Fall Chores in New Freedom, PA

6 Oct

By Bruce Summers, Personal Historian, Summoose Tales

20141003_141412 Fall Chores - Bruce and Dad - Taking down awning - Summers House - New Freedom

I missed my mom’s 84th birthday last week. I had to work so I could not celebrate with her in person.  I called her and confirmed that I was coming up to visit the next day to take her to lunch. Mom mentioned casually, “we may have a few chores for you to do.” I smiled inwardly and said that will be okay, you have me all day.

Mom and Dad looked great when I arrived. They are still in their house in New Freedom, PA, the home I grew up in. We asked Dad if he wanted to join us for lunch, but he said no, you go ahead, I have a few things to do.

20141003_143151 Jane and Tom on back patio in New Freedom

Mom and I had a short drive over to one of her favorite restaurants in Shrewsbury, PA. I had a Blue Cheese Burger and she had the Crab Dip with Pita Bread. We had a nice time catching up on family news.

Then it was time to drive back to her home and get down to business. “Dad has a few chores for you,” she mentioned. I smiled in anticipation. Sure enough dad was up by their pool in the back yard. We headed on up. Mom pointed out a beautiful red flower my cousin Larry had given her during last summer’s Family Reunion.

20141003_123612 Flower from Larry Bell - Summers House - New Freedom

My dad at age 85 still enjoys doing chores and yard work. Perhaps not every day, but especially when he has one of his four sons or some of his grandchildren home to get a project done. He was re-arranging sand-filled bags around the pool cover. Project one was to help fold in the cover a bit and help him re-position the bags.

It is fall so project two was putting away the furniture around the pool and the gazebo. But first we needed to rearrange the garage a bit. We shifted a table and the pool blanket a bit. We made sure the chair covers were on top and easy to access.

Then I got started carrying furniture down the steps from the pool to the garage. My mom was ready to help. My dad suggested it might be better to let Bruce carry things down the steps while she and my dad arranged things in the garage.  Dad did help me bring down the table. “We rest things on top of the table and the chairs,” he shared. My dad is very organized, he visualized the spaces where everything will fit, repeating the pattern from the prior 10 to 20 years.  I nodded agreement and brought down the rest of the chairs.

Project three. “Go ahead and bring the chair in from the front porch,” suggested Dad. These are heavy spring steel porch chairs.  They brought back memories of doing similar chores for my grandmother Summers who lived a few blocks away on High Street in New Freedom.  My brothers, cousins and I got these chairs out in the spring, washed them with soap and water, and then worked in pairs to carry them to her front porch. As an adult, I am proud to be able to haul these chairs by myself, heavy and awkward though they may be.

20141003_135639 Fall Chores - Bringing in Front Porch chairs - Summers House - New Freedom

I asked my dad, “How old are these chairs,” I had been moving them to and from porches for 50 years. “I remember they bought them after we moved to New Freedom,” Dad shared, setting the date range from about 75 to 80 years old.

Two of the porch chairs were arranged next to the table from the gazebo with the third resting upside down on top of the first two. Project four. We were ready to take down the awnings. Dad looked over at the wooden step-ladder. Ah, more memories. How many times did I use that ladder to precariously hop onto my parent’s rough from the top of the ladder so I could clean the leaves out of the gutters or to fetch the Frisbee that got thrown up on the roof by mistake?  Then there was always that slight leap of faith back down onto the top of the ladder, you know the part that modern ladders warn, “do not step on this part”, to get back down.

20141003_142203 Step Ladder - Summers House - New Freedom

Luckily I only needed to go up two or three steps to help take the awnings down, but just looking at that ladder gave me a bit of an adrenaline rush and another inward smile. “Ok, you rest the bottom of the awning on the top of the ladder as you release the latches, I have the other end,” my dad instructed. As usual, this worked great. We folded up the awnings from the screened porch and then carried them together to the garage. We laid them across the top of the table from the gazebo and the porch chairs. “See they fit perfectly,” my dad observed. They fit perfectly to the inch I concurred.

20141003_142420 Summers House - Volleyball net still resting from Chichester Reunion

20141003_142510 Summers House - Asparagus Patch - Fall Season - New Freedom

I put the step-ladder away. “What about the volleyball net,” my mom asked. My dad assured her that my brother would take care of that.  I took a quick look around the yard.  The asparagus bed looked clean and had gone to seed for the winter, as per plan.  The leaves had not started falling yet, so that would be someone else’s chore.  The Pearl River, NY maple tree looked healthy, I had transplanted that from my other grandmother’s home when I was ten.  The High Street maple tree my dad, my brothers and I transplanted with a backhoe from the canning factory was also looking good.

20141003_142548 Summers House - Maple Tree from Pearl River 20141003_142558 Summers House - Maple Tree from High Street and Jane Summers

My mom and I walked out to the front yard so I could get a picture of her by the blue hydrangea in the front garden. The garden looked good. My dad pointed to towering oak tree in the front yard. “That will need to come down before winter,” he shared. He pointed out the crack in the trunk. Then we discussed how they would take it down without crushing the sign post and garden on the corner.  This was another chore for another day.

20141003_142846 ane Summers with Hydrangea closer

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One Response to “Fall Chores in New Freedom, PA”

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  1. Fall Chores in New Freedom, PA | Summers "Engagement" Consulting - October 7, 2014

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