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Sleeping in Kelly’s Room

The warm coziness of Kelly’s Room is easily over shadowed by its views. A first floor suite, it’s private bathroom with sliding pocket door, makes roaming the house convenient. You are right off from the back of the kitchen, and the parlor is steps away, giving easy access to the dining room and the sun room. Ideal for those with mobility issues. Although please note, there ARE outside steps to come down towards the front door of the Inn, and those with step problems can be shown into the house through a back half-staircase through the garage and directly into the kitchen.

Two wonderful full beds, loaded with fresh linens and blankets and coverlets and quilts, you’ll be as snug as a bug in a rug in your bed! Kelly’s Room is 135 per night, with an added state of Maine 9% lodging tax. We also offer 10% off all rooms during the winter season (Nov.1st – May31st) basically swallowing the tax.

In Kelly’s Room, you’ll likely be the first to wake up to the aroma of fresh local coffee perking. Feel free to grab a big mug of joe and retreat back into your comfy bed until a more respectable hour! At CSI, we strive to give our guests the rest and relaxation they desire. You can be as involved in our daily life as you wish, or not at all. We respect your privacy and your wishes!

Call 207-732-4488 with any questions.

We’d love to see your face at our door! All the Best!

Cate and Jack, your Innkeepers at Cold Stream Inn

The Open Door

Stangers with lovely smiles and carrying heavy bags coming in the door bring smiles in exchange for hellos as suddenly, we’re no longer strangers.

Theres something about hosting people, giving someone refuge for a night or two. A place they’ll readily belong to for a moment in time. In this time you may catch a glimpse of one another in home mode, and wearing pajamas.  You sip coffee without make up, and laugh over something as naturally as if you’ve been at it for awhile.  No tension or stress, just like passing one another in the garden or on the dock is another chance to talk about how delightful it is to see all the natural  beauty surrounding us here at CSI, a happy place that fills the need of the spirit for such visual majesty.

We all need to hear and see nature. Theres something about the singing of birds, waves lapping the shore, the wind making the water dance in the sun…fresh air, wild gardens and a big old house made for people to come to, to visit and sleep in and be in.

Cold Stream Inn is no corporate endeavor. We don’t have manacured grounds or perfectly paved walk ways. We dont have a team of maids or a full time or even part-time groundskeeper. The old oriental carpets are worn in places, and the stairs are crooked. Doors squeak. So do floors.  Windows mostly open without a hitch, but there’s a couple need tending.  The beds are old, the linens fresh and wonderfully cotten, but the white pillow cases may not match.

The furniture is all from someplace before us, except the chocolate brown leather parlor set. That we took all our taxes many years ago and invested in a handmade cow hide couch, side chair and ottoman made in North Carolina. Its heirloom in our opinion because its the only furniture that was originally ours alone! The rest of it, the tables and chairs, dishes and clocks and rugs and paintings…..all apart of other peoples lives before us. People we never knew. People who didnt know we’d be the ones ending up with their stuff.

Strangers who visit become part of the Inn just as all the old furnishings. Our visit at CSI becomes woven together in the history of time. While we can only imagine the lives and history of CSI past,  that now becames  part of OUR history too, and our guests, no longer strangers, having spent time living even just a wee piece of their life on planet earth, under the same roof, here with us now, our lives intertwine on this lake, even if only for a brief moment in time and we become friends.

 

 

 

 

Gifted

There was a time that feels like another lifetime ago, that I had a small cleaning business and served the same loyal and wonderful clients for years and years. I had started it to help Jack earn money that usually ended up being sucked into our old house, a rambling 12 room Queen Anne Victorian that was in constant need of something. Since Jack worked for the sheriffs department on the 3-11 shift, and we were raising four kids on a very tight budget, I needed a well-paying job that I could control the hours and days so I could be there for the kids instead of paying for daycare or after school daycare even. Armed with my well-stocked cleaning bucket, a peculiar love for Windex and not the least bit afraid of hard work, I had a nice little gig going on with some wonderful people for about fourteen years.

