Posts Tagged ‘Larry Divney’

Letter From Claverack 11 27 2018 Thanksgiving thoughts…

November 27, 2017

 

            This year I took on the responsibility for preparing Thanksgiving dinner, to be served at the home of my friends, Larry and Alicia, with six other guests.  After cooking for two days, I loaded all the food into the Prius and followed the most level roads from my house to Alicia’s and Larry’s home.  My menu, which I printed, is below:

Thanksgiving Dinner

November 23, 2017

Hors D’oeuvres

With cocktails, champagne and wine

Selection of cheeses & crackers

Pate

Radishes with butter and kosher salt

Soup

Pumpkin Soup a la Jacques Pepin

Main Course

Turkey

Rubbed in spices

Dressings

Brown bread dressing

Rice and Mushroom Dressing

Traditional Bread Dressing

Potatoes

Sweet Potatoes

Roasted Sweet Potatoes

Mashed White Potatoes

Smashed Russet Potatoes with skins

Vegetables

Honey Glazed Carrots

Haricot Vert with sage butter sauce

Freshly baked multigrain bread

Salad

Desserts

Digestifs

With musical merry making in the parlor

Led by

Lionel J White

            As I was very carefully driving, with pots, pans and containers rattling in the back of my car, I was listening to NEPR, New England Public Radio, and they switched to a story of a town just outside of Damascus, under siege by Assad’s forces for two years.  Children were eating garbage and there wasn’t even much of that.

So, I drove to my friends’ home, thinking of the bounty in my car and the stark contrast there was to the scene being described in Syria.  It is days later and I am still processing that story and the contrasts in the world and, as my friend, Medora, said this morning, you probably will be until you die.

We live in a world of contrasts and contradictions.

Yesterday, as I usually do on the Sunday of Thanksgiving weekend, I set up my Christmas tree, while listening to Christmas Carols ordered up from my Amazon Echo.  Alexa, play holiday music!

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It is a world of wonder and a world of hard contrasts, of political acrimony and discord and it is just less than a month to Christmas and I am heading into this most wonderful of seasons [for me], determined to enjoy the bounty I have been given and to seriously think of how I can address the inequities that exist in my world, knowing I will be confounded by them until I die.

 

Letter From Claverack 08 06 2017 Thoughts from Sunday…

August 8, 2017

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It is a quiet night; the creek is crystal clear and a squirrel has just paraded down the deck, padding along, obviously unafraid of me.

This morning I did coffee hour at church, bringing, as I frequently do, too much food though everyone was appreciative and there should be almost enough for coffee hour next week, when I am in Minneapolis.

Returning home, I put the extra food I had in the refrigerator and then returned to have a late lunch with my friends, Larry and Alicia.  Arriving early, I wrote a poem while waiting.

 

Sun and shadow dapple road,

curving toward town where

friends await.

 

A different life now,

slow, time for noticing

the dappled road;

 

for clasping close

all kind of friends.

To stretch my brain a bit, I am working to write a poem a day.  Most days I do, not always, but most days.

Looking up, there is a canopy of green above me and nature is humming around me.  It’s amazing that in the peace of my deck there is so much noise.  Insects and birds, soft sound of water, far off the sound of trucks now and again, traversing the highway almost half a mile away.

It’s been a day when I have not listened to news or read anything until just a bit ago.  There is, you know, only so much one can take.

It is interesting that Vice President Pence is going to great lengths to deny he is making “campaign style” visits to places.  Governor Kasich is, I think.  However, it is not possible to deny that even at this early stage Republicans are beginning to look to take the place of The Donald on the stage he now holds.

The Donald is in New Jersey at one of his golf clubs in a retreat from the White House will three million dollars plus in renovations are being made.  It was just last week that President Trump is reputed to have said the place was “a dump.”

Really, I hope not too much gold is being added.

Venezuela is tottering toward dictatorship and economic collapse which will not be good for gas prices, I keep reading.

