Archive for July, 2016

Letter From New York via Minnesota, one more time 07 27 2016

July 27, 2016

I am seated in the Red Carpet Club at the Minneapolis/St. Paul Lindberg Terminal.  Lindberg, if you recall, was born in Michigan but spent his childhood in Little Falls, Minnesota.  His father was a Minnesota Congressman and the state has adopted him as if he were a native son. 

While not a member of the Red Carpet Club, I am a member of Amtrak’s Acela Club which gives me privileges at the Red Carpet Club. 

Outside the wall of windows, the day is grey and threatening rain.  My brother dropped me at the airport on his way to meetings in St. Paul and I have about an hour and a half before I board my flight back to New York.

It’s comfortable and quiet, just as this visit has been. 

In the course of my time here, I have done the usual things of seeing my family and friends. 

I went to the nursing home where my oldest friend, Sarah, has an aunt in the memory care unit.  I went twice, bringing her flowers both times.  She is 96, I think, though she identifies as being 102 or 103.  Her sister, Eileen, and Eileen’s husband, John, have been gone a number of years and as I left Aunt MeMe, she asked me to say hello to them when I got back to New York.  “If ignorance is bliss, ’tis folly to be wise,” from a poem by Thomas Grey seems apt here.  I did not remind MeMe that they are gone.  Let her live in the warmth of their presence inside her.

Yesterday, I went to the grave of my parents, unsure if I could find them.  The great tree that marked my father’s grave and which my mother and I used as a marker when we visited is now long gone but I did find their graves, surprising and pleasing myself.

Standing there, I wished all of us could have done better; me as a child to their parents and they as parents to the child I was.  We didn’t have an easy time of it. 

When I was young, one of the greatest childhood treats I could have was the popcorn at the Pavilion at Lake Harriet, its beaches my summertime playground. So I went there, looking to see if the popcorn was as good as it had been, though my nieces warned me it was not the popcorn of old.  There was no chance to make a decision; the popcorn machines were not working my last day in town.

Three was time with my brother, Joe, and his wife Deb, my other sister-in-law, Sally, who was Joe’s first wife, their two daughters, my nieces Kristin and Resa, a wine with Resa’s son, Emile.  Kristin runs Clancy’s Meats in Linden Hills and is, I think, the most famous butcher in the Twin Cities. We had a couple of dinners, loud with laughter and a couple of breakfasts with Sally, full of warm chatter.

It was family time, for the most part.  A good thing as family is centering as our wild world whirls around us. 

As I wait in the comfort of the Red Carpet Club, CNN is on the background.  Trump is speaking and the sound is so soft I cannot hear what he is saying. The banners in the lower third says he is all for getting along with Russia and that it’s “far fetched” that Russia is trying to help him.

Russians are believed to have hacked the DNC servers and then turned a treasure trove of nasty emails within the DNC over to Wikileaks who did what they do, leaked them to the press.  The exposure demonstrated the contempt of some for the candidacy of Bernie Sanders.  The most notable head to roll is Debbie Wasserman Schultz, who had been head of the DNC.  Didn’t even get to open the convention she had planned.

The Democratic Convention got off to a rocky start but a burningly intense Bernie Sanders did much to pull the party together as did a rousing speech from Senator Cory Booker [best moment so far, to me] and a brilliant address by former Secretary of State, Madeleine Albright and several 9/11 survivors.

As my brother dropped me at the airport today, we discussed how much but how little time was left between now and the elections.  I sighed and said:  we’ll see more mud slung in this time than we have seen in our lives.

Letter From New York via Minnesota… A reset…

July 22, 2016

It is early on a Friday evening in Bloomington, MN.  The heat index is somewhere around 103 degrees.  There is an excessive heat warning tonight and I am inside my brother’s lovely home, looking out at beautiful flowers and great green trees.

After my last posting, one of my readers, Bruce Thiesen, suggested I get to Minnesota and “reset.”  And I think I have. 

As I am sitting here I am watching the news regarding the terrible events that have happened in Munich.  A few days ago it would have driven me to despair.  Today, I grieve and yet I do not despair.

I feel refreshed and, suddenly, strangely, hopeful. 

Last night, The Donald, painted a picture of a dark America, an America, quite frankly, that is far darker than I see, even in my darkest moments.  We have a disturbingly large number of incidents of police acting irresponsibly and we have had a tragic reaction against police in Dallas and Baton Rouge.

And the reality is that crime is down in this country.  We are safer than we have been in a long time, despite the terrible moments we have seen lately.  And I, and you, need to remember that.