As with most physical jobs, it had an expiration date attached to it that I didnt see coming. I developed a torn rotator cuff and some lower back problems that came with the work and I suppose, my age. When one client moved into a mega mansion I finally saw I was going to kill myself if I kept it up. For all those years I was a solo cleaner, as hiring people could have put me at risk of opening up these clients to people who may steal or not do the thorough job I was dedicated to doing for them. I also couldn’t afford all the legal shmegal stuff that comes with being a real company with real employees with every sort of state licenses and permits and all the insurances attached to it and… well, you get it. It gets very messy and all I wanted to do was clean houses, make money for my family and be home by the time my kids got out of school.

Today I’m the chief cook and bottle washer at the Inn. I think about the days long gone where I rushed out of our house as soon as the kids were off to school, cleaned two or three houses top to bottom, and was home with enough left in me to greet the kids, spend time with them before I made supper, and still get them all washed up and ready for bed before I myself could climb into bed. I’m in awe of how I did it. Was that even me? These days I make up one room and I need a nap!

This morning, a young mom came to Cold Stream Inn to clean for me. For Christmas, Jack had given me two 3-hour gift certificates from a local cleaning company. I was so happy, so excited, and very grateful. I had this lovely woman do the things I dont get to very often but needs doing. I worked around her, watching as she wielded that vacuum as her tool, getting down on her knees with a dust cloth, bending over, reaching up and moving along like a pro with her cleaning products. I wanted to applaud her and instead I offered her coffee.
Cleaning up our own messes is hard enough, but cleaning up other peoples messes truly is an act of humble service even if you’re paid well. I have more respect for people who do the kinds of jobs that makes life easier for people who have what the world tells us are the “important” jobs, than I can even say.

This morning at Cold Stream Inn I was gifted. First off, I was able to catch a glimpse of a young me in her. I was taken back to a time when I was her. I also had young kids in school, a hard-working husband doing his level best to take care of us all, and I too only wanted to do a good job, make an honest days pay and leave the house where I was cleaning a welcoming place for its owners to come back to at the end of their own long work day. This morning I was able to see a dedicated gal go about her business to make my own home look so much better. As she shined the cabinets and cleaned the dusty windowsills that had cat paw prints all over them from a nosy feline, as she scrubbed floors and vacuumed rugs she never walked on, I was just so thankful to her. My home was being wiped clean by a woman who didnt make this mess. I realized, with real humility, just how much that Jack had gifted me with this womans’ services. Yes, today I was definitely gifted.

Thank you Jack. And thank you, Jessie.

Don’t Blink

I blinked.
I was just giving birth, nursing babies, raising children, going to little league games and school plays.
I was just at a parent teacher conference about report cards, then buying new shoes because someone outgrew the ones it felt I just bought.
I was just cleaning wealthy peoples houses to help Jack pay for our first house and two of the kids to have braces.
Not a few months ago it seemed I was picking kids up from VBS and trusting our oldest son Callahan to mind the younger ones so I could run quickly to DeMoulas for some groceries for supper.
Im sure it was only yesterday I managed to buy a nice suit for Cals prom, or was that a beautuful dress for Flannerys? The next thing I knew, Gage was graduating from the marine corp and going off to war in Iraq, while not a moment later it felt I was watching Dolan shipping out to Alaska after he graduated from the Army… I remember the night in Mass General when my young niece Jillian slipped into eternity while my sister Colleen and I and a couple of my kids and Pat Doe Sr. and Tina Arroyo and their sons stood there, all of us so broken hearted as we took turns holding her hand and weeping at her bedside…
Then I must have blinked.
Because today, the stark reality is that our handsome boy Callahan is going to be 36 this year. Gage is going to turn 32 in May and has given us two grandchildren. Flannery is 30 years old and living with her beloved husband far away up in Vermont and Dolan, our “baby”, is a full grown man of 28 who works with his hands long, hard hours and comes home dirty and exhausted and, after a hot shower and a bite to eat, goes to bed earlier than I do.
Dolan is over in his apartment, sound asleep before me, just as when they were all so little, and my greatest comfort was knowing that they were well fed, scrubbed clean, hugged, kissed, prayed over and tucked safety into clean beds and safe. As they slept all under one roof, I remember I’d sit with a cuppa and think how crazy busy Id been all day and how glad I was the long day was over and we were all now just where we ought to be… in our house all together and safe and sound.
Then, I blinked.
I blinked and my children grew up.
I blinked and my sister and best friend Colleen left and went Home without me…
I blinked and we were living way up here in Maine, in an old Inn of all places, and I had gray hair and wrinkles and saggy boobs. I go to bed each night wrapped up in the arms of a man who is almost 61 and has much less hair than the man I married years and years ago, before I blinked, but I think he’s just as handsome. Of course my eyesight isn’t quite what it was before I went and blinked…