Tuesday, I am heading to Minnesota where, to my dismay, a mosque was bombed in Bloomington, the suburb in which my brother lives.  That was not “Minnesota nice.”

The world is a very strange place.  I mean really, really, strange and, you know, this has gone on forever but it just seems like somehow we should have moved beyond  so many of these things and, hopefully, we will in generations to come.

It is there I must place hope.

In this time of my life, I am being as active as I can and, at the same time, treasuring more than I ever have the wonders of my life:  an interesting life now and in my past, a creek that flows quietly by a home I think I imagined once and made reality, good friends, good dinners, times of good conversation, some travel for good reasons, a sense I have been luckier than most in keeping alive friendships from my past and carrying than into my present.

There is a tree along the creek that is always the first harbinger of fall and it is beginning to tell me fall is coming.

I’m not ready for it.  Though I will accept it as one must.

 

Letter From Claverack 01 15 2017 Bemused but not amused…

January 15, 2017

It is early evening in Claverack; the lights have been turned on over the creek and I have asked Alexa to play the “Pop Classical” station so music is filling the cottage.  It is an idyllic night after a very nice day.

Waking before the alarm this morning, I cleared my email inboxes, showered and gathered things together for the food pantry at the church.  Post church, I went to the Red Dot and then to Ca’Mea to meet Larry and Alicia and it was a pleasant country afternoon.

Against the backdrop of the pleasant country afternoon is a tension about the political scene.

One of my neighbors, who, when he met me was a bit uncomfortable with me and who has become a very good friend, asked me why the LGBTQ community was concerned about Trump.  He voted for neither Hillary or The Donald, loathing them equally.

My response was that it wasn’t so much Trump’s views on gays but the views of the people who are around him.  Mike Pence, Governor of Indiana until Friday, then Vice President of the United States, worked to enact strident laws that jeopardized the rights of gays in his state.  Jeff Sessions, who is by all accounts is a gentleman of the first order in social situations, is homophobic, anti-immigration and anti some other important things.

My friend had no idea. And was concerned when he heard this.

Representative John Lewis of Georgia, a legendary figure in the Civil Rights movement, is not attending Trump’s inauguration because he does not feel Trump in a legitimate President.  I find that unfortunate and counterproductive.

And I find unfortunate and counterproductive Donald Trump’s Twitter storm against Representative Lewis, demeaning his part in the Civil Rights movement.  The man nearly lost his life on the bridge into Selma.  To denigrate him as Trump has is unfortunate and not in keeping with someone who is about to enter the highest office in the land.

Stephen Colbert discussed “truthiness.”  Donald Trump exercised a bit of it in his depiction of Representative Lewis’ district as crime ridden.  In fact, he represents one of the most affluent areas of Atlanta.

There is a good part of me that is sitting back and watching what is happening unfold with a sense of wonder, a sense of OMG is this real?  And it is…

Every time I turn around, I am astounded by our President Elect.

His son-in-law, Jared Kushner, is going to be a Senior Advisor.  Is there not something somewhere about nepotism?  Ivanka may be the de facto First Lady as Melania seems to be content to remain in Trump Tower.

Who is this person?

Andy Borowitz, comedian and raconteur, described him as the “Kremlin Employee of the Month.”

The awful thing is that he MIGHT be.

The VERY unsubstantiated report about his actions with the Russians are, at one time, very amusing and incredibly disconcerting.  It has spawned a cottage industry in defining “golden showers.”

Right now, I am sitting back and watching it unfold.  Called me bemused, call me amused, call me frightened, call me whatever you like and I think we need to go back into the early 19th century to find anything similar.

Oh, wow!

And I will continue to watch with a carefully bemused eye that is also carefully turned on to what the new President might do as he needs, more than most Presidents, to be held accountable.

Please help with that.  Please.

