Letter from the Vineyard 08/31/2018 Evening comes earlier, every night…


It is Thursday early evening; my day in the bookstore is finished and I am at BTB, the restaurant behind the bookstore, [hence, BTB] and am sipping a tall, summery drink, a bespoke composition by Colin, master mixologist, listening to “island” music.  Steadily busy all day, the bookstore also hosted David Cleveland, who sat on the porch and signed copies of his newest novel, “Time’s Betrayal,” a book that concurs Tolstoy in length and breadth.

Wednesday was arguably the hottest day on the Vineyard so far; it scorched up to 90 degrees and that’s not usual for the Vineyard though the humidity was in check.

It was my sort of normal kind of Vineyard Wednesday – I didn’t work though I had thought that might be a possibility.  Waking early, I read the news for a good while, rolling my eyes more than once.

Some time was spent cleaning “The Best Most Exotic Marigold Hotel” of guest houses and then I settled into the most “white wine” of problems, planning my upcoming trip to Europe.  Not knowing exactly what I wanted to do, I ended up booking a flight to Copenhagen and then I will meander my way across Europe, floating on my whims.  To get to Berlin from Copenhagen, one must change trains in Hamburg.  Never been there, though I think that may have been where my paternal great-grandparents sailed from to come to America.  A night or two there?

Or not to Hamburg or Berlin.  Somewhere else?  A shot across Europe to Portugal, the most talked about European country this year?

My exit point is November 4th, when I will board the Queen Mary 2, having booked a balcony stateroom and will spend seven days sailing west to America – not unlike my great-grandparents, though I am sure their trip took longer.

All the rest is up in the air.

Today, I found that my long-time friends, Chuck and Lois, will be in Paris when I am in Europe, so I will stop there to see them and re-visit Paris.  Once before I left for Europe with no plans and ended up for weeks in Paris in one of the great passionate episodes of my life.  Ah, sweet youth…

Having just finished reading Nina George’s “The Little French Bistro,” I am planning on winding my way through Brittany, then a ferry crossing to Cornwall, time wandering there, a drink with a good acquaintance, and then across to London to see an old friend not seen in a decade, then to Southampton, the crossing, and home in time for my birthday.

Not that I really have a home anymore; home is where I am.  My “stuff” is in Baltimore and I am now, truly, a vagabond with Baltimore as my base with my friends, Lionel and Pierre.

After looking at European train schedules, I had my weekly conversation with my friends Medora and Meryl.  For gosh knows how many years, at least eighteen and probably more, we talk once a week, sharing our lives, our hopes, our frustrations and giving each other advice and support.  It is one of the most amazing gifts of my life and I’m not even quite sure how we started this but it’s here and we plan for it and miss it when it doesn’t happen because one of us is traveling.

Salute to you two! We had a marvelous conversation Wednesday morning which helped me feel I was engaged in life and that’s what always happens when we talk.

After speaking with them and a little more cleaning, I headed into town to watch “Crazy Rich Asians.”  Having read the book, I loved the movie and, terrible romantic I am, I cried at the end.

One wants love to succeed.

Twilight is falling here on the Vineyard; the sun is slipping into the west earlier every evening and I am going to curl up with a good book and read. I’ve joked that I am a monk this summer and the bookstore is my monastery.  In a way, it’s true and I think I like it.

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