Do you remember where you were on the day we call “Nine-Eleven?”
That collective sigh of relief you heard last week came from parents all over Maine watching the yellow school bus (or the beat-up family clunker) ferrying their children off to their first day of classes in academic year 2009-2010. It's arguable whether a summer that never happened can come to an end, but indisputably autumn is upon us and it's time for the kids — and the Congress — to hit the books.
Of course, the weather right now is better than it has been for three months. Of course, the skies are brilliant and the air is fresh and the breeze is gentle and the fog has backed off all the way to New Brunswick. Needless to say, few are here to enjoy these amazing days.
Liam and Neil are here, from England and Nevada, respectively, by way of our daughter’s high school. A few random visitors are still around; Jim’s sister, Hal’s niece, Ann’s and Ava’s grandkids squeeze in a few days before school starts, before work becomes inflexible.
I was browsing my favorite online gardening forum the other day and stumbled into a fascinating thread about marijuana. It was enlightening — not in regard to the plant per se, but in the wider sense of opening a window onto our collective bipolar disorder around this subject.
The strangest thing was how the boats were not lined up as usual, swinging on their moorings together and all facing the same direction.
No-- the strangest thing was how the sun was shining. It was hot, actually very hot, brilliant, with almost no wind. Those facts conflicted with what our eyes were taking in, as we watched our harbor go through the cycle of the high tide. The last time we’d all been here like this was for the one they called the Patriot’s Day Storm back in April a year ago. I remember a screeching gale, and cold, driving rain.
There's an odd sense of dislocation that afflicts two generations of readers: young adults and older teenagers who grew up reading Harry Potter, and parents who tagged along for the magical ride.
A bunch of the Irregulars were sitting around my kitchen table the other night comparing notes on the rather heavy crop of newspaper reporters that we’ve seen this season. This particular summer, members of the press corps are some thick on the ground around here. Evidently last week a couple of the boys from the Associated Press found their way into the “Farmer’s Market” (this year, sans farmers). That would be our little summer craft-fair and coffee-break gathering held weekly in the Matinicus church basement.
I knew it was just a matter of time. I've been in and out of the Togus VA medical center in Augusta rather often lately, and hence have enjoyed my share of downtime chilling in waiting rooms with my fellow vets. I was pretty sure that sooner or later, somebody would launch some conversational gambit — not a tirade, Mainers aren't given to tirades — on the general theme of the Obama administration's nefarious plan to stage a government takeover of the heath care system.
Don't you find yourself scratching your head sometimes while poring over one of those 10 Best Whatever lists? Like, what is Groundhog Day doing here and not Casablanca? You find yourself questioning the judgment of any editor who would run with some crazy thing like this.
Surprise, people — my editor is out of town. And herewith I present the 10 Best Summer Things, Ever, Period.
The classic 1932 film Grand Hotel, set in Weimar-era Berlin, opens and closes with a fatalistic character played by Lewis Stone declaring glumly:
"Grand Hotel. People come and go. Nothing ever happens."