We have issues that need to be addressed.  The aggrieved who are flocking to Trump have legitimate complaints.  This complicated world has created issues we are just beginning to address.  And I hope that we do address them.

But at this moment I reject the dark world that Trump espoused last night.  As troubled as we are, it is better than he presents it. 

What troubles me is that he presents himself as the strongman savior which is new to American politics but not new to the historical reality of politics.  Let us remember Mussolini and Hitler. 

This is a new moment in American politics.  And it is concerning to me.  And yet I am not as disturbed as I was a few days ago. 

The German shooter may or may not have been Islamic or may or may not have been Rightist.  We are all waiting to find out exactly what happened there.

Whatever happened, I will say a prayer for all of them, the wounded and the dead.  I bow my head.  But I will not bow my head and submit to the terror that is being sold to us.

And as horrible as it has been it has not been as horrible as it has been.  We are a less violent country than we were despite the high profile incidents we have which are deplorable.

Sitting in my brother’s kitchen, I am, suddenly, thankfully, hopeful.  Thank you, Bruce, for asking me to “reset.”  I needed to…

Letter From The Train 07 18 2016 A Pandemic of Homicides…

July 18, 2016

The New Jersey countryside is slipping by, not very attractive here, just outside New York City, just before Newark, a maze of train tracks and freeway overpasses, industrial complexes and abandoned buildings.  This is the second of the four trains I will be taking today and tomorrow on my way to Minneapolis — actually St. Paul because that’s where the depot is.

Every year I go to Minneapolis to visit family and friends.  And this year I thought taking the train would make it more of an adventure and I routed myself through DC so that I might take the Capitol Limited, the train from DC to Chicago, which I have never taken beyond Martinsburg, WV.

Trains as a way of travel are good to give me time to think.  And I and we have much to think about. Yesterday’s New York Times Weekend Briefing had a link to an article advising us on how to cope with such a bad news week.  One suggestion was to curb your exposure to news and to spend time with family and friends.  “Listening is curative.”

And that was posted before I went to Church, where I lit candles for people and causes I care about and who need caring for and as I was lighting candles, one for peace, my pocket vibrated and I saw that three police men were dead in Baton Rouge, killed, we now know, by an ex-Marine who targeted them.  In my pew, I lowered my face and felt defeated.

In all the talk we have had, pro and con about police killing people, and now people killing police, we have not taken the time to accept that violence happens with appalling frequency and we need to take responsibility for it, each and every one of us. 

The US is not in the top ten most violent countries nor are we one of the ten most peaceful countries. Australia and Canada are in that category though.  We feel about as safe walking around in our neighborhoods as an average European  does.  That’s good…   However, says we are “in a pandemic of homicides,” as other kinds of crime seem to be “stifled.”

And what has gotten us all worked up is this pandemic of homicides, particularly ones that involve the police.  For the most part, we seem to respect our police.  But murder marches on. 

And I want to do something about it.  I want to do something more than light candles.  And I don’t know what that is.   

Many of us do feel anguish and impotence because we don’t know how to move our country into being a more peaceful place than it is.  And that is what we want for our country, to be a more peaceful place.  Governor Edwards of Louisiana said, “Emotions are raw. There’s a lot of hurting people.”

And there are.  I am hurting and I am nowhere near Baton Rouge or Dallas though will not be far from Falcon Heights when I arrive in Minnesota. This last week of violence has hit me hard and has hit everyone I know in some hard way.  My friends seem hurt and bewildered, not angry, confused not infuriated.

Mix all of this with the attempted coup in Turkey which failed and has resulted in a harsh crackdown by Erdogan on anyone he suspects, pour in the wounds from Nice, France, sprinkle with Brexit and add a dash of any personal suffering we are enduring, stir with the healthy mix of dismay we are having over our incredible political season and there is no wonder we are confused, bleak and anguished, feeling just a little more fragile than is our wont or want.

Perhaps there is some revelation that will come to me while I traverse half the country, back to Minnesota, where I was born.

Letter From New York 07 15 2016 As the Great Game goes on…

July 15, 2016

It is a warm, humid day as I trundle north on the train, back to Hudson.  The Hudson River is dotted with boats and the spray of jet skis.  A soft haze lays across the river, so it seems that what I see is in soft focus.

It’s not a bad day for soft focus.

