Posted tagged ‘New England’

“All new news is old news happening to new people”

December 14, 2013

Cold, of course it is. This is winter. This is New England. It should be cold. Snow is predicted starting tonight into tomorrow but, alas, it will turn to rain here on the coast.

When I went to the driveway for my papers this morning, I noticed the tiniest of flakes starting to fall but they disappeared in a heart beat. I think it was a dress rehearsal. My to-do list is getting smaller, but I’m in trouble. I can’t find my date-nut bread pan, a special pan  handed down from the 1940’s. I went through the cabinet, and the pan just wasn’t there. I can think of no other places I would have put it. Later I’ll go through that cabinet one more time. There was, however, a bright spot. In the looking, I did find the new Christmas dishes I bought on sale last year. I had no idea where they were.

The Cape Cod Times was filled with strange tidbits of information this morning. On the page called The Log there was the story of an attempted robbery. The man demanded the ATM money the woman had just gotten. She told him no, and he took off, fled the scene. Here is his description: mid to late 30’s, average height and slim build, a description which narrows the search considerably. I’m thinking it might be my neighbor. The security footage shows him with tape on his mouth. What the heck is that? The last paragraph said compensation will be provided for information leading to an arrest. Compensation? Someone got a new thesaurus.

We had a pick-up truck end up inside an unoccupied house, the whole pick-up truck, a 2007 Toyota Tundra. The house was badly damaged, but the driver was just fine. He declined to be taken to the hospital. The incident remains under investigation. I figure that’s a good thing.

Do not carry armed sock monkeys dressed as cowboys onto a plane. TSA remarked that realistic replicas of firearms are prohibited. Come to find out there is a weapon as small as the sock monkey’s. It is 2.2 inches long, 1 centimeter wide, weighs less than an ounce and can hit a target roughly 525 feet away. Who knows what damage that may have done in the hands of a crazed sock monkey?

I have two errands today, including buying my Christmas tree. I’m pretty excited. My house will soon be filled with the smell of fresh pine. I’ll sit in the living room and just look at the tree. I can never get enough. Is there anything more beautiful at Christmas?

“It was one of those March days when the sun shines hot and the wind blows cold: when it is summer in the light, and winter in the shade.”

March 8, 2013

Earliest I sloshed my way to the mailbox and then to the driveway to get the papers. My road is slush covered. Tire marks show the route of my paper delivery, and when I got inside, I could see my footprints. It is lightly snowing, slanted and from the northeast, but I can also hear drips on the deck from the roof. The weather for today is rainy and cold with temperatures in the 30’s. I just hope it stays above freezing. The wind was with us all night but has since pretty much disappeared. On the early news was a house which had fallen into the ocean. I suspect it won’t be the last as the rain pits and wears away the dunes. This is just ugly. The only bright spot is I have heat and electricity.

I stood at the back door while the coffee perked. The storm is a bit mesmerizing with the snow coming across rather than down. The railing on the deck outside the door has an inch or more of what used to be snow and is now slush. That slush is the color of cement and Gracie’s paw prints look permanent as if she walked across the new part of a sidewalk. Lots of birds are hovering around the feeder, the squirrel buster feeder. I filled it the other day so there is plenty of seed. All of the birds are gold finches still clad in their dull winter feathers.

March is a difficult month. It doesn’t know whether it wants to be the first spring month or the last month of winter. Easter is at the end of the month so March best make up its mind. Light dresses and pastels don’t work as well with winter coats.

I know they’ll be snow and frost and windshield scraping. I have lived in New England all of my life and haven’t thought about moving anywhere else. Winter is the price we pay for spring and fall, especially fall. All I ask is a sunny day, a winter’s sunny day is fine with me. I know the winter sun is sharper and colder, but sun is sun, and it makes me glad.

Last Roundup: Rex Trailer and His Cow Hands

January 11, 2013

Rex Trailer, host of “Boomtown,” a Western-themed children’s TV show that beguiled generations of New England children, has died. “Rex Trailer left this earth peacefully last night surrounded in love and song by his family. Rex had been in Florida for the holidays when he became ill into the New Year. While everyone’s prayers and support have been of great comfort to Rex, he decided it was time to go home. Rex and family thank all of you and love you.”

