Letter from a Vagabond 09 21 2019

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It is nearing the end of a scrumptious Vineyard day; warm, sunny without being too hot, a gentle breeze blowing, a kind of “Goldilocks” day, like those worlds out there we are discovering where live might be sustained.  A little over a week ago was the Great Harvest Moon, shining down on us the evening of Friday, September 13th, a day on which nothing bad happened in my world.

A little over two months ago was the last time I sat down and wrote a “letter,” time slipping away into the bookstore and being buffeted by life, not having words to describe feelings as they happened.  My friend Bill Epperson passed away unexpectedly as I was settling onto the island, followed by a series of sad events that are the fabric of any life and no easier when they come.

A friend who I had thought of as a good friend, has now been surrendered; I have been “ghosted” into non-existence. A good friend from California days wrestled with a diagnosis of and treatment for prostate cancer, which had ravaged his father before killing him.  There were a variety of cancer scares among good friends and relatives. Little Caleb, seven years old, the grandson of friend Debbie Dier, son of Eddie Dier, nephew of young Nick, died in a car crash one rainy night near Hudson.

I sent white roses.  His mother, Tia, not knowing who they were from, put one in his casket before it was closed.

Eddie, Caleb and I, often watched Hudson’s many parades together, sitting curbside by the Red Dot on Warren Street.  He was shy and warm, and it seems too cruel his smile has departed this earth.  His death hit me hard.

While I have laughed with customers and loved the bookstore, there has been a toughness to this time on island.  Sheila Manning, a good friend from Television Academy days, passed away, as did Rocci Chatfield, another wonderful figure from that time.  Rex Recka, a Discovery colleague, much younger than I, thought he had food poisoning and it was something else and he is gone.

In the background of summer days, laughing crowds, good talks about books and similar things, it has been a season of loss, fearing illness among those I love, of being supportive to faraway friends, realizing I am in that time of life.

Me?  I continue well, despite the above, working at the bookstore, finally getting a real chance to read the books I have collected this summer, write again, a little, spending time, like now, listening to jazz and ruminating on the world around me.

Every morning, I consume a ration of news, then snap off my devices and head for the shower, always astounded today is sillier than yesterday.  There is a certain detachment an island gives; I think I mentioned earlier this summer. I find it still true.

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