how to operate the zero-turn lawnmower - a huge help because there is a lot of grass in the common areas. But the best part was that we worked on our own time schedule - we sure are good bosses to work for! And Scott and Klondike's board members have been very appreciative.
On our self-appointed 'days off', we worked on our new site. We found a 10 x 12 screened-in wood gazebo at Sheds-N-Stuff in Cheshire, Massachusetts. Matt gave us a great deal on one already assembled on the lot which was last year's model. The Amish manufacturer no longer carried that model so the local dealer wanted something on the lot more representative of what is available. After obtaining permission from the Klondike board to place a gazebo on our lot, and getting a building permit from the town of Otis, we scheduled delivery for the following week. Sure wish we had taken a video of how they brought the gazebo in and placed and leveled it, all with a minimum of equipment.
The day after the gazebo got delivered, we had two truckloads of pea-sized stone delivered to cover the driveway. We opted to rake it ourselves to save some money - hard work! But we (mainly Larry) got 'er done with a small pile still left to go under the motor home when we move it off of the pad. The site is shaping up. Landscaping still needs to be done but we're trying to determine what are weeds and what aren't.
The month wasn't all work - we enjoyed either socializing with friends and family here or making short trips out and about. Several Klondikers helped us christen the new gazebo for happy hour one evening. One day we picked brother Brian up and drove to his father-in-law Dave's house which he and Bonnie are cleaning out to return back to the rental agency. Dave was quite talented in creating folk art in various forms. One of his famous tin men is hanging on our original site so we picked out a his and her pair to display on our new site. Nicknamed Mr. and Mrs. Pothead, they will always remind us of what a special guy Dave was and how much he will be missed.
Memorial Day weekend is the official start of the season here in Klondike but the weather certainly wasn't very cooperative. It was unseasonably cold with rain most of the weekend. Normally all of the opening weekend events (cocktail hour Friday evening, potluck Saturday evening, and the Sunday morning breakfast) are held poolside but not this year. We ended up trying to keep warm and dry in the only heated area of the clubhouse - the first floor. One still had to brave the elements to get breakfast at the outdoor kitchen/cafe. Snowflakes were even spotted that Sunday morning - unheard of at the end of May!
Lucille's brother Ray invited us to join him and his family for the Memorial Day ceremonies in Plymouth, Connecticut, immediately following the service at the Congregational Church on the town's Green. Veterans were honored, the mayor gave a short speech, the honor guard presented arms, there was a 21-gun salute, but most impressive was hearing the local school's fifth graders recite the Gettysburg Address without any prompting. Apparently this has been a tradition for years - Ray's daughters have participated in the past. Their youngest, Jessie, was part of the middle school marching band. We then went to their home where they put on a feast, as they always do.
But the sun finally made an appearance on Memorial Day - Brian, Bonnie and her sister Sharon joined us for a cookout - what's a Memorial Day weekend without a cookout!
The month ended with a special celebration - our 42nd wedding anniversary. The two of us enjoyed lunch at the Barrington Brewery and Restaurant but when longtime friends Lou and Anne asked us to join them for a short drive and dinner at the Russell Inn, we didn't hesitate in saying yes. We don't get to spend as much time with them as we'd like because of our respective schedules, so those few hours that evening were really enjoyable.
So what's coming up in June? A day trip to the Thimble Islands in Connecticut, an overnight visit from Alabama friends Ron and Linda, and just kicking back here at Klondike.