“Rex Trailer’s Boomtown” premiered on WBZ-TV in Boston in 1956. It ran until 1974. The show included cartoons, educational games, and outdoor adventures. Trailer showed off cowboy tricks he learned when he was growing up in Texas.

Trailer brought children with disabilities on his program. In 1959, he led a wagon train across Massachusetts to raise awareness about children with disabilities.

The show was a weekend morning fixture on local TV. Trailer made more than 1,000 episodes. A filmmaker who made a documentary about the show estimated that more than 4 million baby boomers grew up watching it and nearly 250,000 appeared in the show’s live audiences, the Globe reported in 2004.

Trailer’s young fans once included Jay Leno, Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino, Barry (Jordan’s Furniture) Tatelman, and Jimmy Tingle.

This song is from “Rex Trailer and his Cow Hands”, Western Favorites, which was released in 1961 on Spin-O-Rama records.

“Between Ennui and Ecstasy unwinds our whole experience of time.”

December 29, 2012

Today is raw which was always my mother’s description for damp and cold. The sky is that grey-white color which means rain or snow or, in our case, a bit of both. The snow will start off-Cape tonight while we’ll get rain then the tail end of the snow storm will hit us and bring maybe an inch or two or even up to four.

I’m not going anywhere today. The outside world doesn’t look all that inviting. I do have to fill a couple of feeders, and I’ll put the new one out and maybe fold and bring up the clothes in the dryer but that last one is a long shot.

When I sit down to write Coffee, I am often at a loss as to what to say. Day-to-day, or at least my day-to-day, is so consistent it lends itself to ennui, to boredom. Didn’t she just write about that I imagine you’re thinking as you read about Gracie and the weather. Other days my mind is filled with all sorts of neat stuff. Some of it is imaginative, and it grows out of daydreaming or a TV program or a book I’m reading, and I share even though you might think it borders on the crazy, the very weird. Memories often fill my mind triggered by something I saw or even smelled. You have all been to Ghana with me so many times I wonder if you groan and say, “Not Ghana again!” On my sloth days you already know that I’ll be doing nothing except reading and eating the proverbial bon bons.

What brought all this on? Well, one of the blogs I have been reading for years, Letters from a Hill Farm, is closing down. Nan has decided, “To live my life without writing about my life.” That got me thinking. I have been writing Coffee since 2004, the year I retired. I wrote every day for several years then I started taking Wednesdays off, a sort of mid-week breather. After my coffee and papers every morning, I sit in front of the computer hoping I have something to say, something you’ll enjoy or remember or something you can relate to. Where am I going with this? Not away as I really like writing and I love my Coffee family. I just want to be reassured that on days like today when I have nothing to say you’ll still listen.

“A cold wind was blowing from the north, and it made the trees rustle like living things.”

November 8, 2012

The storm started yesterday afternoon and it was tremendous. The wind blew gusts as high as 60 MPH, stronger than Sandy had brought. I could hear the relentless, howling wind. Branches and tree trunks were blowing and bending. Rain fell all night into this morning but now has just about stopped. The sky is still gray but getting lighter. The wind is still blowing but seems calm in comparison. I watched the weather at 11 last night. The Cape was the only part of the state getting rain. The rest of the state was getting snow, in a variety of amounts. We were 10˚ warmer than Boston.

My caller ID identified two calls this morning as political. The first call, before 8, woke me up. I didn’t answer that one or the second one from the same number. Later, I still a little sleuthing and found out the number has been reported repeatedly. It is not political. It is spamming. I have a feeling they’ll be persistent. If this were a plot in a futuristic science fiction novel, I’d send a tiny shock through the phones lines to the caller who’d then cross my name off the list.

Today is normally dump day, but we will wait until tomorrow unless the rain and the wind stop. The dump on a windy day is like the Russian steppes in the middle of winter. Gracie will just have to be content with a trip to Agway where she is a welcomed customer.

The bird feeders need filling so I’ll brave the elements later and go out on the deck. I noticed the furniture covers are weighted down in the middle with rainwater. They’ll have to be emptied. In the winter, those pockets of water freeze. Sometimes I lift a huge disk of ice off the cover and toss it over the deck rail. Luckily we’re not there yet.

