Search This Blog

Monday, April 24, 2017

Back from Cape but Must Dash

We returned from the Cape by 10 p.m.[it was finally a crisp blue-sky day, alive with birds chirping] and must leave soon for Don's memorial service in Connecticut. I just wrote my tribute, which Figgy will read, because I would cry too much. Until later.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Must Snooze

Today we went to Great Pond [above, Dan and Punch getting a water sample for science fair project], the Hot Chocolate Sparrow, drove past the new Eastham Library and then the first cottage I ever stayed in, at age 4, on Windmill Lane./The simple cottage has been expanded, with a breezeway and other addition, but still holds such vivid memories for me./We shared two [expensive but nicely done] dinner entrees at the Wicked Oyster, drove to Brewster, went to the Audubon. Watched a raccoon at the bird feeder, saw tiny chickadees, wild turkeys that looked like they were wearing red kerchiefs on their heads, a big tadpole in its penultimate stage of transformation and talked to Betsy, who works at the Wellfleet Bay Wildlife Sanctuary./Dashed to Nauset Light Beach at 7 with Sug but it was freezing and windy; looked at churning sea and white caps from above./Took Punch to general store for "penny candy."/Played the kids' Game of Life board game at the vintage red kitchen table tonight./In between, ordered flowers in memory of Don and couldn't get the card message out without crying./And now we are exhausted. Good night.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Chasing Whales on Old Cape Cod 

We didn't see any whales today but we hunted for them--there have been recent sightings on the bay side of the Cape and at Herring Cove Beach in Provincetown./First we headed to Wellfleet and walked over fiddler crab holes and then up and over a sandy slope. Desolate, pure, pretty. We collected two black mermaid purses and a clam shell./Then we were freezing and our feet were wet from the tide inching in and soaking through our sneakers. We drove Route 6 East to Provincetown. It's fun to have Danny with us; so often he has 60-Second Novel gigs or medical conventions to cover and is unable to join us off-season./We found warm socks for Punch at the hardware/variety store and then dug into smoked seafood chowder at the Squealing Pig. I also shared a grass-fed burger plate [skipped the fried egg on top]./More seaside fun:
  1. Danny read in the Cape Cod Times about the second annual Moby Dick Reading Marathon at the historic Provincetown Public Library. For three days, people are taking turns reading the epic story, chapter by chapter. We stayed for a few chapters. It was great. [Today was Day One.]
  2. We checked out the Purple Feather on Commercial Street in Ptown. I love the name--plus lavender mugs, deep purple straws, and a purple feather pen with purple ink to sign the sales slip. I had a hot mocha latte. They use real chocolate; you select milk, dark or white. It was good! Punch had a Bismarck, a freshly made donut sliced and filled with sweet cream and fruit jelly. Of course, she took two spoons of cream off the top and we brought the rest home, which I resisted until about 10 p.m., when I had a couple wolf bites.
  3. We went to Uncle Tim's Bridge in Wellfleet. Not to be missed at low tide.
  4. We saw gorgeous clumps of daffs and orange tulips the color of bright taffy outside homes by the water in Wellfleet.
  5. I bought a brown paper sack of overpriced groceries for about $36 at the general store on Brackett Road in North Eastham. I've been going there since I was a teen but ever since it changed hands a few years back, the prices seem more inflated than ever. Still, when you need mayo, milk, Cheerios and cheese, and don't want to drive to Orleans, you pay a price for convenience.
  6. I noticed an ancient clothesline to hang wash and weathered wooden clothespins, clipped at the ready. Just like the crackly pinecones and birdsong all around, conveying the feel of old Cape Cod. Time stands still here, and things remain simple.
Good night to you. Please note cozy plaid blanket below.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Headed to Cape in Dark of Night

It's Punchy's spring break and we are motoring to North Eastham; we stay until Sunday. Danny [I'm tired of calling him H. in my posts] is at the wheel, we've been laughing w Punch and listening to the Bee Gees. We had chores to finish and didn't leave until 3:40. Then we hit traffic snarls on 95. Should be there around 10ish, Sug, baby doll, stuffed animals, books, sneakers, Audubon membership card, clean sheets and groceries in tow. Grateful. And prayers for my Sis.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Back Home from Connecticut