L-R Dolan, Flannery, Gage, Jillian and Callahan

Its hard being human

Being a human being is not for sissies. Theres so much that can and does go wrong.

We start out with such potential. If we’re free (as in being for instance an ‘American’), and we’re born healthy, then we’re strong. If we’re strong, we’re able, and if we’re able then We CAN. We can work to become anyone we want to, good or bad. We can make choices that affects our wealth or our poverty through life. We can work hard or hardly work. We can look for deeper meaning to life, or we can ride it like a rollar coaster, taking wild chances for quick thrills. Anything we SET OUR MINDS TO DOING makes life a exhilarating prospect for our success, for our satisfaction and to find true meaning and rewards in the years that each of us have to live on this planet.

All of that is as true as the pitfalls.

Pitfalls of life are real, and they always cost us something. They can cost us heath and stability and security and peace… Falling to the pitfalls can cost years off what little time we ever had allotted to us in the first place. They can put you ten “years behind the eight ball” as my husband Jack always says, causing you to waste previous years getting life right.

And what about the body we get? How it’s so mortal and frail… geeze, a good fall can kill it! One wrong bump on the head can make you die. Its fragile, the human body. Fragile and needs constant upkeep. Constant care. Constant tending, cleaning, feeding…. And not to be vulgar, but really, just look at what happens to it when it just gets “backed up” for crying out loud. It’s horrible!

Yet the body was petfectly designed, even those of ours with the big hips or ugly feet. Its designed to heal a cut from a sharp object if kept clean and tended to. Its able to experience touch and to see great mountains that loom in majesty and dark rolling clouds along a far-away vista while with the ears, hear the roar of thunder as the clouds fiece companion. Our sensual pleasures titalate and our vocal chords stretch out splendidly into musical chords of every range. We are fearfully and wondetfully made! And … we’re quite vulnerable. Humans are subject to all the phyical aspects of good and bad, just as much as to the emotional aspects of good and bad.

How many people do you suppose are there, who hurt so deeply they want to die… yet that agony isn’t within the body, but in their heart?

And we know of course, that a broken heart isn’t really a broken body part, but a piece of us that loves so deep that when we grieve we suffer. Truly suffer.

I used to try and make my kids understand that as people, we are not human being here to have a spiritual experience rather, we are spiritual beings having a human experience. For sure Jesus did, and we do too.

Jesus left His perfect Home in Glory to come to earth as a baby. To bear our sins yes, but also to feel our struggles…fears…temptations…weaknesses…and to enter the ring of life with anyone who recognises their need for His help getting through it all. Yes, He ultimately has VICTORY and yes, He reigns forever in the End and we who hold tight and fast to Him through life reap the heavenly rewards praise God, but before Heaven, there’s here. And ‘here’ can be the toughest place to be be: A mortal human being living a life in a world that’s absolutely unpredictable, dangerous, frightening , and where our bodies are easily killed and in a new york second can come to a abrupt halt for you. Scary business. I don’t know what kind of human being wants to go through all that alone, but I dont. If Jesus offers me a relationship not just for the ever after, but the here and now and He offers to come along for the ride? Well…I can’t even imagine any bettet offer ever made to mankind. Can you?