Without the political hoopla and the anticipation of waiting to hear the results, the day is a bit humdrum. President Clinton hasn’t called again.


“It is better to meet danger than to wait for it. He that is on a lee shore, and foresees a hurricane, stands out to sea and encounters a storm to avoid a shipwreck.”

October 28, 2012

Sandy most decidedly has my attention. Yesterday I got a robocall from Nstar, and this morning it was the Dennis Police Department. I was warned to brace for hurricane winds, rain and electrical failure. I have a few things yet to move on the deck, but they’re small and will take only a few minutes. I got 8 D batteries from the hardware store, no rush of people there, so my mega lamp is ready. My iPad and my phone are charged. I may go out for a few goodies later, but mostly I have enough food. I do worry a bit about pine trees as they sway in even small winds, but only one tree is near the house. It’s now wait and see time.

I remember Hurricane Daisy even more than Bob because I was young and totally impressed by the wind and the rain. It hit New England in August 1958. My sister had just been born and was kept in the hospital a couple of days because she was under 5 pounds, and they did that back then. My mother was relieved the baby was safe. With no power, my mother couldn’t have heated bottles. My dad took us out during the eye of the storm. The light was eerie; the sky a strange color. I don’t remember any sounds: no birds, no cars. The oak tree across the street had fallen on the road making it impassable. Its tree stump still had split shards from the trunk. I remember the inside bark was white. In my mind’s eye, I can still see all the small branches usually up so high but now lying on the road close to my side of the street. My brother and I sat on the trunk, and we walked through and around the branches. That something so huge could fall made a lasting impression.

My dad, sensing the start of the wind again, brought us inside the house. I remember watching out the window and seeing the leaves blown about as the trees swayed. I will never forget the sound of that wind.

You can never go home again, but the truth is you can never leave home, so it’s all right.”

September 21, 2012

It was only 5:00 when I reluctantly dragged myself out of bed. I am not a fan of this early in the morning. It is too reminiscent of my working days when every morning started in the dark, but I can now see a tiny glimmer of the morning light in the gray sky and that makes me glad.

It is as if I never went anywhere.

My town, where I grew up, has three churches on three street corners across from each other. The Catholic church is two blocks down the street. Both funeral homes are on the same street and are right beside each other. That street is convenient to all four churches. The police department, the town hall and the fire department are basically on the same block, one right after the other. When I was young, the fire and police were in the same building, but the town and the police department grew so the police needed their own building. The bowling alleys are gone now. There were once two, and each of them was candlepin, the kind of bowling where you use three small balls per frame. Candlepin bowling is a New England thing. We all grew up playing it, and the bowling alley was a spot for Friday nights with your friends. My town has a good Italian restaurant which is always filled. You need a reservation. It used to have only a Chinese restaurant, but now it has Thai and Indian restaurants. I have eaten at both, and the food is excellent. I know of two Dunkin’ Donuts and neither one has a drive-up window. There is no bakery and no bookstore, but there is a wonderful library built with money from Andrew Carnegie. I remember reading the plaque about that when I was standing in the doorway out of the rain when I was younger. The two golf courses are on the edges of the town in two different directions. I never knew anyone who played golf. My mother had her senior prom at the club house of one of those courses. I have never even seen it as it is off the road, and I’ve not had the inclination to go look. The movie theaters are gone, but the one from my Saturday matinée days is now a theater which presents wonderful plays. My sister and I have the tradition of seeing their Christmas play and then eating at that really good Italian restaurant.

My sister lives in my old town, and I don’t visit enough. The ride is only about an hour and a half, but I’m lazy about making the trip. I have to change that. When I do visit, I like to take a memory tour and ride the familiar streets. I go through uptown and check out the buildings and any changes, I go see the house where I grew up, my elementary school, the field where the park was and, on the way, I remember which friends lived where. I am reminded that it was wonderful place in which to grow up.

“Where is human nature so weak as in the bookstore?”

February 10, 2012

Today is the last of the warm days at least through the weekend. The weatherman called the weekend temperature an Arctic blast, but right now the temperatures are predicted to be in the low 20’s with some rain turning to snow and accumulating as many as 3 inches. I laughed when I reread this and saw I had written “as many” as 3 inches. That’s only a bit more than a dusting in New England or it used to be. This year we all seem to have refined our definition of Arctic and cold and snow storms. Right now it is 46°.

