Tuesday, July 30, 2013

The Gordon's take in Cape Cod (part two)

7/29/13 15:23 Ferry back to Orient Point

When we landed in New London we searched for a Dairy Queen since they are a rare site on Long Island. Emma searched on her phone and found one just past the bridge in Groton.  Emma asked if we were close to Newtown since we were on Newtown Avenue.  My first reaction was no, but I was not sure.  We passed an elementary school.  Kids played in the field.  There must have been a camp going on.  We bought our Dairy Queen and drove up 95 to Cape Cod.  The first day was rainy and in a stark contrast, chilly.  The house we rented was a small cape.  The owners must have recently painted the place.  There was one bathroom.  There are six of us and we have gotten used to at least two full baths, but we knew we’d make it;  besides the vacation away from home was only for four days.  Amanda and Joe found where the lake was, around the corner from the house.  We had time and I wanted to see if we could catch some of the Falmouth (Falmouth is where we were staying) Commodores field.  The game started, but we had some dinner at the Anchor House. I assumed it had something to do with the brewery; I was confused thinking it was affiliated with Harpoon brewery, which is a local brewery in Massachusetts.  For the sake of the beer enthusiasts Anchor Brewery is in San Francisco.  The dinner was… not bad.  I had steak tips and two cups of the clam chowder.  I expected worse, since we were greeted with some surprise that a family would set foot in the place.  And as we were leaving, we were given waves and smiles since we survived and had the intention to go back.  Bella and I were dropped off at the stadium and bought some souvenirs, a wooden bat, and some stickers.  Even in the misty rain there was a good crowd at the game.  Bella asked if I can get her a ball which she spotted near the dugout or better, the bench near the dugout.  There were some players talking and a ball was close to one of their cleats.  I asked and said it was for my daughter, the player smiled and reached down and called her over.  Thank you… we walked around getting close to the back stop and then out the outfield.  When I was younger I had dreams of finding a MLB ball.  It sort of came true when I found a new Cape Cod ball that must have been a dinger.  The rain was getting harder by the time Ali and the rest of the gang showed up.   We stayed for an inning – if that was what we’d call it and left.  Still, there was a good crowd there.  There are no admission costs for all Cape Cod games, and since it was free we saw some local drudges - half bombed and reciting gibberish, so like a good Christian family we avoided making eye contacts with the inept intoxicants.  We stopped at the supermarket and bought some things for the days we’d be at the house.   Friday morning I made waffles for the first time.  There is a lot of butter in those things.  It was a success and Ali said we should buy a waffle maker.  We’ll see.  If we have it, it means I am making more of them although I have to give her credit Aunt Jemima makes it easy – just add butter and water to the mix.  Just to share with you, I have a pancake pan and maybe have made pancakes once in the last three months.   We swam in the lake and drove to Hyannis.  We went to the JFK museum which was sort of boring since it had some black and white pictures which captured the political royal Irish family over the decades.  Many of the pictures I’ve seen before.  Still, Teddy was a cute little runt with the missing teeth and seeing them on the beach with their big toothed father was like being there with them.  Not really.  It’s just these pictures have been etched into my memory from all of the documentaries I’ve seen.  Growing up Irish in America it was a ritual to watch a Kennedy documentary, but if you met one of them or had your picture taken with them your status within the family is greater.  I won’t share my picture with Senator Kennedy here.  But in the basement of the JFK museum is the Cape Cod Hall of Fame.  That was interesting to see the many professional players who had played in the esteemed league.  We watched a documentary in a side room which captured the life of these players as well as the local families that are associated with the teams.  (I just walked out onto the deck on the ferry heading back to Orient Point.  There is a cool breeze as the ferry slowly makes its way across the Sound) We experienced many things in for these four days away from home.   I don’t want to give a run down since I’ve covered a lot and don’t want to bore you any more than I’ve accomplished in this time, but a few highlights.  Last night we went to the drive in.  It’s located in Wellfleet and is the only drive-in in Cape Cod.  For any of you who had the memory of going to a drive in, this place has retained the atmosphere, all the way to the car speaker which still works - to the snack bar which had many of the original signs and a small playground where the kids played on the swings and the thing that goes around and around and you get dizzy…what was it called?  Since you’re not bored, before the drive in we drove into Chatham which is one of the most beautiful towns I have been to.  The grey cedar shakes on the centuries old homes, the white borders on the windows and the rolling hills lead to the ocean.  A jetty with a strong current where there are great white shark warnings since they go mostly for seal, but a good calf would make a nice snack.  There is a coast guard station there and a lighthouse.  I took a good picture of the family there.  In the village I escaped the massive crowds of tourist slowly trailing on the narrow sidewalks right into two book stores and bought a book by Thich Nhat Hanh called Fear, Essential Wisdom for getting through the storm.  Hanh is a Buddhist monk.  I’ve been reading more about Buddhism, but still studying the Bible.  Earlier I finished the book of Job from the Oid Testament.  I’ve been reading more lately, Pynchon’s Crying Lot of 49 as well which is not one of my favorites, but will trudge through his concentrated junk sentences.  I also started a short story while there, but I am getting away from some of the highlights.  What was the best day of the trip?  Friday we went to the Falmouth Fair and met The Johnson’s from Port Jefferson Station.  I met Paul’s 92 year-old father who kept up with us over the small hills as we tried to find things to do in the rain at the fair.  Paul senior is a man who ran four marathons and still runs almost every day.  He shared a story how some girls recently stopped him on his run to take a picture, they posted it on FaceBook.   Age is in the mind.  Paul senior as well as Junior who also runs is the epitome of this mindset.  I want write a separate post of the fair or may use it in the short.  That’s a better idea, but I will share that we saw Tommy James and the Shondells.  The announcer made some fuss about Tommy. “Ladies and gentlemen, performing for more than fifty years… he was a star before the car was invented… and is still a star that draws massive crowds much like tonight as I gaze out at the fifty skeletons standing in the rain…swaying in unison.  The announcer said I could have bought his new book and had it signed after the performance.  I wanted it.  Reality.  Are you kidding me?  Tommy comes out like a polished rocker I’ve seen on the cable channel that plays local bar bands at fire men fairs, all dressed in black.  But this guy was different, his hair was…hold a second, Tommy speaks…He said, “How are you doing New Haven?  What?  Where are we?  Cape Cod?  Hey, how are we doing out there? “  And I could hear him think to himself, “You, miserable wet and weary sunken… rock soldiers!  I love you.  He was wide with thick permed hair like Phil Spector without the court.   Still, Tommy James was an arrogant rock star with a limo parked on the side of the stage for all of us to see, there… in the wet grass with tinted windows.  Really? There was one part of the first song when Tommy barks out an order to a Shondell, “No, only me.  That’s my part!”   But he played Crystal Blue persuasion which brought back faint memories for me, well maybe some more since I know I heard it a few times over our state of the art AM radio in our 1969 light yellow Chevrolet Nova.  On Saturday we went to the Edward Gorey museum and found the Blue Plate Diner for some lunch.  Afterwards we pulled over at an old shop for ice cream at Hallets which was established in 1889.  This is where they sell homemade ice cream.  I asked for a vanilla shake since I’m always on the lookout for the best shake and real lemonade.   When I asked for the shake the server said we have a fripet or something like that which is the same as a shake.  For instance our friends in Pennsylvania call a hero a sub and there are some who call soda…pop.  We should all take a vote to avoid confusion since I asked for the shake and wanted to make sure I received a nice thick shake.  Just between us, it was not as thick as I’d like, maybe since it’s a fripet or whatever they called it in Yarmouthport.  After the lunch and the ice cream it was off to the Cape Cod All Star game in Yarmouth.  There is a $5 ticket price which keeps out the drunkards and lunatics.  It was a beautiful day, the sun was out and there was no humidity.  We stayed for about seven innings and left.  I have to add, it really was a serene setting of old time sports and family and a real neighborhood feel.  This was America, red white and blue, but without the rock and roll egos and professional posturing…as real as the endless smoke rising up from the bar-b-que which was churning out burgers.  Infants were flopping around near curious dogs, who cares who won, we were there cheering on all of the players, but we still left early to beat the rush.  On our way home we watched an old Piper Cub stop and go on a grass strip on the side of the road at a small airport. The pilot was pulling back on the yoke on takeoff, full throttle and I thought for certain the thing would stall, but the plane leveled out and he went turned down wind and came back in for a landing.  Just as we were about to leave, a parachutist floated down in a neon orange parachute and then a green jumper floated down as birds darted in the tall grass.   That should do it. I appreciate you reading this and hope you can get up to Cape Cod.  Try the local beer…Cape Cod brewery – go for the blonde flavor which was the best out of the three they make.