Sis is rich in friends from different chapters of her life, and tonight, a couple of them brought a bucket of KFC grilled chicken w all the fixings, plus a pie. We sat and talked, sipped coffee and tea, remembered Don. Then I said "Directions home" to Siri--because it's still a little tricky for me to find 95 South from Sis's--and drove to Montclair in the rain. God bless Sis and keep her safe in the knowledge that she is loved and does not have to shoulder this burden alone. The rest of us have strong shoulders, too. Good night.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Preparing a Farewell

It was a busy day here in Stamford, Connecticut for Sis and me--especially for Sis, since she was fielding texts and calls and emails from Don's five children near and far. California, Utah, Wisconsin, Chicago, Connecticut. And all of this, of course, between many fallen tears.

We spent three hours at the funeral home. The owner, Tom, was helpful. He grew up in Stamford, and as we sat with him at the polished wood conference table, he called to line up the restaurant [Pellicci's, a favorite of Don's, where he loved the Chicken Parmigiana and Chicken Marsala, and sweet spumoni] and the minister who will lead the memorial service.

Don is being cremated. Sis chose the box to hold his ashes, the sailboat design to decorate it, the glass-enclosed "ark" to display it in the funeral home when we pay our last respects. We looked through a catalog that showed all kinds of containers, and even pretty pendants to hold ashes. Stamford Florist has a branch right at the funeral home, which is brilliant, and Sis chose the flowers there--blues and whites, because Don loved fishing, boating, the water. Donna was so helpful with the picking of hydrangeas, irises and lilies.

We talked about the obituary, which I will write tomorrow. I'm staying over tonight, and H. is handling Punchy back at the ranch; this is her spring break from school. This time, I have the car and they have no wheels. They have been walking in and out of town a lot. We had planned to leave today for a few days on the Cape but now hope to go on Thursday and return Sunday. The service is on Monday.

One of my favorite details is the remembrance card Sis chose: It has a lighthouse on the front and on the other side, with Don's name and the dates, these words from the Robert Louis Stevenson poem "Requiem":

Home is the sailor, home from sea.

We didn't like the other parts about wanting to be laid to rest, because Don loved life. But Robert Louis Stevenson wrote the poem as his own epitaph and incidentally, he is buried in Samoa. Sis served two years in the Peace Corps in Western Samoa.

I am tired and better rest. But I am so grateful I can be here.

Tom needs the obit by 1 tomorrow, and I know I will have some blanks for Sis to fill in and names for her to double-check. But I am proud to say I know my brother-in-law's life story pretty well.

Good night. Prayers for two special people here on earth. Prayers, strength, prayers, trust, prayers, perspective. Godspeed, good will, love.

  1. Big spinach salad w delicious shrimp at the Crab Shell restaurant in Stamford. Excellent mug of coffee, too. I'm every now and then able to be satisfied w coffee in place of dessert, which is a big step for me.
  2. Laughs over dinner with Sis's friend Nicole, who took the train out from NYC to support Sis.
  3. Walked Sis and Don's sweet butterscotch dog, Buttercup. She and I felt the wind in our faces and saw a regal snowy white egret taking flight.
  4. Ice water.

Red Sky at Night, Sailor's Delight

My Sis's husband, Don, died early Monday morning in Greenwich Hospital, where he had been admitted 3 days earlier w pneumonia. He was a jazz lover, drummer, bat boy for the Chicago Cubs and member of the New York Yacht Club. He sailed on Lake Michigan as a boy and later, in a race against Ted Turner in the Caribbean. He won so many trophies! Don was a menswear importer for years and helped introduce Madras plaid to the U.S. market in the 1960s. In the nineties, he had a nice office in the Empire State Building and worked in sports licensing. He loved Popsicles and chicken parm and above all, his wife. He was my friend and my fan and I will miss him. Sis and I cried a lot today and I drove over to spend the night and help with plans. Don would have been 90 this July. May the seas be smooth in Heaven and the winds be just right. Sail on, my brother-in-law. Sail on.