Sometimes during the night, it rained. It was enough to collect in puddles and leave droplets still visible on the windows after I woke up. It feels like rain is yet to come.

I didn’t hear it rain. Even if I could hear I don’t think I would have heard it, having slept so soundly after fitfully sleeping the night before. I do miss hearing rain in the night. Having come of age in a rainy part of the country, I have many memories of rain at all times of day but particularly in the night.

At one time there was a window at the foot of my bed. When it rained – usually straight down with little wind – I would lie with my head near the window to hear more clearly as the drops landed on the leaves of the huge japonica which leaned against the house. