Posted tagged ‘cape cod’

“Do you see that out there? The strange, unfamiliar light? It’s called the sun. Let’s go get us a little.”

May 16, 2017

When I opened the front door this morning, the sunshine flooded my living room, and I could feel its warmth through the storm door. Gracie and I went outside to a wonderful morning, to bird songs, to a warmer day, and a temperature of 63˚. The sky is a vibrant, deep blue. The sun touched my mood, and I felt alive, energized. It’s a day to make me smile.

My papers were never delivered today. I feel adrift. I know I can read them on-line, but I don’t find doing that satisfying. I went to TV and MSNBC. I was horrified by the lead story of Trump giving classified information to the Russians because he can, “I have the absolute right.”

Gracie is being Gracie. She is a happy dog of late. The one problem was she peed in her sleep yesterday afternoon but has been dry for 4 nights. I feel like a proud mother who is potty training her toddler.

I remember a bit of South Boston where we lived until I was almost five. I remember the brick nursery school across the street from our apartment building. My mother brought me there a couple of times, and I walked out and went home both times. My mother was surprised to see me at the door. She then wisely decided not to bring me back. I remember my broken wrist from jumping off the fence backward and how proud I was of my cast. I remember the front steps and the hallway.

I remember the first place we lived in when we moved to Stoneham. The apartment was small and had only two bedrooms. My brother and I shared. My favorite spot was a small landing on the steps. I’d grab a pillow and my book and get comfy on the landing. It was my private place though it was also the way to the bathroom. I’d move my legs to give access to the stairs. I was never bothered by the interruption. I’d just keep reading.

We moved to a bigger apartment down the road in the same complex, one with three bedrooms. We lived there the longest of anywhere. Most of my growing up memories were made there. I went to first grade and stayed the whole day and then kept going from there. I learned to ride a bike. I wandered the fields and woods. I went from childhood to adolescence. All my dreams were mostly born there.

I hated the cape when we first moved here. I had no friends. Nothing was within walking distance. I’d get home from school and go to my bedroom and emerge only at dinner time. Weekends I’d take the bus to Boston and stay with my friends. Gradually, though, I got involved in school and made friends. The trips to Boston were far fewer and then stopped. My parents moved back to Stoneham when I was in Ghana. I never moved with them. The cape had become my home. My mother commented that when we first moved to the cape I went to Stoneham all the time, and now that they were in Stoneham, I chose to live on the cape.

My paper has arrived. It’s in the driveway. Now I can really start my morning.

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“This was all horribly wrong. This was red wine with fish. This was a man wearing a dinner jacket and brown shoes. This was as wrong as things get.”

September 13, 2016

The weather right now is just perfect, the sort I dream about through snow storms, freezing temperatures and winds which chill to the bone. The sun shines with that sharp light which only seems to come in the fall. The days are warm, in the 70’s. The nights are chilly, wonderful for sleeping. I love Cape Cod best this time of year.

The countdown has begun. It is seven days until I leave. My mind is filled with images of Ghana. I can close my eyes and see it all. I am as excited as I was the first time I went back. It is difficult to explain the pull Ghana has on me. Every bit of the country feels familiar. The greetings I learned so long ago quickly come to mind. I say them, and Ghanaians answer then they smile. I smile back. I hunt for my favorite foods, buy cloth and roam the market. The years disappear. It is as it was.

This morning I had two meetings, one right after the other. They were library board meetings: the annual and the monthly. I am now president of the Board of Trustees of the South Dennis Library. My responsibilities are few. I print the agenda and run our monthly meetings. I bring refreshments when needed. I sign whatever the librarian puts in front of me. She knows far more than I what’s going on. I have been on the board for nearly 12 years. Two of the trustees are in their 90’s. One of them is 95. I always joke that the only way off the board is incapacitating injury or death.

The last fish I had a week or so back was red snapper. It was delicious. The first time I ever ate red snapper was in Jamaica. The second time was at a Caribbean restaurant in Saugus which isn’t there anymore. Fish markets here don’t sell it. I always ask. I figure they must think it an exotic fish. Around here cod is king.

I’m thinking fish and chips tonight. In one of my places they also come with onion rings, the thin kind, the best kind. I was going to have hot dogs but not anymore.

“They said it was only a ground shark; but I was not wholly reassured. It is as bad to be eaten by a ground shark as by any other.”

August 9, 2016

This is a sort of solitary confinement. I sit behind closed windows and doors. The house is just too comfortable to leave. Today will be in the low 80’s. It will get humid tonight as rain is predicted for tomorrow, but I have become a skeptic. We are in the dry season, no longer in summer.

Where in the world is Fern? That was last night’s game. I was upstairs in the AC when I heard a commotion downstairs. When I went to investigate, neither cat was around. I went looking. I found Fern under one of the guest room beds, her safe place. She wouldn’t come out. I put her treats down and then later checked to see if she had eaten her tidbits. Nope, Maddie was eating them. Fern had moved to the other side of the bed. I left her there.

Last night I checked under the bed, no Fern. I called her and shook the treat bag. She didn’t come. I went to bed but during the night woke up and called Fern again. I turned on the bedroom light to go hunting. Fern was on the bed beside me. I had missed her. She got treats and ate all of them. When I woke up, though, Fern was gone. She has since surfaced and is sleeping on the couch.

I got to cross off one of my trip essentials. I saw the doctor and got anti-malarial pills and pills for my back should it cause problems, or maybe I should say when. My list is getting smaller.

The Great Whites have found a summer home here on Cape Cod. They enjoy the sun and surf. They eat al fresco and usually order seal. The other day, though, a party of six dined on a whale carcass, a minke whale carcass. Three beaches were closed as the sharks were close to shore. Be vigilant was the advice to swimmers. I saw Jaws, vigilance sometimes isn’t enough.

“To be with old friends is very warming and comforting.”

May 12, 2016

I’ve had three days of bliss thanks to warm weather, a bright sun and the stirrings of spring. The days have been in the mid 60’s while the nights are still warmish in the mid-40’s. I had my windows opened yesterday and left my bedroom window open all night. The air smelled new and chased away the winter. I left my sweatshirt at home when I did my errands yesterday.

Today will be a short entry. Gracie and I are heading north to New Hampshire to see my friends Bill and Peg. They date back to Peace Corps days, and we were neighbors our second year in Ghana. We had all sorts of adventures and traveled together on school holidays. I knew they were kindred spirits the first day we met. They were also fellow truants when we started to skip lectures to see Philadelphia.

They come down here in the fall, but this year will be different as the three of us are going back to Ghana together. Their Cape visit will have to be either earlier or later than usual. I play the tour guide when they come down. Bill had never been to Cape Cod before his visit to me.

Gracie will be with me. She loves visiting them. Bill takes her on long walks and Peg feeds her. The dog makes herself at home climbing and sleeping on the couch near Peg.

I won’t be writing again until Monday except for an update or two. Enjoy the spring weather!

“Never try to outstubborn a cat.”

April 23, 2016

We finally have rain. It’s a bit heavier than when I woke up, but it is still a drop by drop rainstorm. I can the drops hitting the roof. It is one of my favorite sounds. I feel cozy and protected in the house, the dark house as I have lit no lights, only a couple of candles.

It would rain on the day I have to go off cape. That’s the luck of the draw. I’m heading to dinner with friends I marched with in the drill team. Many of them were also my elementary classmates. I don’t see them very often. The cape might as well be a foreign country reached only by a long flight. Other than Bill and Peg, my friends from Peace Corps days, no one comes down here, not even my family. I always find that strange.

I think a rainy Saturday was one of the worst things that could happen to me when I was a kid. In the summer, we’d still go out because it was warm, and we didn’t care when we got wet. This time of year, though, was too cold to be outside in the rain. I remember moping around the house sighing at my plight and driving my mother crazy while I was doing it. Saturday was the only day of the week that was all mine. I had no obligations and had the entire day to what I wanted, but it was ruined in the cold of an early spring rain. Finally I would read to pass the time, but I wanted to be outside. I wanted the fresh air I didn’t get being stuck in school the whole week.

