Archive for July, 2019

Letter from a Vagabond 07 18 2019 We all have such days…

July 18, 2019



A morning squirrel outside my door…

We all have them, I think, mornings when we wake up and go, uh oh, something’s not quite right.  I had one yesterday morning, not feeling quite right when I got up to go to breakfast with Comrade Vlad.

We met at the Edgartown Diner, where both of us are known, had a convivial breakfast and went our separate ways, he to The Paper Store, me to the bookstore.  I had a conference call about a non-island project of mine and went up to the office and did it there.

It was the kind of day where nothing seemed to quite fit the way I wanted it to.  Nothing was really wrong, but everything irritated me.  After picking up my shirts at the laundry, I went next door for a haircut, getting in just before the rain fell and people decided it was a good opportunity to do indoor kinds of things, like haircuts.  In other words, I was lucky and didn’t have to wait.

For twenty, thirty minutes, I sat, staring at myself in the mirror while my hair was cut.  And I wasn’t happy.  Who was this old man I was looking at?  And that set off a whole round of not happy thoughts as I drove back down toward Edgartown. I have to have cataract surgery on my left eye when I get back to the Hudson Valley, I gained two pounds, I am almost always the oldest person in the room when I used to be the youngest.  My freshly cut hair is thinning. My muscles ache more now when I do things.  Etc. Etc. Etc. Yadda, yadda, yadda…

Before entering Oak Bluffs, as I was going the long and prettier way, I stopped at the used bookstore on the road between Vineyard Haven and Oak Bluffs and introduced myself to the proprietor, while buying a book on coffee for a friend.

There was a small scheduling kerfuffle at the bookstore, not major but as I was feeling old, ugly, cranky and in bad humor, I did my best to handle it simply, without doing too much because I was afraid I would overreact when overreaction was not called for, just laying low.

Work needed to be done on a couple of other projects and I just wasn’t in the mood but did it anyway.  I texted Joyce I was feeling cranky and old and she told me to take a nap, which I did.

Sleep is medicine, as my friend, Larry, always says and it was.  After a short nap, drifting off to Nat King Cole singing softly in the background, I woke in a much better mood.  I played a game of solitaire, read some news and then stopped as what I was reading was about to cause crankiness to sneak back.

I ran one more errand, came home and continued my current read, “The Parisian Seamstress.” I am a lucky man, and while the hair is thinning and the muscles might ache a little more and, while I am undeniably older, I am a pretty good older, I think.

Letter From a Vagabond 07 07 2019 How lucky am I?

July 8, 2019


It is a grey, overcast day on the Vineyard, cooler than yesterday, early on a Sunday morning, jazz playing as I slowly wake, rubbing sleep from my eyes, a second cup of tea to accompany the morning.

This past Wednesday, I crossed over to Hyannis, spending the afternoon with my friend Nick Stuart. Last year, I was Best Man in his wedding to Lisa Cataldo; it remains one of the brightest moments in my life.

After spending a wonderful afternoon with him – a great lunch, a visit to the JFK Museum in Hyannis, a beer before I left, I returned to the Vineyard, to my little cottage.

A wise friend, Linda, wished me a good 4th, if we could all just ignore the farce which is Washington, DC.  How true.

Wherever you are on the political spectrum, what is going on right now is just too much.  Trump and the Republican party are, to my mind, a farce and a disgrace to traditional Republicanism, the kind I knew when I was growing up.

The Democrats are in disarray and farcical.  There were Democratic debates last week.  I didn’t watch.  Really, twenty plus candidates?

One of the things I noticed in visiting the Kennedy Museum was that, in JFK’s day, which means when I was young, there was a season for politics.  There was the nomination process, there was the convention, there was the campaign. It did not consume the body politic for years on end. Now, it’s presidential politics forever.  It is not good, in my humble opinion, and the body politic is not asking for it.

It reminds me of books I have read about Roman politics and that doesn’t make me feel good.

In the meantime, it is now a Sunday morning, with my warm tea, jazz playing.  In not too long, I will be at the bookstore, helping the slowly waking island residents and visitors find summer reads.

I am finishing “Lost Roses,” historical fiction of World War I and the Russian Revolution and the years after.  On Wednesday, we are doing a signing with Martha Hall Kelly, the author of this prequel to her best-selling “Lilac Girls” at the Edgartown Library. It seems wise to have read her book before the signing, and it is a good read.

It is a mellow morning, this lovely greyish Sunday morning, warm but not hot, a bit of fog still lingering from the night before when it huddled down on the island as I was leaving the bookstore about seven last night.

At the little cottage, I did my own huddling, a martini with “Lost Roses,” a little cheese and meat for dinner, eventually falling asleep, in bed, with my book, a nice end to a not bad day.  How lucky am I?