I went into the city yesterday afternoon to have drinks with my friends Nick and David at Le Monde, a French Bistro near Columbia and then drifted from there to Cafe du Soleil, where I joined a party for Bastille Day put together by friends David and Bill.  We were festive and the mood was buoyant and I was home and asleep by the time news was coming out of France that a young Tunisian Frenchman had driven a lorry into a crowd celebrating Frances’ National Holiday, plowing on for 1.2 miles before he was killed and after he had killed at least 84 and wounded 202 others.

As I look out of the window of the train, sold out, standing room only, I see the verdant green hills which line the western bank of the river, the beginnings of the Catskills, bucolic, peaceful, welcoming.

The dead in Nice, a pleasant city in the south of France, to the east of Cannes, on the Rivera, home of the airport that serves that golden stretch of land, setting for glittery events and the place of lovely villas climbing the hills to look down on the Mediterranean, include ten children.  Fifty others from last night hang between life and death, as medical professionals do their best.

One woman talked for a long time to her dead child.  The living and unwounded began to swarm toward the beaches, away from the lorry, in case it was loaded with explosives.

On Wednesday, July 13, in Syria, 58 people died, mostly civilians of war related wounds.   Since the beginning of 2016 about 8,000 have died, since the beginning of the war over 440,000.  11.5% of Syria’s population has been killed or wounded.

On the same day in Iraq, 22 died by gunfire, bombs, rockets.

Looking out at the beautiful Hudson River, the Catskills on the other side, with gracious, magical homes occasionally dotting the landscape, it is easy to focus on the green moment and not the black news but today I cannot slip away, into the beauty.

It is all so senseless and all leaders seem to talk about the senselessness of it and do they find the senselessness of it enough of a unifying theme that they commit to actions that will stop it? 

One of the books I am reading is “The Good Years” by Walter Lord, describing the years between 1900 and 1914, when World War I began.  I am near the end of it, the war is beginning.  Devastation was released upon the European continent over the tragic death of an Archduke and his wife, which gave “permission” for the Austro Hungarian Empire and the German Empire to act to achieve political goals they had long wanted and ended up destroying themselves.

Men in power are always playing “the great game,” and as the game is played, the innocent die. 

The train is arriving in Hudson and I am winding down.  I will say my prayers tonight for all the people who died today because they are pawns in “the great game” and see if I can find a way to work effectively for change.

In the time since I’ve arrived home, run some errands and prepare to go into town for a comedy show,  the Turkish military, apparently fed up with Erdogan, is attempting a coup. Bridges across the Bosporus are closed, military aircraft are flying low over Istanbul and Ankara and gunshots have been reported.

“The Great Game” goes on.

Letter From New York 07 13 2016 Picture Perfect Summer Day

July 13, 2016

The leaves are being jostled by a light wind that tempers the warmth of the afternoon here at the cottage.  The creek is reflecting back the images of the trees overhanging its banks.  Occasionally, a trout will slide through the water.  The only noise is the distant sound of a small plane heading toward the little airport north of me.

I have been ensconced here for several hours now, earlier sipping tea and now a Diet Coke.  It is the perfect day for sitting on my deck, overlooking the creek, reading and thinking.  It reminds me of a childhood sweet summer day back in Minnesota, when I was young and the days seemed to last forever.  It is a day that is demanding very little from me and I am embracing the lack of demand.

The gentle wind and soft warmth cry out to be savored, embraced, enjoyed and I am opening my arms to them.IMG_1325

As I have sat here this morning, David Cameron has left 10 Downing Street, gone to Buckingham Palace, met the Queen and formerly resigned. Theresa May, who is promising a “bold, new” future for Britain, is the newest Prime Minister to serve Her Majesty, the thirteenth in a line that began with Winston Churchill.

Obama spoke in Dallas yesterday, yet again, after the tragic murders of human beings.  He was eloquent and spoke of hope in the darkness and yet I heard tiredness and pain in the clips I have heard.  He has had to do this so many times in his two terms; the most heartbreaking was after Newtown.

As I think of dark times, the sky has darkened over me, causing me to wonder if my part of the world will begin to weep?

A social media storm has broken out over former President George W. Bush’s behavior during a rendition of the “Battle Hymn of the Republic” at the Dallas Memorial yesterday.   Judge for yourself:

We all have different responses to grief…

I am getting older, as are all of us, and it seems to be weighing heavily on Japan’s Emperor.  Akihito is 82 and reports are saying he feels his health is getting in the way of his duty and that he might abdicate soon in favor of the 56 year old Crown Prince Naruhito.

