Every now and then Mr. Q tells the story about the time he and his friend Jimmy set Jackson’s cow fields on fire. Mr. Q was … well … let’s just say he was a bit of a rebel in his youth and leave it at that.
That spring he and Jimmy fashioned a ‘polish cannon’ out of Coke cans and made a practice of setting it off out in the cow fields behind Mr. Q’s childhood home in Marine on the St Croix.
Those fields were pretty dry in spring. It was probably not the best plan to be playing with fire out there. I’m not even sure I should share the part where the cans were overfilled with lighter fluid and Mr. Q dropped a match in them and swung them around shouting “hey look, it’s a flame thrower!”
Remember, I already admitted he was a bit of a rebel.
Once they realized they had set the field on fire, panic must have set in. They tried to put it out themselves but eventually realized that wasn’t going to happen and they had to call the fire department. This was absolutely a last resort because you see, Mr. Q’s dad was the Fire Chief and Jimmy’s dad was the Assistant Fire Chief. Mr. Q was just hoping that his dad was still at his day job (the fire department was all volunteer) and that someone else would show up. But no, the fire truck rolled up with both of their fathers riding up front.
The fire was put out and Mr. Q says that several weeks later the fresh new green growth was just lovely.
Back in those days Jackson’s cow fields were just that, cow pasture, but today they are Jackson Meadow.
You can read more about Jackson Meadow on their website. Basically it’s a housing development based on the cluster-housing model. Over 70% of the land is preserved as open space. The houses themselves have a very Scandinavian feel, an homage to the early Swedish immigrants who settled in Marine.
Last Saturday Debbie and I decided to take a scenic fall drive up to Marine for lunch at the Brookside. After lunch we headed up the hill and noticed a sign for a neighborhood garage sale at Jackson Meadow! I’d always wanted an excuse to snoop around in there without looking obvious.
Have you noticed something about Jackson Meadow? All of the houses are white with galvanized metal roofs. Their website states that you are not allowed to paint your house any other color than white, and I suspect that there is a huge long list of other requirements for buildings here as well. Their website also mentions that only “native trees, shrubs and herbaceous plantings” are allowed. So you can just forget about that Limelight hydrangea if you live here.
I’m not sure how I feel about that. I definitely think that there is a kind of beauty in the austere buildings set into a natural landscape. But it also kind of gives me the heebie jeebies. That feeling of everything is beautiful on the outside, but controlled with an iron fist just beneath the surface. You can live here, but only if you fit into their very narrow definition of what is acceptable.
It doesn’t help that the last time we were visiting old friends from Marine they mentioned that Jackson’s cow fields were always haunted. Debbie and I had heard rumors of ghostly goings on in Jackson Meadow, so it was interesting to hear that these stories pre-date the Jackson Meadow development.
Maybe the fact that my sister and I stopped off at the cemetery next was really what left us in a spooky mood.
Not only is it a very picturesque cemetery, but I was betting my sister that they’d have a porta-pottie there and fortunately I was right. That glass of wine I had with lunch had caught up with me. Debbie scoffed when I first suggested it, “they don’t have porta-potties in cemeteries!”, oh yes they do!
This particular cemetery has some really cool old headstones too. It looks like poor Sophrona was only 28 when she died.
After leaving the cemetery, we headed out of town the back way just to admire this stretch of road which is always gorgeous this time of year
By the way, I hope the residents of Jackson Meadow don’t take offense if they see this blog post. They were all exceptionally friendly and welcoming. I even came away from their garage sales with this fab vintage find …
But I do wonder if they ever see the ghost of Sophrona wandering around in those fields on spooky misty evenings, don’t you?