 

 

Letter From Claverack 11 25 2016 Thankfulness after Thanksgiving…

November 25, 2016

Outside the window, it is grey, darkish and chill.  Judy Collins is playing on my Echo [Alexa!  Play Judy Collins!  And she does.]. It is the day after Thanksgiving, the kind of day to curl up with a good book, a blanket and a fire, which I will do after finishing this missive.

My friend, Sarah, sent me something she had received from one of her dearest friends, who now lives in a Buddhist monastery.  “May you enjoy a peaceful day of gratitude for everything that is good and right in the world.”

A great thought for the day after Thanksgiving.  There is, after all, much that is not right in the world.

The list of things wrong in this world is endless.

And so, too, is the list of all the things right in the world.  When I wake in the morning, I do my best to take a moment to be grateful that I have awakened, that I live, that I am surrounded these days by the soft winter beauty that is my little patch of earth.

Yesterday, Lionel, Pierre, their dog, Marcel, and I wandered up the road to Larry and Alicia’s home, with a view down to the Hudson River.  We ate, drank, were merry, and grateful and then gathered around the baby grand piano and Lionel “bashed” out tunes to which all but me sang along.  I cannot carry a tune; sitting instead on the sofa, I listened with joy.

We stayed last night at the Keene Farm, Larry and Alicia’s guest house, a wonderful, smaller house than their home at Mill Brook Farm, which is the main residence. That is a house with its foundations in the Dutch settlers in the 1600’s, added onto in the 18th Century, restored in the 20th, added onto again in the 21st.  As we left there today, I was thinking I have what I have and I am happy with what I have, content in this third act time.

One of the things I have in this world are wonderful friends.

On Holidays, I have a tradition of texting everyone I have texted in the last year with a “Happy Thanksgiving” or a “Merry Christmas” or “Happy New Year.”  Yesterday, my friend Jeffrey texted back he was grateful I was in his life and tears sprung to my eyes.  We’ve known each other a long time; been a constant in each other’s lives.  It felt so good to know.

Kevin, my nephew, texted me that he loved me as did my godson.  Smiles played on my lips.  Two such wonderful men; so lucky to have them in my life.

After last night’s feast, we brunched today at the Keene Farm; Lionel and I cooked while Pierre walked, Marcel sniffing around, enjoying the wonders of a new place.

The world is scary.  Terrible things are happening and I know that.  I am sourly aware that a bomb exploded yesterday in Baghdad, killing Iranian pilgrims.  In Iran, a train derailment took 43 lives.  Refugees are pawns in the political war of wills between the EU and Turkey.

And outside my window, the Claverack Creek slowly makes it way to the pond at the edge of Jim Ivory’s land, full this year of geese, after their absence for nearly five years. It feels a little order has returned to the universe.

Yesterday, a bald eagle swooped up the creek and took momentary residence on a tree limb across from my window.  Then he spread his wings wide and soared up creek, to the north, seeking I know not what.

The bald eagle, symbol of the American Republic, a troubled Republic we all know, yet I quote my great friend Jan Hummel:  we will survive this.  We survived Warren G. Harding, after all, and Grover Cleveland, who was a scoundrel of the worst sort.

Google it…

Dried, dead leaves scatter my deck, an Adirondack chair sits looking lonely over the creek, the dull grey of the skies has continued now for two days.  Now I am listening to Joan Baez, thinking back, gratefully, to those days in my youth when I first heard Judy Collins and Joan Baez.

We are all tender right now.  Being grateful for the good things in our lives will help us heal, I think.

 

 

 

Letter From Claverack 10 16 2016 From a place of tranquility…

October 16, 2016

It is a beautiful afternoon in October in Claverack.  The leaves that fill my vision as I sit here on the deck are golden and some fallen ones float regally down the creek toward the pond.

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It was a day when I had an enormously difficult time waking up; every time the alarm went off, I hit the snooze button.  Finally, I staggered out of bed and into the day.  Slightly ambivalent about going to church, I reminded myself of the bag of groceries I had purchased for the Food Pantry at the Church and so I made my way there, a little late but still there.