China is saber rattling about the South China Sea after the International Court in The Hague ruled that China had violated the rights of the Philippines there with its harassment of sailors and fishermen.  China rejects the ruling.  Several countries, including Viet Nam, have territorial claims to the energy rich South China Sea, all of which are rebuffed by the Chinese.

In other cheery international news, Russia and NATO are bumping heads again after NATO announced it is moving 4,000 troops into the Baltic to form a bulwark against the Russians.  They form a security threat, says Russia, and both sides are getting more intractable, as the months go on since Russia reclaimed the Crimea.

Wouldn’t it be lovely if people said:  we have a problem here.  How can we solve it?  Days like today bring out my childhood naïveté.

Trump is looking at candidates to be his Vice Presidential nominee and having them meet with his family.  They include, Mike Pence, Governor of Indiana, Newt Gingrich, former Speaker of the House and Chris Christie, lame duck Governor of New Jersey.

Last night, three more men were shot, this time in Norfolk, Virginia.  Two are improving, one remains critical.  All were black.

A year ago, a white teenager named Zachary Hammond was killed by police bullets during a drug investigation.  His parents are wondering why no one ever took up the cry about his death.  I wonder too…

The Republican platform is devotedly anti-LGBTQ.  A few efforts to change that have been beaten back.  The GOP is going to be what the GOP has been the last few decades.

The day is swinging toward a close.  I have run a few errands, brought in the garbage cans and am looking forward to continuing this place magical day into the evening.

Letter From New York 07 11 2016 From seaside to creekside…

July 11, 2016

I have moved from seaside to creekside.  In front of me tonight is not Edgartown harbor but Claverack Creek, having returned home from Edgartown on Friday, just as Lionel and Pierre arrived to help me celebrate my return.

It has been nearly a week, perhaps more, since I have written.  The events out in the world beyond my safety zone of Edgartown and Claverack, have left me…

You know, I am out of words for the events we’ve had.  I don’t know what to say, not at all, not at all.

A black man dead in Baton Rouge, a black man dead in Falcon Heights, MN and five dead police officers in Dallas.  As I sat down to write, my phone chirped to let me know that two bailiffs in Berrien County, Michigan were dead, along with the gunman.  A deputy sheriff was in stable condition.

Eight Somali are dead from a suicide bomber.

My head and heart reel.

We all must realize we live in a time of madness or we live in ignorance of the world.  But then, perhaps, it has always been a time of madness.

The pudgy little dictator who rules North Korea who has devised some interesting ways of ridding himself of people he doesn’t like, is having a temper tantrum because the US is putting in a missile shield in South Korea. 

Now he is threatening that if it happens, he will reduce South Korea to a nuclear wasteland.  If he does that, I doubt the radiation will stop at the border and he will find his “kingdom” littered with corpses, too. 

Kim Jong Un is a bully with nuclear weapons and not much common sense.  This isn’t good. And he has closed the only communication channel he has had ßwith the US.

David Cameron is resigning on Wednesday and Theresa May will become the next Prime Minister of Great Britain as they and the rest of us cope with Brexit.  The opposition Labour Party is in chaos too and another woman may take over leadership of it.  Jeremy Corbyn is seen as having done too little to help the UK stay in the EU and Angela Eagle is seen as being the person who will succeed him, once he realizes he is a morte canard, which he hasn’t yet.

The evening sun is glittering on the creek and I find myself looking at it, the way I looked at Edgartown harbor, as a reminder that despite what we do, the world has its places of beauty that help us compensate for the madness around us.

The US is boosting troops in Iraq as the march goes on to retake Mosul from IS.  In  South Sudan we are evacuating our people because war has renewed there.

The Japanese have been through their own moratorium and the result is there may be changes to their constitution which will allow Japan to build up its military.  They are afraid of Chinese expansionism in the South China Sea, an area in which the Chinese feel like they are victims and not aggressors.

While all of this strum und drang is playing out on the world stage, out in outer space, a probe has arrived at Juno, a moon of Jupiter, one second late after a five year journey.  And that blows my mind.  It will explore Juno and Jupiter and may help us understand the beginnings of our solar system.

This wonder is happening while murder walks the land.  How bizarre…

And I am thinking of going online and pre-ordering a Cozmo, a little robot that promises to be to robotics as the Commodore 64 was to computing — a break through.  Cozmo promises to be a great robotic companion and you can program it from an app.

Yes, need to have one.  I don’t have a pet anymore and am not thinking of getting one and Cozmo may just be the answer to a companion in my house on the creek where I sit and enjoy while the world seems too mad for words.

