Posts Tagged ‘Mary Ann Zimmer’

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.

Letter From New York 05 15 15 Perhaps a toast to Maximillian?

May 5, 2015

Today is Cinco de Mayo, a day celebrated by the Mexicans to commemorate their victory over the French in 1862. It is NOT the day of Mexican Independence; that’s celebrated on September 16th.

It’s a complicated story of debts not repaid, French ire and later a desire to build an empire in Mexico that was to expand French influence.

After their defeat at Puebla in 1862, the French came back with more troops and took over Mexico and installed Maximillian I as Emperor of Mexico, a situation that lasted only three years and ended with his death by firing squad.

His wife, the Empress Carlotta, a first cousin of both Queen Victoria and Prince Albert, Victoria’s consort, was in Europe attempting to raise support for her husband when news of his death arrived. She went insane.

So, as you have your margaritas tonight, you might want to think of Maximillian.

You might want to give a thought to David Cameron, Prime Minister of Britain. The British Election season is ending and the voters are going to the polls. Cameron’s government has done a fairly good job on economic reforms and getting the country on the way to recovery so he is trying to use those accomplishments to get people to vote for him.

And he will probably end up with the most seats but not enough to form a government on his own and he’ll have to put together some sort of coalition to rule. It’s going to be interesting to watch what happens; things are very interesting in Britain right now. Let’s see how it all falls out.

Today in the UK, Queen Elizabeth II, visited her great granddaughter, Princess Charlotte of Cambridge at Kensington Palace. No word on her reaction to the child though one of her middle names is Elizabeth; another is Diana.

Across the Channel in France, the legislature has voted to vastly expand the abilities for security services surveillance capabilities, almost without judicial governance. It is a reaction to the terrorist attacks earlier this year. It reminds one judge, who is opposed to it; of America’s Patriot Act.

Also in France a political drama is unfolding. The far right National Front Party has suspended its founder, Jean-Marie LePen, on orders of his daughter, Marine LePen, after he, once again, minimized the Holocaust. Jean-Marie is hoping his daughter will marry soon so her name would change. He’s ashamed of her. Really good soap opera.

In Nigeria, Boko Haram, at last, seems on the run. Nigerian soldiers have been paid back wages and given hazard pay as well as getting better arms. A year ago Nigerian troops were doing the running and this year they are reclaiming lost territory and have freed 700 women and girls in the last week alone. It is said that Boko Haram is running low on ammunition and supplies. Fighters from Niger, Chad and Cameroon have joined Nigeria, helping to tilt the balance against Boko Haram.

Sadly, another forty migrants from Africa have drowned in the Mediterranean, according to Save The Children. 4,500 migrants were rescued from the sea over the last weekend.

Joo Won-moon, a South Korean student at NYU’s Stern School of Business, traveled to North Korea, via the Great Wall of China, wanting to be arrested. He seemed to think his arrest would trigger some event that would warm relations between North and South Korea. It hasn’t happened, of course. He seems to be being treated well by the North Koreans but no word on releasing him. Not a place I’d like to be.

Russia’s Foreign Minister, Lavrov, has declared that “someone” in the EU does not want the Ukrainian truce to hold. He doesn’t say who that someone is.

John Kerry, Secretary of State for the U.S., dropped in on troubled Somalia to give them a confidence booster.

In Saudi Arabia, King Salman abruptly fired a top aide for apparently slapping a foreign correspondent covering the reception being held for King Mohammed of Morocco. The move was a hit on Saudi Arabian social media. Thumbs up for the King.

And in a final note for the day, one of my favorite actors, Martin Freeman, he of “The Hobbit” and “Sherlock” has joined the cast of “Captain America: Civil War” due out at the end of next year.

Now, I’m off to dinner with my friend, and attorney, Mary Ann Zimmer, at her apartment. Tomorrow is another day.