Michael Jackson dies, Sarah Palin quits, Governor Mark Sanford goes to Argentina for love, Senator Ensign pays the piper, U.S. healthcare reform falters, recovers, falters again, recovers, I hope, Ted Kennedy, lion of the senate, down but not out, GM goes bankrupt, Chrysler reorganizes, In Tehran, an election, more or less. In North Korea, nukes, sort of. Prime Minister Berlusconi runs the G-8 conference, young girlfriends or no. Dick Cheney ran his own covert kill operations, so it seems. Serena Williams beats her sister Venus for the Wimbledon Championship. A study shows that swearing makes pain easier to bear.
Living out towards Temple, as I do, I cross Middle Bridge over the Sandy River just about daily, often multiple times daily. And I always look up at the huge letter sign high on Joel Bridges’s house (which is also headquarters of his Thoughtbridge Ministry), that controversial community bulletin board, free speech in eight-inch letters: lately a paean and exhortation to organic gardening; occasionally a paid ad from a political candidate or a reminder to register to vote; the odd quotation from the likes of Abraham Heschel (the Rabbi and Selma freedom marcher); a heartwarming WE
Spring and nothing but buttons and charcoal briquettes left where snowmen stood so recently. Rhubarb like little red fists pushing up out of the ground among the ruins of last’s year’s prodigious foliage. A young man’s fancy turns to thoughts of love. A middle-aged guy’s thoughts, too — sure, love — but also thoughts of dirt, and before long beet greens, lettuce as well, a few odd asparagus spears, maybe a cool June morning with a carefully cuff-wiped radish hot in the mouth.
My mother’s father, a Congregationalist minister, was born in 1887, just four years after standard time was instituted. Before the railroads pushed for standardization (a boon to schedules), time was entirely local. A deacon at the church in your town or the next set his watch for noon when the sun was straight above, and then he rang the bell every day according to his watch, adjusting as necessary. Farmington time was ten or so minutes ahead of Bangor time, and both ahead of New York a half-hour or so.
One surprise of the new year was that Elysia’s ice skates still fit her. She was sure they wouldn’t and already mourned them, beautiful white figure skates. Size one, as it turned out when I found them finally in the hall closet, her current size. Of course her mom had bought them big, beginning of last winter. The skates went in the car to go to New York with us after Christmas—my frail father-in-law lives down there alone now that my mother-in-law has died, and the bother of
I doubt many Farmington folks had a billion dollars invested with Bernie Madoff, and few have got millions in any market. High finance around here is a house with fresh paint and a car less than five years old, maybe a paved driveway. Franklin Savings, our strongly rated local bank, doesn’t (so far as I know) sell the mortgages it underwrites and, at least in the banking part of its business, sticks to the ethics that informed the Depression-era banking laws so blithely repealed by the trickle-downers
One of the many good things about living in Farmington is the Titcomb Mountain Ski Area. It’s just a little place, owned and run by the nonprofit Farmington Ski Club since 1939, just two miles from home. I love the lodge, an echoing post-and-beam building with a medieval fireplace or two and a cafeteria run by volunteers, mostly. Even when it’s empty you can hear the boots stomping and the kids shouting — those sounds are part of the woodwork now, 70 years worth, very nearly.
I couldn’t get Elysia out to plant garlic with me the other day. Late October and she was working on her Halloween costume, sitting out in the sun on the deck, sewing away. “Daddy, I’ve only got one week!”
She’s going to be Mother Nature. I’m going to be the moon, kind of round and orbiting around her: raw, unabashed typecasting. Her mother will be the sun. The two of them found a beautiful green velvet dress with a faint flower pattern at Touch of Class
Thoreau as usual got it right: “Every man looks at his wood pile with a kind of affection.” Even a man like me, who hasn’t got the time anymore or fortitude to cut his own trees, and in fact not enough trees on his property to last more than a few years.
Firewood cut-split-delivered has gotten more expensive. Supply and demand, for one thing, as heating oil prices surge. And the guys who cut wood have to pay for fuel, too. Last year everyone around here was swamped just
Late in my college career (checkered) my then girlfriend (now orchestral flutist and music prof), Susan Royal, convinced me and several others of our gang to go skydiving. She’d seen a flyer for a place in Seneca Falls, maybe an hour north along Lake Cayuga, upstate New York. She woke me early on a Saturday morning, and since the other guys were going, I had to go. Vastly hungover, I slept in the car, woke to discover I was in a tiny airplane, a snide and mocking instructor reminding us