The Cape Times had a picture of daffodils which have already bloomed in Orleans. The article with the picture said bulges of buds are being noticed on some trees. One woman was quoted as saying this is the earliest she has ever seen daffodils.

Last night I drove home from Chatham. Though it was not even nine, the roads were almost clear of cars. I think I saw only 3 all the way from Chatham to Dennis. It reminded me of winter when I was young. In those days many people worked only summers as little work was available all winter. They let their bills pile up until they were back working, and nobody minded waiting. They knew they’d get paid. The streets were usually deserted at night. Few restaurants and only a couple of movie theaters stayed open all winter. By the day after Labor Day the Cape was a giant ghost town.

Last night as I was driving I also thought about books. Nothing is more exciting than reading a great book for the first time and nothing is worse than finishing it. When I was a kid, I took joy and pleasure in reading so many wonderful books for the first time, and I dreaded getting closer to the endings. I’d put the book down for a bit, which took every bit of fortitude I had, but then I’d give in and go back and finally finish it. I was seldom disappointed but was always a bit sad.

“Ladies and gentlemen, take my advice; Pull down your pants, and slide on the ice.”

January 28, 2012

Today is warm and sunny with a sharp blue winter sky. I woke up earlier than usual but lolled a bit until Gracie rang her bells to go outside then I came downstairs, let her out and started the coffee. When I came back inside from getting the papers and something from the car, the house had the wonderful smell of fresh coffee. I could barely wait for that first cup.

Today is chore day. I have a list; I always have a list. Yesterday I did nothing so today I expect to be industrious, but I never begrudge a day like today. I figure once it’s over I get to loll again. That’s my reward.

The winter is speeding by and hasn’t really made its impact yet. We’ve only had a few really cold days and very little snow. It is 43° right now, and the day is still, not even a brown leaf flutters from the end of a branch. This would be the January thaw most years but not this one. It’s become the typical day. Now we complain when it’s in the 30’s. We used to reserve our complaints for days in the teens or ones in single digits. I fear we New Englanders are getting spoiled and may no longer be considered hardy.

My mother and father lived in the city when they were young so we never heard stories from them about walking in several feet of snow to get to school. I don’t remember several feet either though I do remember walking on the street to get to school as the sidewalks weren’t plowed. In those days the plows usually left a thick layer of snow on the streets which sometimes turned icy in spots. Those icy sections glinted in the sun and invited us to run and slide, each trying to out-do the other in distance. Falling was not uncommon and always made us laugh. We’d almost forget we were on our way to school.

“It looks like something out of Whittier’s “Snowbound,”‘ Julia said. Julia could always think of things like that to say.”

January 22, 2012

About 8 or 9 inches of snow fell yesterday. The stuff is pretty, no question about it, but pretty never lasts long enough. I got plowed out last night by my factotum but a bit more fell, mostly from the ocean effect, but because it was warmer earlier this morning, the new snow melted off the walkway, the car windshield and the roof. Icicles now hang off the roof edge. They look like teeth needing orthodontia. It’s cold, only 31°, and the sky is gray cloudy.

I’ll watch the Pats play the Ravens this afternoon. If I had tickets to the game, I’d probably give them away. I can’t imagine sitting in the stands and freezing. A warm living room, good food and a close bathroom are far more important to me. I doubt there would be enough layers to keep me warm.

Gracie’s friend Cody dropped by to visit late yesterday. Both dogs had so much pent-up energy they ran and ran chasing each other. Gracie also did her laps around the perimeter three times in a row. When she came inside, her tongue was hanging to her knees, at least to what I think are her knees.

The cape is pretty flat, but the golf course has one perfect hill for sledding. I’m betting there’s a crowd of kids there now despite the cold. Opportunities to speed down a hill are too rare to pass up. Our old wooden sleds are from a bygone era. Kids now spin their way to the bottom on flying saucers or snow tubes. My old wooden sled is standing outside my front door with skates hanging from the steering. It is one of my winter decorations. I love the way it looks and the memories it brings to mind.

I have to the dump today. On days like today the dump is freezing. The wind rushes furiously across the treeless plain. I always imagine that’s what a gulag must be like.

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