My definition of a perfect summer day is a combination of playing outside, reading, and eating. But on Friday, June 21, 2002, my family and I spent the summer solstice on Sycamore Island (a sleep-over). We were not the only family. The idea, although appealing, was not what I planned for the day, but I found myself trudging down the rugged path to the ferry...
Most of the people that had arrived were setting up their tents giving my two brothers, my cousin, and me the perfect opportunity to go swimming in the surprisingly warm Potomac river! After swimming for a while (I didn't swim as long my brothers did but the amount of time I swam for was long enough to make myself look like one big prune.) I helped set up our tent which I have to admit is not easy!
Dinner consisted of hamburgers, hot dogs and the basics. Afterwards some of the kids played a game of stomping other people's balloons tied around ankles. The last balloon holder wins. This led to an unorganized water balloon fight with most running around trying not to get wet.
Instead of watching some media that night, fire flies, bonfire, and stars entertained us. Also, spontaneous storytellers took turns around the fire. When the clock in the kitchen hit eleven, campers started out to their tents. I slept lightly through the night, dreaming of a hot shower, my own bed and a nice book.
At about five a.m. we went swimming. This time the Potomac greeted us with an icy chill from the dock. Within an hour, campers were fishing; letting us join in and we even caught a few fish. As the morning rolled on, fishing drew a larger crowd of half-awake campers. After breakfast of peppery French toast, some went canoeing on the still waters, others fished, and some broke camp.
Now when I think of a perfect summer day I think of Friday, June 21, 2002. Thank you for making this possible!
Lilly Jay is 10 years old. Her parents, Molly Peter and Jeffrey Jay, are on the waiting list, and obviously participate quite actively in Club functions.
The Caretaker's Wife's Solstice party on June 21 and 22, 2002, was a quiet success. About 31 families signed up to come, and there probably more than 50 of us, kids and grownups on the island at various times. We had a ball!
The tents were set up about 6 p.m., producing a mini tent city over the Sycamore grounds. George Loeb, Tove Elfstrom and Alan Gelb wielded wicked tools over hot coals to produce an abundance of sizzling hot dogs and hamburgers, complemented by wonderful salads, cakes and cookies brought by many and ushered in by Susan Elfstrom, Marcia Loeb, and lots of others. Renee Dunham coached a fast game of "balloon stomp" and led a happy viewing of the setting solstice sun.
These activities were soon followed by a grandbonfire. We were entertained under the stars and sparks by knock-knock jokes from the younger set, marshmallow s'mores, a reminder of "old times" at Sycamore from Betty Burchell that prompted many more reminiscences by the older crowd, and a grand rendering of Robert Service's "The Cremation of Dan McGee" by Bill Banta. The morning was celebrated by a bunch of early rising fisherfolk and canoers. When the rest of us rubbed the sleep from our eyes, we were met by a grand breakfast of French Toast, juice and coffee rassled up by Jane and David Winer, with the assistance of Molly Peter, Marcia and other willing hands.
George Loeb opened his 3-D model of Stonehenge and led an informal discussion of solstices, sun and moonlight measurement that led to the moon rather than the sun as the standard of measure for the year's events (giving us the months), and of stone age graph paper and other "primitive" cultures with tremendous astronomical intellect.
We didn't need to organize any other activities because folks were just enjoying Sycamore and having a wonderful time on a beautiful sunny Saturday.
Thanks to all the other unnamed (but appreciated) Islanders who lent their hands and hearts willingly to make the Solstice the great party that it was.