Friday, July 23, 2010
First light comes early. By 5 am you can read a book. My wife and I have come to Maine to enjoy long, cool summer days with Coconut Grove friends.
Two of them have a boat in Camden Harbor. Last Wednesday we took it twenty miles north to the village of Belfast. The next morning something came up and we needed to retrieve our car, still in Camden.
These are small towns. There is no bus service. Belfast's lone cabbie told us,"I already have a morning fare". We were stumped until a cop joked, "You could always hitchhike". Despite Maine being the home of Stephen King I thought it was worth a try.
Francesca did not agree saying, "I haven't done that sinced I was 17 and even then it seemed like a bad idea". As I headed for the highway she joined me anyway.
Bless her heart.
As we held out our thumbs I began feeling a little stupid and a lot of vulnerable. I tried to rationalize the novel situation by thinking, "These are strangers passing us by. I'll never see them again".
Twelve minutes later a dry-wall hanger named Wayne slowed down. His smile invited us into his van.
As we drove south he mentioned, "I rarely do this but you two don't look like ax murderers". It got me thinking he could possibly pass for one.
But Wayne could not have been nicer, he went out of his way to drop us off at our car. He did allude to a darker side but added that he had been "off the bad stuff" for over fifteen years.
As he drove off Francesca asked, "Do you think we would have done the same thing for him". I paused then answered, "Probably not... but there are other Waynes in the world. Maybe one of them would help".
Wednesday, July 14, 2010
Four days ago Francesca, Pi, and I were heading to the Florida Keys in our old VW camper. A beachfront site awaited at one of our favorite places, Bahia Honda State Park. As we drove through Long Key our engine went "kablooey" as the fan belts flew off.
The van drifted into a restaurant parking lot. It was obvious that we'd be there for some time. Despite it being a Sunday we were able to find the local mechanic, Bruce. He told us he could fix it in the morning.
The island's only motel, Lime Tree Bay, didn't allow dogs. We resigned ourselves to camping under a blistering sun next to a busy highway.
Sheez. Could it get any worse?
HELL TO HEAVEN
We sat under a tree waiting for the heat to slack off. I thought of Thomas McGuane's novel, "92 Degrees in the Shade". We sipped cool drinks and thanked the Lord for ice chests. When the shadows got longer I took Francesca and the dog on a town tour. Primrose Lane was just five blocks away. That's where my dad had lived 30years earlier.
When we got to "116" I admired my family's former vacation home. It had new paint and still had the numbers I'd carved in driftwood in '78.
The latest owners happened to step out. We waved hello and after introductions they told us how much they loved the house my dad had built.
An hour and a house tour later we had been invited by these gracious retirees to stay in the downstairs apartment. Pi was welcome too.
SURROUNDED BY MEMORIES
Suddenly we were trading hotter-than-hell for ice-cold air-conditioning. My wife and I slept where my dad had slept. At 3 a.m. I woke up and glanced around for his ghost.
In the morning I stared at Dad's favorite spot more than once. I had captured his image there as he sat waiting for the ambulance, the one that took him away for the last time.
Breakfast was followed by a swim in the backyard canal. We called it "the pool" back then. As I dried off Bruce called to say, "You're good to go". We cranked up the van, waved goodbye, and continued our journey.
Sometimes bad things become good, one window closes and another opens. It happened to us four days ago thanks to Anna and Richie Carlsbrand of Allentown, Pa.
Saturday, July 10, 2010
Wednesday, July 7, 2010
I went for a bike ride with camera in hand. I wanted to show you the peacocks I’ve been writing about. Two blocks away I saw nine grazing.
Saturday, July 3, 2010
So now I’m a blogger, whatever that means. When I wrote for the Herald it was a column and a cartoon every other week. I got paid and my work was improved (usually) by a Herald editor. Now I’m writing for free at this address. I’m not sure how often I’ll add to it.
Wife Francesca is my new editor and she’s a darn good one.
Some of you have offered you own thoughts after my “first posting”, on the Grove’s peacock problem. Here are two of them.
The Grove’s peacocks are so intriguing, so LOUD in mating season, at 3AM on my roof... so funny when they run or fly out of the nest in the oak tree. They ate my tomatoes in my garden AND the pink impatiens (but they left the lavender ones!).
I think they are really leftover dinosaurs with eyes in the back (like my mom used to say). Good or bad for real estate…who knows?
By the way, my mama peahen nests every spring in the same staghorn fern, but still, no babies.
Could she be suffering from Empty Nest Syndrome? I’d like to let her know I still have the same issue. Maybe she is a soul sister in beautiful disguise, a commie-hippy out to ruin the neighborhood, or, Lucy in the Tree with (blue) Eyeballs.
Love them or not, our feathered prancers amaze.
Welcome back, Grove Guy. Keep it up.
My friend Harry Emilio Gottlieb had this to say…
OLD GROVITE IN PLASTER?
We killed (or relocated) the Indians. Six years ago we celebrated them with a statue atop a
Thursday, July 1, 2010