The rain has stopped. The only sound is one of my cats purring. She’s the one I had to chase around the house to give her the medicine in her ears. I have now switched to liquid thinking it might be easier. I’ll know in a bit because I’m going to try and give her some. After that I probably won’t see her for a day or two. Maddie doesn’t forgive easily, and she never forgets.

“Happiness is your dentist telling you it won’t hurt and then having him catch his hand in the drill.”

September 11, 2014

Not only has fall unofficially begun on Cape Cod but so has chartered bus season. On my way to the dentist this morning, my reason for the lateness of the hour, I saw four buses filled with what I used to say were old folks but now I think of as my contemporaries. I have no idea what is on their itineraries as we don’t travel in the same circles, but I do see the buses parked at a variety of motels on Route 28, mostly in Yarmouth. They’ll fill restaurants and motels during the week, the slow part of this shoulder season. It’s a good thing.

I hated the dentist when I was a kid. The one my father took me to was a sadist who used neither novocaine nor gas. The dentist was really old and had been my father’s dentist. I swear he pressed a foot pedal to keep his drill spinning. It was always painful, and tears would silently run down my cheek. I would grasp the arms of the chair with all my strength, and I swear I left indentations of my fingers on the undersides of the arms. That put me off dentists for years unless I had a toothache. It was only when I needed to have them perfect for Peace Corps that I forced myself to go. The dentist, who was near school, was basically painless as long as I didn’t look at the novocaine needle. My father nicely agreed to pay the bill as I had rotted my teeth on his time. After that it would be my responsibility. I go to the dentist every six months to have my teeth cleaned. He is the same dentist I started with in 1972, and I don’t mind him at all though that novocaine needle still looks so long I don’t know why it doesn’t reach through my cheek. Today my hygienist told me I do a good job with the brushing and flossing. I should have gotten a star.

I stopped at a farm star on my way home and also at the store for a few groceries. I got some native tomatoes and honey crisp apples at the stand and rolls and lettuce at the store. I’m thinking a BLT for lunch.

“As they say on my own Cape Cod, a rising tide lifts all the boats”

May 24, 2014

It is really late, I know, but I slept in. It was a mirror under the nose to make sure I was still alive type morning. It was nearly eleven before I got out of bed. Excuses? I need none. I do have a few things I could do but nothing of any importance, and I am a bit afraid to go out as the traffic to get on the cape was backed up for miles so the roads will be heavy with cars. I’m going to practice all my traffic curses to get ready for the season.

When I was a kid, we never came to the cape. We went to local beaches in Gloucester or we went north to Maine or New Hampshire. I was in high school before I first came down here, and it wasn’t with the family. It was with the drill team to march in a parade in Hyannis. We parked on a side street at the northern end of Hyannis. It was right across from what would become my father’s office in a couple of years. I noticed it was the Hood plant, but it didn’t make a big impression. Had I been a soothsayer, I’d know that plant meant moving and leaving all the friends with whom I was spending the day. After we marched, we spent the rest of the day at a beach. I think it was Scusset Beach right on the canal. It was a fun day.

When I first moved down here, I hated it. It was my first time in a public school, I didn’t know a soul and the guidance counselor had persuaded me to take Latin 4. Even though I had spent all of my school years in a Catholic school my parents made me go to CCD at the church which happened to be across the street. My brother also had to go. The class met in the kitchen of the church hall as all the other spaces were taken. We convinced the priest teaching the class that my brother and I were twins so he’d only have to suffer through one year of CCD. It was an unruly group and the poor priest was at wits end. Eventually we took pity and quieted down. I have no idea what we learned, if anything.

My parents decided that my brother and I didn’t really like them all that much. When we first moved down here, I went to visit my friends at home at least one weekend a month and more if I could scrounge up the money, but over time I made friends and came to love the cape. When I was in the Peace Corps, my parents moved off cape back to the town where I’d grown up. They thought I’d probably join them, but when I finished my years in Ghana, I came home to Cape Cod.