Letter From a Vagabond 12 29 2018 As the year ends…


It is a quiet afternoon; I have returned to Larry and Alicia’s guest house on the Keene Farm and am settling in for a few days, ensconcing myself in my favorite spot, the small round table that looks out over the pond and west to the Catskills.

It is deeply quiet here, the only sound – well, there isn’t any, just the thwacking of my keyboard.

Christmas was in Boston with Kevin Malone, his wife, Michelle Melton, his mother and dad, Sarah and Jim, family of choice. He and his wife treated us Thursday evening to a custom meal made by Samara, a Boston chef, known for her Middle Eastern dishes and it was a feast for the ages.

For the last twelve or thirteen or fourteen years, my Christmases have been spent with some combination of the McCormick clan, with whom I grew up in Minneapolis and, as I sat in the chair I claimed as “my spot,” I thought about the wondrous thing that is long term friendship.  I have been with them and they with me, in both good times and in bad. I can only hope my support has meant as much to them as it has to me.

Yesterday, I drove through a chill drizzle and when I reached the Keene Farm, there was a sense of joy, grateful for the open, welcoming arms of Alicia and Larry, allowing me to rest here now and again between my bouts of vagabonding.

I considered it a good sign from the universe when my favorite reading glasses were returned to me, after I had left them in a restaurant six weeks ago.  I had surrendered them as lost and when I stopped today at Wunderbar, for a bowl of soup, they had them for me.

The year is ending not with a whimper, on any front.  The market roils, the President tweets, an incoming Democratic Congress seems ready to use its subpoena power, the robots are coming to take us away and, and and and!!!!!

Lions and tigers and bears, oh my!

In the meantime, there is little I can do about the very mixed up, awful global scene other than to donate a little money to a few causes that can maybe help move the needle on the chaos a bit more back to “normal.”

I am figuring out what it is I am going to do on New Year’s Eve.

It might just be a night by the fire and a good book, which sounds pretty awesome to me.  Kevin introduced me to Brattle’s Book Store in Boston, a used book store with a wonderful rare books section on the third floor.  Between my purchases at Edgartown Books and Brattle’s, come New Year’s Eve, if I am home by the fire, there are a plethora of reading choices.

One of my bases is Baltimore and there are about forty boxes of books there looking for shelves and I need to get down there and find bookcases in which to put them.

Kindles are wonderful devices, especially for a plane, and yet there is nothing like the feel of turning a page, a smudge of ink on your fingers, the comfort of a folded over page, marking your spot in the reading adventure.

There was something wonderful about being at Edgartown Books, helping people find their next read or the book they’re going to give their dad or uncle or mother or…

One of my New Year’s resolutions is to keep reading.  I found a signed copy of “Leonardo da Vinci” by Walter Isaacson at Brattles.  Literary gold.

In reading we can learn from the past so as not to repeat its mistakes. So please keep reading; it does seem a lot of mistakes are being repeated.


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