Friday, June 21, 2013

What Summer's All About...

Children having fun in the pool!
Tom and I had my sister's little girl for a few days this week and my other sister's Parisienne friend's youngster, Pierre. It just happened that one of my nearby friends could use a babysitter for her 10-year-old girl on the days that I had charge of my niece Rebecca. Another friend came over with her 10-year-old girl too. What a happy threesome they were -- delightful to have around. (I know, I know...what's up with me having friends who still have little kids? I do actually have some friends my own age. They come over to use the pool too. But somehow pictures of 60-year-olds in swimsuits isn't so endearing as kids and tots in swimsuits. So there will be no postings of us oldsters working out our kinks through water aerobics.) 

Syncronized swimmers in training.


But it's not all fun and games. There's work to be done.
                 Who knew a 9 1/2-year-old could operate a power washer?                                   
                             For sure, 16-year-olds can drive tractors.
Sign your kids up for Camp Tom and Betsy, we've taken a page from Mark Twain's Tom Sawyer. "This is so much fun. Well I guess you can have a go at it if you really want." Of course it didn't work as well with our own kids. And by the time they were old enough to be of real use to us they up and left for college. All that training and phffft...they left us to use their skills elsewhere. Which I guess was the point all along.
We (me, my brothers and sisters, and even my parents) have a long history of hosting French students for summer vacations. Kathy, the eldest of us Bruce siblings, who has lived in Paris, France for some 30+ years, makes arrangements with her friends, co-workers, or bosses to send their children to the states to be immersed in English language and culture for 2 or 3 weeks. It's been a grand experience for all of us and our children through the years. Sofie was the first student as I recall. She's is grown, married and has children of her own now. We hosted Jonathan 3 or 4 different summers. The first time he was only 11 years old and our David was 10. Jonathan learned to shear Christmas trees alongside David. They were a great help to us, although neither of them took much delight in the task. I remember the day I found them off in a corner of the field, sitting, chatting in the shade of fir trees, clicking their hedge clippers, somewhat rythmically, or at least often enough to sound like they were still diligently at work. Big sheepish smiles greeted me when I confronted them. Me, hands on hips shaking my head. Them, laughing at their good joke.
Then there was Ben. He visited us a few years ago, but it was too early to shear trees. He scraped and painted our front porch. Hmmm, I wonder what he's doing next summer? Like I said, our kids up and left us, but other people have kids. You just have to borrow and bargain and there's no end to the work you can get out of 'em.
Here are Pierre and Tom checking out basketball schedules. Big finals tonight on TV! (Or last night, or the night before...I don't really know.)
A tour of the property always includes a trip to the beautiful beaver dam. A good place for a photo.

Upon returning from seeing the full scope of the grounds with Tom, Pierre said to me -- in his delightful French accent, "Deese property of yours is verry beautiful. It is really lovely."
His English is superb, and his accent, oh so charming.


Sarah Rose said...

Just letting you know, the Humes' kids are little, but they are hard workers! :) Always love a "Betsy Post."

Kristine said...

Pierre is right - your property is very beautiful! It is made all the more lovely because of the warmhearted people who live there.

Betsy Henning said...

Dear Sarah, yes we'll have to start grooming those Humes children. I love that you're. Teaching them to love being a blessing to others.

Betsy Henning said...

Kristine, what a kind thing to say! I love having you for a friend :-)