I hope this perspective causes Someine to see how vital it is to Think God. I pray theres one soneone who reads this and starts to imagine the reality of Jesus and how what we humans choose to do with the time we have here is up to us. Make your choice! And remember; You dont have to go it alone.

Old things

I come from a place where the latest and very best were the goal. From designer pocketbooks and shoes to Newbury Street haircuts and clothes, I learned early the value of “nice things”. Of course knowing about nice things, and affording those nice things are night and day.

I come naturally from a very blue collar back ground. When my well to do close high school friends were flying out of Logan one beautiful spring night in 1974 for our class trip from Charlestown high to Rome, I was on Walker Street in The Town babysitting for my mothers snotty customer from Austins dress shop, and got teary eyed as i listened to a plane flying over head imagining it was my friends.

All these years later, I can still remember going home with the permission slip, asking my parents if I could go to Italy with my friends. Ill never forget their faces, as they both started laughing at the same time and said,    “Oh uh, no honey. We cant afford Italy but, if you want to, we can go over to the the north end on Friday night and get a pizza from The European restaurant?”

That was the moment i knew i was probably poor.

With always having a roof over my head and clothes on my back and decent food to eat, i never before realized that we didn’t have what other people did. It was an eye opener for sure.

After that, I started the quest for having “nice things” with not much money but alot of ingenuity.

Over the years I’ve acquired lovey furniture and fabulous linens ( my obsession) and drapes… by digging in dusty bins and squeezing through over-stuffed barns and junk stores with a determination a  always a prayer. ( I have witnesses that’ll attest to me praying for a specific item before we head into an old store or shop and how not only is there one of the exact thing i asked God for in there, but its usually one of the cheapest things in the place!)

Once you can swallow your designer pride and humble yourself to consider second hand items as “worn in” or “recycled”, you’re well on your way to becoming a Frugal Frannie.

In a few hours from now, our beloved son and wife will bring me my two grandchildren. They’re coming ” home for Christmas” and I could not be more thrilled.  My 9 year old grandaughter Lilly is going to be as excited as I am by her latest bedspread for her CSI bedroom; an absolutely in near-perfect condition, old L.L.Bean cotton Swiss dot white chenille bedspead with a long ruffle for her wonderful antique iron single bed! Lilly can’t yet know that $20 bought this exquisitly made spread, one that will certainly outlive me. or thats its worth a lot of money. But you can believe Im going to try and teach her the value of being a good hunter and having “nice things” while still paying your bills on time and not going broke to have them!

Gratitude

Thankful.  Grateful.  Appreciative.  Humbled by what you have, sincere in thanking God for the blessings you can count.

Thankful for a home.  A clean bed.  Plenty of covers and fluffy pillows.  Grateful for heat, lights, being warm when its freezing cold outside and having that feeling of safety knowing full well the world doesn’t offer that to everyone.  Appreciating there is a pantry downstairs with food in it.  And a fridge with more food inside there, too.  Knowing/ having the sense of security unlike way too many others who are living in this cold, harsh world do not know, that we are not starving and have enough for ourselves and enough to share if anyone stops in.

People who love me. People to love and who want the love I long to give. Friends who know I pray for them and who pray for me. Even animals who know I love and care about them and that they belong to me.

So many things to be grateful for in this broken world.

A church family that wants me to be among them.  Who freely, unselfishly offers me their love, friendship, encouragement, wisdom, and spiritual support.  Close friends within the church family that reach out instinctively when they know something’s wrong.  Prayer chains and prayer warriors who jump into the battle instinctively to join forces to bring strength and victory to a situation.

So many things tangible (I have 4 pairs of boots!) and non-tangible to be grateful for (I arrive home from running errands safe and unscathed) that I can count as blessings.

I have a husband who loves me.  Four kids who adore me.  Two grandchildren who make growing old less painful and a Father who listens to me when I cry out to Him.

The sufferings of my little world pale in comparison to the blessings.  The troubles of this world are many; the blessings are many more.

May this Thanksgiving find us counting our blessings instead of the calories.  And when we tally them all up, may the overwhelming goodness of what we have before us bring us to a place of such humble appreciation that, when we consider what we don’t have, it doesn’t matter much at all.

Happy GRATEFUL Thanksgiving

 

 

The Most Beautiful Baby In The World

For my Callahan.

My mother had the kindest heart.  Her name was Mary and she strived to see the best in everyone.  As if it were mama’s number one job, she continually tried hard to find something good in even the ugliest of people.  This definitely went for physical looks as well as personalities.

For decades, Mama had managed a small clothing store, the kind you may remember from the days of old.  Not a very huge place, but Austin’s Dress Shop which was on Main Street in our home town of Charlestown, had just about everything you could hope to find to outfit yourself, your husband and all of your kids.  Well, not shoes, you had to buy your shoes at another in-town store, but the socks to go in the shoes, she sold them in every color, size and brand.

Women from “The Town” watched fashion just like women from all over the world, and had at their disposal, some of the finest stores to shop in not a few miles away in downtown Boston.  Because Jordan Marsh, Filenes, Gilgrists, Woolworths and a dozen or more other big name department stores at that time were close by, Austin’s did it its best to keep up with the trends and stock everything from babies layettes to real nylon support hose.  And so, she did well.  Business was good and mama was good at her business.

From the time I was a wee girl until the day my mother died when I could no longer bring myself to go back into the familiar store that I practically grew up in, almost all my clothes and everything that was beneath the clothes, came from Austin’s.

My mother took pride in keeping the store in tip top shape.  The sales girls she worked with became not just her fellow employees but her friends as well.  She wasn’t big on bossing people around as the manager, and instead took the “we are a team” approach and they negotiated their days off according to their families needs.  In those days, Sundays wasn’t even a consideration to open the doors.  It was a time in America when family and God wasn’t scoffed at and even those who weren’t church goers still had a day of rest.

In those wonderful, carefree days, women could park their baby carriages outside of stores and go in without much concern that anyone would do much more than admire the baby as they passed by.  New mothers sometimes hesitated at leaving their newborn babies outside, so mama would appoint herself the watcher from the window as the mother would shop, and my mother would keep an eye on baby.

One day I was passing by on my way to wherever a young kid goes in the summer, maybe up to the town pool or off to a friend’s house, when Mama was standing outside next to a big carriage.  Inside was a fairly new baby, and as I peered into the carriage, I was surprised at how ugly the poor baby was.  She was dressed all in a pretty pink outfit and her white bonnet was soft and lovely, but her face was as homely as I ever saw on any baby.

About that time the mother came out of the store and thanked my mother for keeping an eye on the baby while she had shopped.  My mother said she was only all too happy to do it and told the mother what a beautiful baby she had.

“Mama!” I said in a whisper, as the lady walked merrily down Main Street with her packages and her poor hideous baby in the carriage, “You lied!  You told that lady her baby was beautiful! That is the ugliest baby I ever saw!” I said to her, totally surprised to catch my own saintly mother in such a bold faced lie!

“Oh honey,” Mama said, a soft look of compassion coming upon her face, “don’t you know that every mother thinks her baby is the most beautiful baby ever born?  That poor dear don’t know her little daughter isn’t just as beautiful as she could be,” Mama said.

Our conversation was tucked away neatly in the memory box of “Things Mama Taught Me” until many years later when as a young single mother, all alone in the world due to a series of circumstances I never saw coming, my own first born was placed in my arms.  “Here you go dear,” the older nurse said as she smiled and gave me my son.  I peeked under the swaddling blanket and counted his toes, his fingers… he was just completely perfect and beautiful… or was he?

I suddenly remembered my beloved mama, now long gone, and the conversation we had had regarding whether or not all babies are as beautiful as the mother sees them to be.  Staring down into my son’s brand new face, I felt the kind of love I had never felt before.  It drew me into a place of deep delight and fierce protection for this tiny baby in my arms.

