short url to this post: http://wp.me/p4jGvr-Bk
by Donnie Hayden
© 2015, all rights reserved
In another post dated October 20, 2014, “Frost on the Punkin,” http://wp.me/p4jGvr-x5, I shared a favorite poem of mine with a video of a feller’ reading it aloud. The poem is, “When the Frost is on the Punkin.” It was written by, James Whitcomb Riley. 1853–1916.
Recently, after going near stir-crazy from the long winter here in New York, it was a beautiful day, the sky blue, the temperature 41º F. and it was time to get out of the house and take a drive!
The temperature and warm sun upon my ageing (or aging) face made it possible, for me to drive with the window slightly ajar and feel the wind through my thinning hair, but the drive along the shore of Lake Ontario and my expectations, for what was in store, made me feel, forever young! Soon, I would meet my cousin and his grandmother, our dear sweet Aunt Anne Magar (Bab’s) [pronounced: Bob’s], for a pancake breakfast.
It was not just any ordinary pancake breakfast. Oh, NO, this was the last weekend and the last day, of the New York Maple Syrup Festivals, held all over the state. The breakfast was held by and cooked by, the folks that work or own, this maple tree farm. The breakfast with freshly made maple syrup was, at the facility which taps the sugar maples and boils the sap and makes the syrup.
There was a walking tour among the maple trees, to see the pump house where the collected sap is pumped uphill to the process and boiling center.
The center served as— working areas, museum, educational center and a store to buy 100% certified, pure NY maple syrup and sugar products. Books and CD’s; DVD’s and other items were available. They even had a maple sugar, cotton candy machine, for the ‘kids’ of all ages. 🙂
The owners and staff were on hand to help and answer any questions, people might pose. I had many and they were more than happy, to answer each and every one, to my satisfaction. I must confess that I was tapped, just like a maple tree and my juices and imagination were flowing. I was intrigued by the whole day and process of making maple syrup and sugar! It made me, briefly, forget about missing my wife, who is out of the country, for another two months. 😦
But this short reprieve from winter and from missing my sweet maple tree girl, made me feel not quite as lonely. I was happy to leave winter’s chill, still clinging here and like a little kid and these trees, I was tapped in! 🙂
Our cousin was previously given about 11 gallons of sap from this very farm and for days and for the first time, he made some maple syrup himself, boiling the sap in pots outside, on his Bar-B-Q grill. He made several jars of syrup and today, he bought a book from the center called, ‘Backyard Sugarin” I liked the word ‘Sugarin’ and I shortened it to just “sugarN” But I could not get this word out of my head. Thought about it the rest of the day and night. This morning, I woke up with it, still on my mind. It reminded me of Riley’s poem and oft’ quoted line from it, “when the frost is on the punkin.” So, just today, it inspired me to write, “When the SugarN’s in the Maples”
Now, I’m not trying to compete with Riley. I make no pretense that it even comes close to being, even a little bit as good as his! But for me, tired of the long cold winter and missing my wife and can’t wait for Spring, it made me sort of, ‘tap’ into spring and it certainly tapped into me. I think Fall and Spring are my favorites of the four seasons. These two seasons fall between, Winter and Summer or Summer and Winter. Winter can be pretty, but I think it’s mostly here to remind me that Spring is coming and Summer is, just the season to enjoy, while waiting on the Fall. So, I wrote and edited and read it aloud to myself, to hear its flow. Then I called Aunt Bab’s and read it to her. She loved it and asked for a copy and promised to commit it to memory, just as she had, ‘When the Frost in on the Punkin.’ I was honored by her asking and am encouraged here, to share this with you, Oh ye’ gatherers together, gathering at the Gathering Place. 🙂
Years ago, a dear friend’s father gave me a gift of his personally worn, loved, washed and a little over-bleached (kind of tie-dye looking cool) pair of what he called his— “Over-hauls.” These are not just anyO’ pair of overalls. They are the crem dela crem of overalls! Thays’ isN’ ‘Big Smith’ overalls, the finest makers of “over-hauls,” since 1916! Promised made and promise kept. The You Tube video of me reading this poem appears, following the the text below. By the way, my excess winter sap (or sugar) did not allow me to fit into my “over-hauls,” I crammed myself into them! :0
I hope you enjoy, “SugarN’s in the Maples.” I hope it gets you ‘flowing!’ 🙂
Thank You, James Whitcomb Riley and Thank You, Aunt Bab’s!
“When the SugarN’s in the Maples”
Donnie Hayden, 1953—presently still alive 🙂
When the sugarN’s in the maples and the taps is in the trees And you hear the cooN morN doves a crying in the breeze And the peeping of the sparrows and the honkN of the geese And the warmN’s in the morN’ in her rising in the east O, it’s them’s the times a feller is a— putN’ on a smile, And leaves his hibernated cave and gits outside a while, And grabs his hat and forgets his achy knees, When the sugarN’s in the maples and the taps is in the trees There’s something kinda’ hearty-like tho wintern hangs on here— When the nights still chill, but morN’s warm, surely Spring will be so dear— Of course the grass aint yet green, and no flowers in the bloom And the gentle rains not yet revealN what underground’s concealN’ and the robins not yet expected, but the worms don’t feel neglected But still, there’s that sweet fragrance in the air, when sap pots a’boilN’, here and there Sets my forget of my achy knees When the sugarN’s in the maples and the taps is in the trees The whole scene sets my heart a jumpN’ like the sap a runN and the roots, for water pumpN Not time for plantN or growN’, but tahday— Spring’s got no better preacher than what the maples have to say Cows still relyN on the farmer’s bales and the tractor’s in the barn and they’re dreaming over coffee and they’re fitN another yarn O, it sets spring’s clock— to ease When the sugarN’s in the maples and the taps is in the trees Then you know the sap is gathered, and the syrup is all made And the taste buds cry— “keep it coming” and winter’s soon to fade And your pancakes and sugarN delights and all the maple sweets makes yor’ giddy face a familiar friend to all the strangers it meets I know no betterN a way to tell it— but if such a thing could be If anyone or spring or angels need boardin’, and if they were to call on me I’d hand them all over my accommodations and my keys When the sugarN’s in the maples and the taps is in the trees