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From church, I made my way to the Dot for Eggs Benedict on potato latkes.  And then home to wait for my friend Larry to arrive, bringing me some wood from his farm for my winter woodstove fires.

He and I sat on the deck after it was stacked, and admired the beauty of the place, enjoying the moment while listening to jazz.  He has now left and I am here, at the end of the afternoon, still listening to jazz and enjoying the beauty of the spot, the moment, and basking in the long friendship Larry and I have enjoyed, stretching back now more than thirty years.

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It is always easy here to slip into an avoidance of the world.  This is a place of tranquility.

Beyond here – and sometimes I do not want to move beyond here – the world is a mess.

Aleppo is being pulverized and no one seems to know how to stop it.  Assad and Putin seem to have no respect or care for the citizens trapped there.  It is a strategic notch they need in their belts and so the dying continues.  Reports indicate Aleppo looks like Berlin in 1945, a decimated city.

Donald Trump has once more been skewered on Saturday Night Live, not that Hillary got off easily.  He has denounced the performance in his famous tweets.

He has increasingly been declaring that the election process is rigged.  Some observers think that if he loses he is doing his best to delegitimize a Clinton Presidency.

It is rumored that the CIA is preparing a major cyberattack against Russia for its alleged attacks on American institutions, including the Democratic Party.  This is a new kind of warfare.

And in thinking of a new world, a friend told me that every year from now on, 3% of jobs will be lost to robots.  I think I’m glad I am at the place in life I am.  It will be interesting to see how all of this shakes out.

Soon, I will let you know how my experience with Cozmo goes.  It should arrive this week.

It is supposed to learn from me how to react to me.  A robot pet of sorts, I guess, and I couldn’t resist experimenting with it.

Cozmo is my birthday present to myself.

 

 

 

Letter from Claverack 09 05 2016 On a Labor Day…

September 6, 2016

It is evening.  The floodlights illuminate the creek and we are losing daylight at the rate of about two minutes a day.  A month ago it would not have been this dark.  It is Labor Day, the unofficial official end of summer.  We start with Memorial Day and we end with Labor Day.  And Labor Day is ending as I sit here tapping out words on my laptop.

Tomorrow I start teaching and I have now pushed past my anxiety and am looking forward to the moment when I walk into class.  Oh, okay, ask me in the morning.  I am sure I will have anxiety in the morning but I will do it.  I’ve agreed to do it so therefore I must do it.

I have spent most of my time this weekend at home, secluded in the cottage, enjoying my home and being alone, having a good time with myself.  Yesterday, though, I went out to Larry Divney’s guest house, located a couple of miles from his own home.  There was a great and grand barbeque which included gluten free things, as that is what I am working to do.  Larry knows and so he took care of it, as is the way with Larry.

During this weekend, I have not paid particular attention to the world.  What is going on right now is redundant.  Syria continues to be a catastrophe.  Trump and Hillary continue their march across the nation, each besmirched by their own failings.  I will vote for Hillary because the idea of a Trump Presidency sends me to thoughts of expatriate life.  While flawed, deeply flawed, she is at least sane and not bombastic.  Could neither party come up with less flawed candidates?  Apparently not, because this is what we are dealing with…

We are also dealing with the first real beginnings of climate change.  Towns like Norfolk, VA are experiencing flooding that threatens them.  They are not the only ones.  It has, I am afraid, begun.

The Governor of Texas vetoed a bill to give assistance to the mentally ill based, at least in part, on a group of Scientologists who told him mental illness was a falsehood.  Texas gets the Stupid Award of the week.  Mental illness is not false; it does exist.  It is a plague upon the land and can we not find a place to help these poor souls?  Not in Texas.

The night has descended.  I alleviate it with my floodlights but it is here.  The fall is arriving.  And while I look forward to the fall and winter with Thanksgiving and Christmas, I will miss this soft summer and its delights.

 

 

 

 

Letter From New York 05 01 2016 From Church to Bin Laden…

May 2, 2016

Five years ago Osama Bin Laden, a rich kid who definitely went bad, was killed in his hiding place in Pakistan, apparently with a stash of video porn.  Born privileged, he rejected privilege and embraced fundamental Islam and wreaked havoc on the world, partly supported by his personal wealth as a scion of a family that had made a huge fortune in construction in the great oil years in Saudi Arabia.  It was said he only wore a shirt once and then discarded it.

Fast forward and Al Qaeda is in decline while its successor, IS, is on the rise.  Or is it?   Its territory has shrunk this year and there is a full on assault about to happen on Mosul, one of the chief cities it has conquered.

However, they are not a country per se and attack places like Brussels and Paris as terrifying terrorists.  The world is a crazy place, isn’t it?  Full of anger, full of hate, full of vitriol and absolutism.  I certainly hope we survive this as well as we survived the vitriol and absolutism of Nazism.  That thought gives me hope.

On Tuesday, Indiana votes.  It looks like it is going to be another Trump victory.  Some polls have hime with a 15% lead. Others have him with a smaller lead but in all polls he has a lead.  It may be a “make it or break it moment” for Ted Cruz.

And as so much of the 2016 campaign has been, this is a fraught moment.  Cruz fights for his political life and Trump sails on, turning every disadvantage into an advantage.  It has been mind boggling to watch and frightening to contemplate. 

This is where we are in politics.  And it is Ted Cruz who helped set the stage for the current scene.

Last night was the White House Correspondents Dinner and while I didn’t watch it in real time, the video clips have been good and demonstrated that Obama has a ready wit [I am sure helped by good writers].  People I know found it great fun and I will look at clips tonight, once I have finished this missive.

The days are growing longer.  It is nearly eight and there is still light and I am looking at the creek in twilight but not darkness.  I love this time of year as the world moves towards the longest day of the year. 

It is a moment of happiness.

It has been a sweet day.  There was a good dinner party last night.  My guests were Larry and Alicia.  A while ago had been his birthday and last night we celebrated it.  Today Larry and Alicia invited me to join them at Ca’Mea for lunch after church, which I did and which was great fun.

I am sitting at my dining room table and am looking out over the creek and am so grateful for this place and this time.

May you be happy in your place and time.

Letter From New York 02 17 2016 A dose of our better angels…

February 18, 2016

Since being in the hospital, I have developed a taste for tea.  No coffee has passed my lips since my release from the hospital.  My fellow patient, Anthony, called what they served “jail coffee” and I think he spoke from experience.  It certainly tasted like the only place they would serve it was somewhere where you were for punishment.

I get up in the morning, brew a cup of tea and crawl back into bed to sip it and read the NY Times on my phone.  Very civilized, I think. 

Today, I taught.  Larry Divney, an old, old friend who was my boss for about forty- five minutes at A&E, gave a guest lecture today.  Almost as soon as I began reporting to him, he left for the Comedy Channel which then merged with Ha! and became Comedy Central.  The rest is history.  He became Comedy Central’s President and then retired.  That lasted four months.  The he “un-retired” and became President of Ad Sales for all of MTV Networks and after a few years of that, he actually did retire.

We reconnected when our mutual friend, Chuck Bachrach, told each of us one day we must be close to each other because, I mean, how big was Columbia County and we were both there?  That day, we ran into each other at Walmart and have celebrated most Thanksgivings and some Christmases together.

He spoke today about his career and how he dealt with people, with honesty and integrity, which he always has and he inspired some of the people in my class.  It was great to watch him do the Divney magic with my class.

Honesty and integrity – so important, no matter what you’re doing and occasionally not always in the forefront of people’s minds and actions.  They always were for Larry and I like to think for me, too, when I marched through the world of business.

