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.

“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.

“There was nothing but that savage ocean between us and Europe.”

January 25, 2014

We are in the middle of a heat wave. It may even reach 40˚ today which sounds like deck weather, the time to start on a summer tan. I am tired of being pasty white with winter written all over my face, but we have no sun or blue sky; instead, we have a grey sky, the possibility of rain and a wind advisory. The dead leaves are being blown and the branches are swaying. What a waste of warm weather.

We had a wonderful evening last night. We reminisced about Ghana and told funny stories about each other. We talked about riding our motorcycles around town and in the bush, and how we met up with a man who cursed us for not giving him money and how Bill’s motorcycle stopped dead just as we were leaving. No curse though-the bike eventually started. Dinner was my curry, and Peg brought hummus, brownies and her own hot fudge sauce. For breakfast we had the blueberry muffins she also brought. They are now my favorite guests.

Today we have a craft fair then a ride around the Cape. Bill has never been here before so I wish we had the sun so he could see the cape in all its beauty with the light reflected off the water and in the marshes. I will take him down 6A, about the prettiest road around. I can be a great tour guide. I’ll tote my camera so I can post a few Cape pictures.

It is a short entry this morning as I am the only one yet dressed, and we’re shortly hitting the road. I’ll be back to post some music this afternoon. I promise!

“The only escape from the miseries of life are music and cats…”

July 8, 2013

I have turned off the AC and opened the doors and windows. The morning is cooler than it has been for days, and there is a slight breeze. Gracie is in heaven. She gets to go out and come in as much as she wants as her dog door is accessible. The temperature is still in the 80’s, but I decided to brave the heat for some fresh air. The forecast is for thunder showers tonight which will be welcomed after all these steamy days with no rain. If the weekly forecast is correct, it will be in the high 70’s by Friday.

Yesterday afternoon the backup was 25 miles long to get off cape over the Sagamore bridge. I can’t imagine how long it took to go those 25 miles, and I can’t imagine sitting in a car going inches at a time. I’d have been crazed.

The open windows have brought the world back. I can hear the sounds of mowers and trimmers but even better I can hear the songs of birds. Yesterday I watered the plants on the deck and filled all the feeders. Even the two suet feeders were empty. Today I’ll sit on the deck for a bit and read. I haven’t had the inclination to read in a while. Usually I read a book or more a week, but since the surgery, for whatever reason, I haven’t be able to focus for too long. Maybe a new book will kick-start my reading.

In the mornings, Maddie is my only companion. She sits on the couch beside me. When I got Fern and Maddie from the shelter, they were both five and had grown up together. Fern right away took to the house and to Maggie, my dog. Maddie, on the other hand, spend at least three weeks under the bed. Part of it was the new house and part of it was Maggie who chased her, not with any malice or intention to do harm but for the fun of it. I used to lie on my stomach and give Maddie treats under the bed and talk to her. She came out but stayed in the guest room on one of the beds. I put a gate up so Maggie wouldn’t bother her and added a hole in the gate so Maddie could go to the food and litter. It took a while but she came downstairs and chose the dining room table as her safety spot. Gracie came only a few months after Maggie died, and she chased poor Maddie. It was puppy fun for Gracie. Poor Maddie ran for her life, but she didn’t hide. She stayed on that table. Now Maddie will even sit on the couch where Gracie is sleeping. She heads butts me for pats. During the day she sleeps on my bed and during the night she sleeps on the rug in my room. She won’t go so far as to join Fern, Gracie and me on the bed, but she stays close. Miss Maddie is a sweet, lovable cat. It’s nice to have her around. Now if she and Fern would stop hissing at one another, this would be a happy home.

It’s not like Massachusetts, where they’re baptized Democrats.”

July 21, 2012

It’s another gorgeous morning, cool and sunny. A breeze is blowing. The leaves, dappled in sunlight, are gently swinging from the ends of their branches. I stood on the deck for the longest time this morning just taking in the day. I watched Gracie roaming what I call the back forty. I watched the birds taking seeds from the feeders then I sat down for just a bit and heard the fountain, the songs of the birds and the crunch of the leaves when Gracie ran over them as she circled the yard. I smelled the flowers and the freshness of the air. The morning filled all my senses.

Today I have errands, and I’m not even complaining. It’s a perfect day for a ride even if it is to the grocery store and the pharmacy. I’m thinking after my stops I might just keep going on the back roads and travel a bit down-cape. I haven’t done that in a while, but then again, I have a new book and comfy deck chairs. Maybe, just maybe, I’ll put off the errands until late afternoon and sit outside with my book, a cold drink and Miss Gracie. I like having choices.

I have lived in Massachusetts for the whole of my life except, of course, for the two years in the Peace Corps. I wouldn’t think of living anywhere else. We have four seasons: two I love and two I tolerate because of their extremes. We have mountains, albeit small ones, and the seashore. History oozes all around us. We can visit Plimouth Plantation and Plymouth Rock and be whisked back to 1620, and we can stand where the revolution unfolded on Lexington Green. Paul Revere’s house still stands as does the steeple where he watched for the lanterns. We can ride the pedal-driven swan boats on the small lake in the Boston Public Garden just as people did over a hundred years ago. Here on the cape, whales spend the summer and a few great white sharks make headlines. Nothing tastes better than steamed clams freshly dug from the sand flats. I still take pride that this was the only state which voted for McGovern. We love our sports teams, sometimes even rabidly, and they have thanked us by winning championships. White churches on hills are still parts of small Massachusetts towns. Nothing is prettier than fall when bright red and yellow leaves decorate trees and shade roads. I may complain but falling snow is lovely.

I have always considered myself lucky for living here.