Letter From New York 07 04 2016, via the Vineyard… A 4th that Disney would be proud of…

July 4, 2016

It is a picture perfect 4th of July in picture perfect Edgartown on Martha’s Vineyard.  Happy 4th, everyone!  I hope it is picture perfect wherever you are…

Yesterday, as I was shuttling back and forth from the bookstore, I kept thinking how carefully curated Edgartown is by the town fathers.

Joyce had a half price bookstand on the porch of the bookstore and they cited her for having that; it was too unseemly for the town.  It now rests in a corner in the bookstore.

It feels like they all went to the Walt Disney School for Civic Perfection.

Visually stunning, the little town of Edgartown, is a haven for preppies.  In town, we are awash in pastel and Lilly Pulitzer.  I had forgotten that salmon was the color of choice for WASPS.

Oak Bluffs is much more diverse than Edgartown, and each part of the island has its own feel. Edgartown is prep, all the way.  I think that Igor and Mischa, the two baristas at “Behind the Bookstore” are the two edgiest characters in town and loved by everyone. There is no doubt that “BTB” has the BEST coffee on the island.

There will be massive fireworks, I understand, though I am not sure I will be seeing much of them as I am closing the bookstore tonight, a role I frequently play.  Last night we closed at ten and I didn’t get back until 11:30 and didn’t unwind enough to sleep until one.  Ten percent of the day’s take was done in the last hour as folks wandered in after dinner to have books to read this beautiful 4th.

There is an interesting opinion piece in today’s NY Times about the Declaration of Independence being partly driven by a fear of Indians and slave revolts.  You can find it at:

It is fascinating, interesting, explanatory and gives me cause to think, which is good in an opinion piece, whether at the end you agree or not. 

The British, in attempting to quell the rebellion, were agitating both American Indians and slaves.

Yesterday, Jeffrey, Joyce and Joyce’s niece, Julie, and her husband, Mark, along with Joyce’s sister, Elyse, went clamming and came home with 219 of them, near a house record.  Before I leave for the store, there will be a feast of them and other things before Mark and Julie fly back to New York and I leave to deal with the madding crowds that will be roving Main Street after dinner.

And as we celebrate, I am also taking a minute to bow my head in memoriam for the 200 plus dead in the bombing of a marketplace in Baghdad as Ramadan nears its end.  And for those who were killed in Holey’s Cafe in Dhaka by six armed men, in turn killed by security forces.  At least several of the attackers came from elite families, without want and well-educated.  Their families are left without explanations and with tremendous guilt at their sons’ actions.

The Paris attacks, 9/11, the Madrid train attack and all other killings on Western soil are terrible and damning and yet I keep being reminded by things like the marketplace bombing in Baghdad that IS is mostly killing other Muslims.

Now, as I sit on the veranda, overlooking Edgartown Harbor, that world of violence is far away.  Boats motor or sail by with easy grace on still water, birds chirp, the sun shines, American flags wave in the light breeze.  It is a day the town fathers of Edgartown could not have choreographed better.  Uncle Walt would be proud…


Letter From New York, via the Vineyard 07 02 2016 Lest the past be forgotten…

July 3, 2016

It is not quite the magic hour but it is coming, soon.  Jeffrey has just returned from a sail on his boat, Jinji. 


We’re all gathered now on the veranda, looking out over the harbor.  I’m off to the side, writing, while on the other side of the veranda are gathered Jeffrey and Joyce, her niece Julie and her husband, Mark, and Jim, who keeps his boat at their dock.

Their Bernese Mountain Dogs, are alternatively resting and playing.  At the house next door, the owner has rented it to a large group of twenty somethings, who are having a lovely, loud time.

Here I am ensconced with my evening martini, looking over to Chappaquiddick, most famous, of course, for being the place that ended Teddy Kennedy’s hope for the White House and the life of Mary Jo Koepkne.  One of the more popular books this year has been a book about that tragedy, claiming there was a third passenger.  Sells like hot cakes.

When I arrived, the moorings in the harbor were mostly empty; now they are mostly filled.  The sun is bright and the town has been filled with the young and old, mostly well to do or very rich. Cathy, who works at the bookstore, could not come in this evening.  She also works for the Baroness de Rothschild, who could not live without her this evening.

Edgartown is the place where there is no end of pastel.  Salmon colored pants could not be more in style.  It is heaven for preppies.  If one remembers Lisa Birnbach’s “The Preppy Handbook,” you know what I mean.