This morning in something I read there was an exegesis of Hillary’s relationship with Kissinger which she has been touting recently.  It has made me think less of her.  Kissinger was/is a bad apple.  He didn’t, as far as I can tell, play honestly or with integrity.  He was an opportunist of the worst sort.

Once, in New Delhi, I was in a restaurant, Bukhara, then considered the best restaurant in the city.  Might still be.  He was there with Nancy, close enough I could almost touch him.  We were all laughing and enjoying ourselves but there was a heaviness to his part of the room.  It was darker than where we were.  I still remember thinking about that, even now, all these years later.

He is not a good man.  And Hillary hurts herself with her association of herself with him.  He has the blood of many from the Vietnam War era on his hands.  He could have forestalled their deaths but I don’t think that mattered to him.  It was all politics. 

My friend, Greg Harrigan, was one of those who died in Vietnam who might not have had to if Kissinger had not fiddled with the peace process.

Am I bitter about what I know about the past?  Yes, a little…

Things did not have to be the way they were if men like Kissinger and Nixon had been men of integrity and honesty. 

My friend, Bruce Braun, messaged me on Facebook; all politicians have been cut from the same cloth, all the way back to the Romans.  I responded:  further back.  There were Egyptian politicians, Babylonian ones.  All of them about what was “necessary.” And “necessary” did not always mean what was honest but what was expedient for those who held power.

I’m getting old now and there will be a moment when I pass away and I will think:  I made it through.  My god, but I made it through this interesting thing called life.

However, I am still here and will be for awhile longer and since I haven’t quite made it through yet, I will still write and think and postulate about life and the future.

Today, in the Times, there was a report about the fact that while it is all quite wretched out there what with IS and Syria and Iraq and everything else, it is still so much better than it has been.  We are rising from the darkness more than we have ever been despite the horrors of the world.  Fewer people are in abject poverty.  Technology is empowering us.  We have not had the nuclear destruction of the world we feared during the Cold War.

Our better angels seem to be speaking, despite all the horrors that surround us…

Letter From Columbia County 09 08 15 A day for me…

September 8, 2015

It has been a hot and humid day in Columbia County. Waking early, I went out onto the deck to read the Times and drink my coffee before the heat of the day descended upon me.

The Pope is loosening the parameters for an annulment in the church and there was much in the paper about the refugee crisis in Europe. The markets were trending upwards before the open and succeeded in closing up.

Today was all about me. After playing host to my brother and family I felt like I needed a day to myself. After reading the paper, I went to town to collect a week’s worth of mail and to do some shopping for staples.

It is apparent we are in an election season in Columbia County. Everywhere there are signs for candidates. They have increased exponentially since I went to New York City to spend time with my brother. Lawns are littered with them.

Bill Hallenbeck, a Republican and the incumbent Mayor of Hudson, is running for reelection against Democrat Tiffany Martin Hamilton. He probably will win; the town is still deeply Republican though the drift has been slowly toward the Democrats.

I’ve never met Hallenbeck though have always thought, based on what I have read in the papers, that he seems a bit out of his depth as Mayor. Still, he has served two terms…

My friend Larry and I met for lunch at Ca’Mea and then I went with him to collect things he had bought for the new loft above the renovated barn on his property.

While we were there, eating at the bar, surrounded by folks, there was animated conversation about the refugee crisis in Europe and, of course, about The Donald. The fellows to Larry’s right were astonished that Trump is the Republican frontrunner.

As am I…

The refugee crisis is astonishing. The situation is desperate. And there is no unified response even now from the EU. They are making it up as they go.

For a moment today, I thought I should go and volunteer to help out on the island of Kos or in Hungary but I don’t think there is a mechanism for such offers for help.

The day is fading. I am on my deck, a soft wind blowing from the west, cooling me a little. Across the creek, I realize the first leaves are changing. Yellow mixes with green and I grieve for what is going and am open to what is coming.

The seasons are beginning to turn.

