Family time is wicked important to me, so every Friday evening after work, I drive up the coast to see and spend time with my wife and my 11-year-old daughter, Olivia. This past Sunday, we all went apple picking. Olivia’s friend, Lyla, came along, and the two girls also went through a corn maze.

When I was boy on Long Island, New York, we never did these types of activities. We never even discussed it. My folks were from “the city” (New York) and activities of that kind were only engaged in by people who lived in the country. We would see that kind of thing on television. I however, always found it appealing. In fact, I was the odd duck who, when we were living in Queens in the early 1960s ”“ in a working-class neighborhood with virtually no trees or plant life of any kind ”“ would wiggle my way between the buildings behind us where there was a “wild” bush growing in the three-foot space between them. I just sat there, next to that bush, and communed with that tiny fragment of nature.

I have always been this way, what I call a tree hugger. When I got a little older and we had moved out of the city and into a neighboring town on Long Island, in my parents’ quest for entrance into the lower-middle class, I hung out in an abandoned lot with waist-high weeds growing, because not only were there plants but there were other forms of nature as well, like praying mantis. They were wicked cool.

As an adolescent in yet another home farther into suburbia, I would take the train into New York City, walk across town to the bus depot and ride the bus to upstate New York, where I would go hiking through the mountains for a week during spring and fall holidays, camping along the way.

But I digress. Back to family time.

We all picked apples, which is not only pleasant in itself but also enjoyable due to the anticipation of eating that delicious, crisp, sweet fruit and the pie and cakes that follow. The anticipation of a thing can often be as good or better than the thing itself.

On Saturday, prior to our apple-picking outing, we also went to a park and accompanying beach at Rockland Harbor and took Olivia’s friend, Honora, with us. While the girls were playing in the sand, discovering, burying and just being pre-teen girls, I was lying on the grass in the shade and catching a little shut-eye. After a short nap, I arose and just stared out at the 50 or so schooners still gracing the harbor landscape with their beauty. Maine is truly a breathtaking place. On the way home, I bought the girls some ice cream.

Sometimes it seems as though Olivia doesn’t remember the awesome places we’ve been and experiences we’ve had together. And then, out of the blue, she reminds me of something I did years before that stuck out in her mind, and made her laugh and be happy all over again. For example, this past weekend, she reminded me that when she was much younger, I would routinely walk with her on my shoulders while we both sang silly songs and people on the street would be laughing. For me, her memory of those days is one of those incredibly emotional family moments.

Thanks for reading and have a wicked cool, autumn week!

— Bruce M. Hardina is the publisher of the Journal Tribune, a singer/songwriter, a philosopher, a student of life and the human experience, a columnist, an entrepreneur and family man. To comment on his musings, email [email protected] or mail a note to Journal Tribune, Attn: Bruce Hardina, 457 Alfred St., Biddeford, ME 04005.



        Comments are not available on this story.