Of course, while this particularly well ordered world moves on, while the happy voices from next door punctuate the later afternoon, the world keeps moving on its very sad course.

In Dhaka, Bangladesh, IS sent in people to an upscale bakery, taking hostages, twenty of whom died, thirteen of whom were rescued, spreading their terror to more places, not that Bangladesh has been unfree of troubles.  Several liberal writers have been hacked to death with machetes in the country in the last six months.

Elie Wiesel, holocaust survivor and Nobel laureate, died today at 87.  He was a “messenger to mankind.”  He would not, and for which we all should be grateful, let the past be passed. 

He said, and may it not be forgotten, “Memory has become a sacred duty of all people of goodwill.”  It especially resonates now as right wing movements rise in so many countries.  He saw horror and his articulation of that horror made him into a spokesperson many.  He took on President Clinton over what was happening in what had been Yugoslavia and Rwanda.

He was the voice against all genocide.

And now we have an Austria that has ordered a new election which will give the right wing another shot at power.  Here in America, we have to listen to the xenophobic sputtering of The Donald.

It is frightening.  Something like eight European countries have far right movements gaining ground.

It is because we are frightened, terrified of the sweeping changes moving around us, much of it coming from the witnessing of the refugee crisis out the Mideast.

And now I am going to sleep, relatively early for a Saturday night.  Tomorrow I will work late at the bookstore, closing every night this week and then I leave, headed home for a week and then to Minneapolis to see my family.

The world is in a wretched place but we still have friends and family that we hold to deeply.  In the end, no matter what, that is what will keep us going, wherever we are.

Letter From New York, via the Vineyard 06 30 2016 Acts worthy of Shakespeare…

July 1, 2016

It is a bucolic time of day on Martha’s Vineyard; the sun is beginning to set.  A sailboat has gone by, heading to the north.  Its sail is designed like a huge American flag while moving to the south is the Edgartown Water Taxi, ferrying people to their docks.  The light is a marvelous gold and the water is steel blue.  Jeffrey’s sailboat rides at anchor directly in front of me, looking stately.  The scene is peaceful, other worldly, of another dimension than the rest of the world.

The rest of the world is not peaceful.

Britain is in spasms.  Boris Johnson, former Mayor of London, a prime supporter of Brexit, poised and desiring to be the next Prime Minister, found himself outflanked by the man who was to have been his campaign manager, Michael Gove.  Long saying he was not aspiring to higher office, he released a statement hours before Boris was to make his speech announcing that he was seeking to be Prime Minister saying that he could not support the former Mayor of London and that he was running for the position himself.

As Boris’ father said, “Et tu, Brute?”  It was an act worthy of Shakespeare.  Boris then announced he was not seeking to be PM. 

A nasty race is ahead for the Tories with Boris gone and characters worthy of “House of Cards” rend against each other.

The Labour Party is also rent.  Their leader, Jeremy Corbyn, has been given a “no confidence” vote by his party and it seems every politician in Britain is urging him to depart but he clings to his position with a kind of astounding ferocity surprising in so absolutely colorless a man.

Turkey says that the bombers in the terrible attack at Istanbul’s International Airport were all from the former USSR and were directed by IS out of Raqqa in Syria, their erstwhile capital.  One of the victims was a father attempting to prevent his son from joining IS.

Tomorrow is July 1st.  A hundred years ago marked the beginning of the Battle of the Somme in WWI.  In the eighteen months it raged, there were a million casualties. Today Prince William, Prince Harry and Princess Kate were there to honor the dead, to let the world know they were not forgotten.  In the first day of fighting, nearly 60,000 were wounded and a third of those died.  During those awful eighteen months “the flower” of English youth died in one of the bloodiest, if not the bloodiest, battle in all of history.

The Taliban killed 33 Afghan police recruits today, a number that is dwarfed by that of the Battle of the Somme, but like the English, French, South Africans who died in France in 1916, those 33 had families, wives and children perhaps, lives that will never be found again.

Hopefully found again will be a commerative coin given by President Obama to the country’s oldest Park Ranger, 94 year old Betty Reid Soskin, who was attacked last night in her apartment by a young man who punched her and robbed her.  She wants the world to understand she is not a victim but a survivor.  94!

I am winding down now as the harbor slips into a soft silver lavender light.  Faraway, a dog barks, a soft breeze is blowing off the harbor.  I am far away from all the madness.  A week from tomorrow I leave to return to my cottage, itself a haven from the madness.