dream sequence – part 54


As is the case with many of my dreams, I only remember fragments of this one. It involved our dog Tito and his brother Merlin, who lives in western Pennsylvania. For reasons that were never explained, Merlin was staying with us. Also unexplained: Merlin was able to speak in clear, intelligible English, and this didn’t seem the least bit odd in the context of the dream.

Tito, as it turned out, did not have this gift, but apparently was able to communicate telepathically with Merlin, who spoke on his behalf. Specifically, we were told that Tito wished to watch baseball on television. Who knew?

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Cape Crusades


Since our trip to Cape Cod back in June, we’ve added it to our list of possible North-of-the-Border retirement options. While many parts of the Cape are every bit as expensive as where we’re living now — or more so — it’s close enough that we can take a day trip to check out a property or two without too much of a hassle. We visited an Open House a few weeks ago and were smitten by a very nice house in Sandwich. The die was cast.

More recently we spent a four-day weekend wandering the Cape from Woods Hole to Sandwich to Provincetown — and many places in between. We came away with an even wider palate of places we like. Woods Hole and Falmouth have been early favorites because that’s where we’ve spent the majority of our time, but we enjoyed Sandwich when we were there a few weeks back, and then visited Cotuit, Osterville, West Hyannisport, West Dennis, Wellfleet, Truro and Provincetown over a whirlwind four days and three nights. We’ve suddenly encountered an embarrassment of riches — right in our backyard.

Since it’s our plan to maintain the property as a summer home first and then as a retirement home once we’ve sold the house in Cochituate, the towns closest to the canal — Sandwich, Bourne, Sagamore, Falmouth, etc. — are clear favorites, but our trip introduced us to the otherworldly charm of the Outer Cape. Wellfleet has a hip downtown area and a wonderful annual Oyster Festival (which we attended last Sunday). Provincetown is a party town with a rugged past — the Mayflower deemed it unsuitable for settlement and continued on to Plymouth — and has an enduring international charm. Truro is breathtaking with its expansive dunes, highlighted artfully by the austere Days Cottages above. We’re frankly not sure where to turn next, but we’re certainly enjoying the ride.

It’s a watercolor portrait of the rest of our lives, and I can’t wait to see it.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

dream sequence – part 53


My wife and I came upon an urban food court in search of a good lunch sandwich, but it seemed as if we were too late. Most of the stalls and kiosks were either closed entirely or in the last stages of clean-up. Then, out of view, a loud voice shouted “fresh cold cut platters, ready to go”. Astonished, we looked at one another, recognizing the voice but hardly believing our ears.

A few steps forward, and our suspicions were confirmed: it was Bruce Springsteen, wearing a blood-splattered apron and proudly displaying a generous sampling of cold cuts laid out on aluminum trays. It wasn’t a doppelganger, mind you — it was The Boss, selling salami, prosciutto and provolone wrapped in cellophane. I bought everything he had.

A confession: I don’t care for Springsteen’s music, but we were both very hungry.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

dream sequence – part 52


I was down on my luck, living on my own in deplorable conditions. My bedroom was a windowless concrete cell in a dark, dank building inhabited by transients and others on the margins of society.

To make matters worse, a nondescript woman had followed me back to my room. There was no romance involved — if anything, I had taken just enough pity on her to let her spend the night, but nothing more. I left the room to try and find some pajamas so as not to give the wrong impression.

Down the hallway, I came upon a similar room, one that apparently had been recently inhabited by one of my sons. It had the appearance of being hastily abandoned, as there was quite a bit of clothing left behind — most of it in poor shape. I found a pair of ski pants and a worn out t-shirt to complete my wardrobe for the night.

Lastly, I tried to find a bathroom. I came upon a vast cinder block room on the top floor of the building. There were porcelain fixtures that appeared to have once been toilets, plugged up with sand and ash, some of them utilized despite the fact that they were clearly not in working condition.

Three men came up the stairs and entered the room. I was more than a little alarmed.

“Who are you?” I demanded.

“I own this shit-hole,” one of them snarled.

“Where’s the bathroom?”

The man laughed and turned around, leading the other two men out of the room and back down the stairs.

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

documenting the fall of Man (and Mena)


I took an ungraceful ride down my first-floor stairs on Friday night. As I don’t remember anything about the actual fall, I can only say that I was performing a routine chore just before taking my dog for a walk in the backyard. Every night, I gather up the recyclables that pile up in the kitchen and bring them downstairs to a large plastic container in the basement. I clearly remember walking with a small plastic container toward the top of the steps. The next thing I remember was the wail of a siren and the flashing lights of an ambulance pulling in front of our house.

I don’t remember the EMTs rushing in, the ambulance trip to the hospital, or my arrival at the ER. I do remember being told that I was being taken for a CT scan, and remarking that I had visited the same Radiology department earlier that week for x-rays as a follow-up to my back surgery.

My wife Mary, who has been my rock throughout this whole ordeal, tells me I never lost consciousness — and in fact kept telling her “I’m okay”  — when it was pretty clear to her that I wasn’t. Evidently I had traveled the length of my steps and hit my head against the front door frame of the house, further complicating matters by cutting my forearm on broken glass trying to sit up. By the time Mary had come to my aid, blood and glass was all over the place, and she alertly called 911.

The Wayland Fire Department should be commended for their swift response, not that I remember any of it. So too the emergency room at Newton-Wellesley Hospital, where I had my back surgery a year ago nearly to the day, and where Mary also spent some time in recent years. I didn’t have to wait too long for the doctor to come in and patch me up. All in all, it was 10 staples in the skull, 8 sutures on the forearm, and an adhesive on my eyebrow. As the EMTs had cut off my clothes, I left with the gift of a hospital smock and matching pants.

Less than 48 hours later, I haven’t experienced any headaches or dizziness, so I consider myself extremely lucky. My secondary injuries — the contusions on my shoulder, arm, chest and upper back — actually hurt more, and have left me very sore. But it could have been much, much worse.

The moral of the story? Be green — but be careful.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

scraping the sky


I was already living in Massachusetts on 9/11, but my horror brought me right back to New York — to that view of the lower Manhattan skyline from the Brooklyn Bridge, to the view from the tenth floor of the Hofstra library some 20 miles away, to the view looking straight up from the foot of the tallest building in the World.

I suppose there is a certain arrogance that comes with building a tower tall enough to reach heaven. It’s the same hubris that drives us to land on the moon, to ride Niagara Falls in a barrel or to jump out of an airplane. It’s that persistent denial of our own mortality, our inherent limitations, our collective common sense.

A cat will climb a tree only high enough to escape the jaws of a barking dog. We, ostensibly the more intelligent species, must climb as high as possible.

Was it 15 years ago, or was it yesterday?

thunder —
another dream
about the Towers

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

farewell to summer


Yes, I know, the autumn equinox is over two weeks away, but make no mistake — the unofficial summer season ends when Labor Day ends.

Every year I view the passing of summer with a particular nostalgia. Having an August birthday, I always remembered returning to school a year older than when I last opened a book. Nearly 40 years after graduating from high school, I still view September as moving from one chapter of that book to the next.

Even though this summer has sped by, it’s been especially challenging. So much moving — so much moving on. I want to grab the sun with both hands and clutch it tightly, begging it not to set, and yet knowing that it must.

trading sighs —
the last breath
of summer

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment