Letter From New York 07 19 15 A weekend in Claverack…

It has been a grey weekend with very little rain but constant threats of thunderstorms. As I exited the car tonight there were the rolling sounds of thunder and my phone has alerted me there is a tornado watch in effect.

My friends Lionel and Pierre arrived on Friday night for their monthly visit. We met at the Red Dot, a group of us, Lionel, Pierre and me, as well as another three from Christ Church Episcopal. We had a great evening and then came home, Lionel and I having our traditional “cleansing vodka” while catching up with each other’s lives.

Saturday was a particularly difficult day. Lionel awakened to two texts. One of them informed him that our mutual friend, Nick Wright, had been diagnosed at the age of thirty something with an aggressive lung cancer and had been transferred to Sloan Kettering for treatment. The other message was that the man who was largely responsible for Lionel and Pierre meeting had committed suicide the night before at the age of 35.

Devastating news from every corner.

On Saturday, my friends Mary Ann Zimmer and her partner, Mitch, arrived and Lionel, Pierre and I gathered again with them at the Dot with Bill and David and their friend Laurel, having a lunch rendezvous as they were returning to New York. There was an afternoon nap, some reading of a mystery novel, an appearance at a fundraising event for the Hudson Library and then dinner at Lionel and Pierre’s. Mary Ann and I stayed up until two, catching up.

There was a long morning drinking coffee on the deck, reading the NY Times, followed by a lunch with Larry Divney. Mary Ann, Larry and I all worked at A&E Networks in the 1980’s. There were reminiscences about our time there and the people we had worked with, known and, in many cases, loved in our own special way.  The three of us formed a bound there that has lasted through the years.

Six months after I purchased the cottage, a mutual friend told me I couldn’t be far from Larry and his wife, Alicia. I was in Columbia County and they were in Columbia County and Columbia County is only so large. I got their local number, left a message and went to Walmart for a shop.

He and Alicia were there, stunned to find me. With my now ex-partner, we went back to their house and sipped champagne and it was the beginning of an enhanced friendship. Since then we have celebrated Thanksgivings together and Christmases and Sunday afternoon lunches, parties and long talks.

It has been one of the most satisfying parts of my life here at the Cottage, to know these two people and have them as friends. Last year we were together for Thanksgiving and Christmas. Thanksgiving was at their house and Christmas was at mine.

I am very lucky. My friendships are deep and rich. I live in a very special little corner of the world. I look out the windows from the desk at which I am writing and there is a panorama of green. I am doing my best to soak in every moment and aspect of my world here.

Soon, I suspect, I will leave the city of New York and become a full time resident of Claverack, to watch the seasons come and go, to revel in my couple of acres of wilderness, to sit on my deck and read books and to enjoy the latter years of my life.

Here the world feels far away. But it is still very available, thanks to technology.

Donald Trump has stepped in it with his comments about John McCain. He questioned McCain’s classification as a war hero. It was finally too much and the pack of Republican candidates are doing their best, at last, to distance themselves from Trump.

His comments on Mexicans didn’t provoke them but his comments on McCain were too much.

Trump still leads in the polls and is unapologetic.

Greece is struggling to make sense of the deal they have done with the EU. In this round, David lost and Goliath won. But there is some talk of debt relief, which might mean, in the end, Tsipras has accomplished something.

It is both national and world news that someone has drowned in Demi Moore’s pool. Why?

Despite the sound of thunder when I arrived home there is no rain, only the grey that promises that it might happen. It is the end of a lovely weekend of friends and food and joy while the world has ticked on.

May it tick well for you.

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