His little brow and shock of blond hair, his pink lips and chubby cheeks… as I studied every inch of him, and he in turn grasped my finger with such strength as if to never to let go, all I could hear was my mother’s words ringing in my ears; “Every mother thinks her baby is the most beautiful baby ever born.”

Turns out mama was right.

Easy as Sunday Morning

The sun started giving me its wake up call at about 6:30 this morning.  It was good of it to let me have a few extra minutes don’t you think?  It’s been getting a bit later every day, and as the winter solstice approaches on December 21st, I’m anticipating some darker mornings that equates into me getting some longer sleeps.

Here at the inn we like to call CSI, in the lovely New England town of Enfield, Maine, deep within the inn, Jack and I keep a suite of rooms.  To reach us, you ring the bell on the door, and when it opens, you’ll see a long hallway leading down and into a big ‘parlor.’  Off a section of the parlor we have a very large walk in closet that I jokingly tell people is equivalent to my first apartment in Charlestown, Mass.  Off the closet is our bathroom, quite big and very private.  Back through the parlor you’ll find a doorway leading out towards the front of the house facing the lake.  There you find the grandchildren’s nursery.  Lilly and Aiden share a long stretch of space with five windows showcasing Cold Stream Pond at one of its widest points.  It’s three miles about from our house and shoreline to the other side of the lake, and with binoculars, you can see Sandy Beach and Long Cove and even Hayden Cove further north.  Through a set of old French doors, you can enter our bedroom from the nursery.  Our bedroom is to me, the most spectacular room in the inn.  With three floor to ceiling windows facing the front of the house, and five more of the same off to the side of the house, our bedroom is bathed in light.  The ceilings here in CSI, are all white painted tin, original to the home, and in our area they’re low unlike in the downstairs rooms, and as the sun streaks its way into the near naked windows, the brilliance of its light bounces off the water and reflects itself mightily onto the ceilings, resulting in ever moving streams of shimmering light that can make you have to squint on the sunniest of days.

I keep the windows near-naked because it seems to cover up such a view is almost sinful.  I have blinds that came with the place, but they’re the white mini-blinds so popular in years gone by and not a favorite of mine.  In time I’d like to replace them with the old “venetian blinds” my mother use to have in our various apartments in Charlestown, or even some good old fashioned pull down shades that are dark green and easily block the light.  We had these in our bedroom in Haverhill and they could keep you, literally, in the dark.

For now, I’ll keep the mini blinds tightly pulled up to almost invisible, and let the sun have its way with my morning.  With so much to do weekly, Sundays seem like the best day for a good extra sleep, even if for just a couple hours.  Church doesn’t start until 10:30 so it seems reasonable that to sleep in until about 8:30-9:00 is a wonderful idea.  “Not so” says Mr. Sun.  “Unless you want to draw down those dreary blinds, and even then, I’ll get in, so you really ought to be up and at ’em there old girl…” I imagine the sun is saying.  I roll over and pull the covers up over my head as Jack makes noise about me stealing the covers.  I can’t seem to get used to the black-out masks I keep in all the bedrooms for guests to use who do not want to be woken up by ol’ Mr Sunshine, so I lay there, squinting, until it seems fruitless to try to fall back to sleep with the intensity of light bathing every inch of the room.

It’s Sunday, but I give up and go downstairs to find coffee already brewing courtesy of our son Dolan who lives next door and never sleeps past five AM for some unimaginable reason.  I pour a steaming cup of the morning nectar and with my little devotional and my falling apart Bible held together by scotch tape and elastics, I make my way out to the sleeping porch that is directly beneath Lilly and Aiden’s nursery.  Climbing up on the old iron bed, books in hand, coffee on the side table, I crawl happily under lots of chenille and cotton warmth and succumb to the reality that even if I’m not asleep, there’s still a rest here at CSI that is as easy as Sunday morning.