As they turn all over the world, the refugees in Hungary are enduring cold nights now while my air conditioning keeps me comfortable.

It will be awhile before the leaves all turn and there will be more nights when I will be able to sit at my circular picnic table, viewing the creek and enjoying the moments.

Then will come real fall and after fall will come winter and then spring and then summer and I will be observing it all from my deck.

Letter From New York 07 19 15 A weekend in Claverack…

July 19, 2015

It has been a grey weekend with very little rain but constant threats of thunderstorms. As I exited the car tonight there were the rolling sounds of thunder and my phone has alerted me there is a tornado watch in effect.

My friends Lionel and Pierre arrived on Friday night for their monthly visit. We met at the Red Dot, a group of us, Lionel, Pierre and me, as well as another three from Christ Church Episcopal. We had a great evening and then came home, Lionel and I having our traditional “cleansing vodka” while catching up with each other’s lives.

Saturday was a particularly difficult day. Lionel awakened to two texts. One of them informed him that our mutual friend, Nick Wright, had been diagnosed at the age of thirty something with an aggressive lung cancer and had been transferred to Sloan Kettering for treatment. The other message was that the man who was largely responsible for Lionel and Pierre meeting had committed suicide the night before at the age of 35.

Devastating news from every corner.

On Saturday, my friends Mary Ann Zimmer and her partner, Mitch, arrived and Lionel, Pierre and I gathered again with them at the Dot with Bill and David and their friend Laurel, having a lunch rendezvous as they were returning to New York. There was an afternoon nap, some reading of a mystery novel, an appearance at a fundraising event for the Hudson Library and then dinner at Lionel and Pierre’s. Mary Ann and I stayed up until two, catching up.

There was a long morning drinking coffee on the deck, reading the NY Times, followed by a lunch with Larry Divney. Mary Ann, Larry and I all worked at A&E Networks in the 1980’s. There were reminiscences about our time there and the people we had worked with, known and, in many cases, loved in our own special way.  The three of us formed a bound there that has lasted through the years.

Six months after I purchased the cottage, a mutual friend told me I couldn’t be far from Larry and his wife, Alicia. I was in Columbia County and they were in Columbia County and Columbia County is only so large. I got their local number, left a message and went to Walmart for a shop.

He and Alicia were there, stunned to find me. With my now ex-partner, we went back to their house and sipped champagne and it was the beginning of an enhanced friendship. Since then we have celebrated Thanksgivings together and Christmases and Sunday afternoon lunches, parties and long talks.

It has been one of the most satisfying parts of my life here at the Cottage, to know these two people and have them as friends. Last year we were together for Thanksgiving and Christmas. Thanksgiving was at their house and Christmas was at mine.

I am very lucky. My friendships are deep and rich. I live in a very special little corner of the world. I look out the windows from the desk at which I am writing and there is a panorama of green. I am doing my best to soak in every moment and aspect of my world here.

Soon, I suspect, I will leave the city of New York and become a full time resident of Claverack, to watch the seasons come and go, to revel in my couple of acres of wilderness, to sit on my deck and read books and to enjoy the latter years of my life.

Here the world feels far away. But it is still very available, thanks to technology.

Donald Trump has stepped in it with his comments about John McCain. He questioned McCain’s classification as a war hero. It was finally too much and the pack of Republican candidates are doing their best, at last, to distance themselves from Trump.

His comments on Mexicans didn’t provoke them but his comments on McCain were too much.

Trump still leads in the polls and is unapologetic.

Greece is struggling to make sense of the deal they have done with the EU. In this round, David lost and Goliath won. But there is some talk of debt relief, which might mean, in the end, Tsipras has accomplished something.

It is both national and world news that someone has drowned in Demi Moore’s pool. Why?

Despite the sound of thunder when I arrived home there is no rain, only the grey that promises that it might happen. It is the end of a lovely weekend of friends and food and joy while the world has ticked on.

May it tick well for you.