Teams visited: Falmouth Commodores, Chatham Anglers, Yarmouth-Dennis Red Sox (all-star game) Cotuit Ketteleers (beautiful field nestled in the woods, but didn't catch a game...sorry Bruce (their GM who I met) Orleans Firebirds...rain out (picture from the outfield/game called due to rain, but it didn't matter we were heading out to the drive in & had to take a picture of this field for Nora)

Monday, July 29, 2013

The Gordon's are going to Cape Cod (part 1)

7/25/13 13:00 On the ferry to New London

First day of vacation, four days in Cape Cod, tonight catching a Cape Cod baseball game, but it’s grey outside, chilly, drizzle.  Autumn is captured in the mists.  I took Mo Cheeks, Joe and Bella outside for a walk to see the view of the land, passing ferry, the wood trash bobbing in the waves. A morose kid is sitting up there alone, very similar to the brooding teenager I was.  It was an easy drive from Port Jefferson Station, taking Sound Avenue, passing the pristine vineyards and both Ali and I said it would be nice if we liked wine and could take more drives out here.  Most of them offer very good wine. Pinot Noir is perhaps my favorite if I had a wine to choose.  The ferry is rocking side to side, watching sky and then waves.  I told Amanda soon there will be sick people.  I’m curious what the Cape will be like.  I’ve heard so much about it over the years and now we are on our way to a new vacation spot.  Closing up…I want to take more pictures.  

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Crossing the finish line in Boston

7/20/13 09:07 Home

I was in Boston this past week for a trade show.  I drove up with Amanda, took the ferry across the Long Island Sound.  It was a scorcher this past week and all of us can complain about the heat, but then the reality hits us.  It’s July and we need to stop whining because in a few months, no…in a few weeks we might complain of the dead leaves on the trees.  But it’s still hot.  We went up to the deck on the ferry and there was a breeze over the calm waters.  I recalled picking Amanda up at Simmons and bringing her home.  It was a quiet ride for most of the trip, so soon after the bombing.  There was the thought what will her reaction be?  She was excited to go back to see her friend.  But I knew there was the anxiety she was not sharing or attempting to not give too much attention to.  The plan was for her to spend Tuesday night with her friend Lindsey while I hung out with Katie and Ben.   After a couple of hours out of Bridgeport we pulled into the city.  I need to add, there was an altercation with an attendant at a gas station.  Beware of the belligerence of this Sarah off 95 in a small Connecticut town - Wethersfield.  The dim child switched my order with another, tried to tell me to stop the guy on three from pumping.  You need to go out there!  Tell him to stop pumping your gas!  What?  How? But you said pump three…blame the customer.  When I said I would complain to the manager she said go ahead, he told me I could say whatever I wanted to a customer.  There’s customer service for you; from the manager down.   I said, I’d call the district manager and complain about you both! The positive out of this was that I did not use any foul language or call her the ignoramus she is.  After driving away I thought better of what occurred.  It was obvious she was not all there and this was the only job the poor dim dunce could occupy.  Ben is doing well, working for a NASA project at MIT…he received his doctorate from Harvard this past June and the three of shared a delicious dinner at The Kitchen in Boston’s South side on Tremont Avenue. The neighborhood was once a dangerous area for most to enter - just ten years before.  While we ate outside; it drizzled lightly.  The scent of the steam rising off the concrete made the double burger with cheese more delectable.  I had two beers from the oldest brewery in the world, Weihenstephan served in cooled metallic steins…Ben referred to them in their native tongue.  After dessert I headed back to the hotel in Copley square and called it a night.  Next morning, I walked seven blocks in the furnace to the hotel where the trade show was.  I arrived sweaty and damp and knew I should have taken a taxi.  Later that night Amanda and I ate in the concierge lounge, I had two Harpoon IPA’s.  We walked down to Newbury St for a veggie burger and a shake.  On the way back to the hotel we walked on Boylston Street where the bombings occurred.    The architecture stood out from the new footage of the blasts, the store fronts, all of them and the people who mingled about with their meals, stifled in the heat and haze. Did they consider the screams and where are the blood stains? The closed store which took a direct hit and we walked down to where the yellow mark for the finish line is.  This is Boston strong.  I took a picture of Amanda.  She doesn’t look happy since even a couple of months later the memories crept up , she didn’t sleep very well although I remember her looking out the window at the Prudential building and listened as she said she loved Boston so much.  The next morning I ran in the humidity, the ninety degrees and wanted to pass the stores we walked by the night before.  I wanted my sneakers to smack the concrete.  I passed the press vans who were lined us trying to get quotes since the new tangled story way back last week was the controversial cover of Rolling Stone.  And I admit I wanted to say how great this country is. We can have freedom of speech, freedom of press and can have a publisher far off without a care of the victims, who had the insensitivity to print a picture of a passive faced killer… who appeared stoned for the camera…and I thought back to the dinner I had with Katie and Ben and how they described the city soon after the bombings, a police state and both woke up with the onslaught of gun shots since they live in Watertown.  Ben opened up since he said he could not sleep for days, was it nerves or adrenalin?   Machines and cords, a homeless man asking what was going on?   I passed cameraman; poised behind their anonymous glorious machines sucking the life out of the faces and the voices captured pent up emotions that spilled on the screen.  We survive…we turn off the TV and can’t see the covers since they are banned in many stores …freedom…and just as well since we should all judge a book or a magazine by its cover instead of searching for the truth.  Who gives a shit about the cover?  We ignore the victims.  There are countless emotional scars and those souls who lost their loves and those who lost limbs and those who suffer PTS.  No matter how much time passes their scars will rise up whenever a reference is made and we can only sit there, listen and sympathize.  

Six Months since I saw my wife due to Covid

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