Umbrella Superstitions

Notes from Nan: The Summer Reading Issue
BY HF Contributing Writer, Nan Parati

Oh that damn umbrella! I wish I’d never bought it!

There it was, so hot for those days, that I really thought we needed a sun umbrella for our outside tables! So I spent good (lots of good) money on a big-old blue-green sun umbrella to shade people from the southern-like rays!  Well, then it started raining, so I took the thing down for the Cajun Festival to make it quit raining and be nice, which it did.

So then Rob put it back up because the sun was out and he thought we needed shade. It would be a natural assumption if it weren’t such a preternatural umbrella.

So he put the umbrella up and it started raining again. Not just regular summer rain, but cold, windy, thundery Sturm und Drang rain! EVERY FREAKIN’ DAY AND NIGHT FOR FORTY OF EACH OF THOSE!

So I took it down.

And then the sun came out—really hard! With strong, harsh, x-ray-type rays and lots of humidity (that I actually found quite pleasant, but apparently I’m the only one around here who thinks we need a distinct temperature separation between Winter and Summer.)

So, Sunday morning in the middle of breakfast Rob said, “Why’d you take the umbrella down! Go put it up!” To which I growled, “No! It’ll rain!” to which he growled, “It’s gonna rain anyway!” to which I growled, “Not if I can help it!”

But then, all the poor customers who wanted to sit outside were turning pink and their tongues were hanging out, and so I put it back up and had to apologize to the whole wait staff that I was ruining the rest of their afternoon by forcing it to rain again just about the time they got off from work, which it did start to!

But then I took it down again and left it down and look! This morning is beeyoutiful again!

These people around here tell me I’m superstitious. To which I say, Superstitious hell! I’m not superstitious! I’m just reacting to what’s real!

I don’t know how Judith has managed to keep afloat at the Lake House with all those umbrellas she has out on her deck there. Scares me every time I go over there. Umbrellas! Quick! Everyone out of the water! 


Speaking of the Lake House:

Go to the Lake House for dinner this Friday!

Judith is having her annual big Forth of July to-do there and, in support of her event, we are throwing all our support to her and you will find us all over there eating and dancing and not at all at Elmer’s. She’s got two bands, she’ll have good food, she’ll have a big, fun time and on the lake will be just beautiful! (I wish we had a lake. That mountain range I ordered for Norton Hill Road has not yet come in. It’s back-ordered, but I hope it gets here before winter comes back again.)

Here is Judith’s band line-up:

  • 4 – 8 pm Mosrites
  • 8:30 – midnight Instigators

She promises outdoor cocktails, fun and surprises!

So—No dinner at Elmer’s this Friday night. But good times at the Ashfield Lake House!


And now a word from The Green River Festival (July 18th and 19th)

Hey! Are you responsible, but you like to have fun? (But you’re responsible before you have fun?)

Volunteer at the Green River Festival!

The Green River Festival is looking for some good people who are responsible (that would be at the height of requirements!) and who would like to trade three hours of their time for a free ticket to the festival! (See why you have to be responsible? This is serious business!) We have all kinds of positions open and I’m serious! Three hours gets you a freakin’ free ticket to the festival! If you’re interested, call Kim at (413) 772-4911!

So let’s see what old Mr. Rob has to say. I finished writing my part of this newsletter this morning. Asked him for his contribution and he gives me some song and dance about “I’ll do it tonight.” Tonight’s not good enough for Big Elmer’s people; they want their news NOW! So then he sent me this. Let’s see what old Mr. Rob has to say.

Rob’s Grocery Talk with Rob

Oh God, the pressure!

Why do I do this to myself? It’s not like I don’t have the time to properly schedule, write, and submit Grocery Talk on deadline. I just can’t. I think I’m always going to be the kid who desperately tried to finish book report while riding the bus.

Remember the Senior Report? You know; that big thesis you had to write in order to graduate? Well, for weeks I worked really, really hard at finding every excuse I could to NOT work on it until the day before it was due. No problem, I thought. I’ll just pull an all-nighter! Put on a pot of coffee, lock myself in my room. It’ll be fun!

Except that happened to be the night Maynard Ferguson was playing a concert at our auditorium. And, being a member of the jazz ensemble, I really wanted to see this show. However, my entire future was riding on my yet-to-be-written Senior Report and I was just going to have to suck it up and stay home that night. This is the price we procrastinators pay.

I did hang out that afternoon and watch the crew set up the stage, and just as I was ready to go home one of the roadies approached me and asked if I’d like to run the spotlight during the show. I’d even get to wear a headset.

It was right then that I knew I wanted to be in show business.

Anyway, I ended up turning in my Senior Report three days late, written in pencil. I can’t tell you how shocked I was when I got the Report back with a grade of B minus. My teacher said she was impressed enough with the thoroughness of my research on the subject of musical instruments of the Renaissance Period to overlook the tardiness and the pencil.

So not only did I get to graduate, I got to be in show business for one night, even though I later found out that Maynard Ferguson always had some random student running the spotlight whenever they played at a high school. Oh, well.

Grocery Report

I SWEAR I’ll do a really good grocery report next week. I’ll just pull an all-nighter! Put on a pot of coffee, lock myself in my room. It’ll be fun!


Oh you big suck-up! You will not! You’ll be over at the Lake House talking to your brother on the phone or something! Look at this! An entire case of Gerolsteiner Sparkling Wasser still not priced and on the shelf! Get to work you Rob, you! No Whipples for you! (or wait—this is better–) I’m gonna Whipple you if you don’t buckle down and get to work!

Little Donna Elwell is the only one of us who ever gets her report in on time.

The Farm Report
Great Local Produce at Elmer’s!

The local farms are really producing now and Elmer’s Store shelves
are overflowing with the bounty! Be sure to check the red coolers for
veggies. The bunches are so big that everything won’t fit in the
standing cooler.


SUNDAY, 6/30/08
From Alex and Joe Osterman in Ashfield

FRIDAY, 6/27/08
From Sangha Farm in Ashfield

FRIDAY, 6/27/08
From Paddy Flat Farm in Ashfield

THURSDAY, 6/26/08
From Spring Water Garden in Ashfield

OrganiC (CA) Carrots
Organic (CA) Cucumbers
Organic (CA) Eggplant
Organic (CA) Fennel
Organic (Argentina) Garlic
Organic (HI) Ginger Root
Organic (CA) Herbs: Cilantro
Organic (CA) Leeks
Organic (Mexico) Lemons
Organic (FL) Nectarines
Organic (CA) Onions
Organic (CA) Oranges
Organic (CA) Parsnips
Organic (CA) Potatoes
Organic (CA) Spinach
Organic (FL) Summer Squash
Organic (FL) Zucchini

To make specific produce requests, email me at


Remember in elementary school how, no matter what you said, your teacher turned it into a verb?

“I have to get some water.”

“I’m gonna water you if you don’t sit down!”

“I have to go to the bathroom.”

“I’m gonna bathroom you if you don’t sit down!”

Did they do that up north or was that only in the south? I remember being in the first grade and thinking that was weird language construction, even then.

See, we are on summer vacation here in the newsroom at Elmer’s Store, so we’ll just write about anything.

HEY! Does anybody out there in reader land know anything about starting a radio station? Just a little one. Surely someone does. If you do, would you write me back and just say, “Well, what do you want to know?” and I’ll tell you.


Art Opening Sunday, July 6th from 3 – 5 pm with works by Kate Bakey and Bob Parati

Lord, look—we got us a five pager this time! You can take this to the beach and lay around reading it! Don’t forget your sunscreen and watch out for those sharks!

See you around and everywhere,

Big E

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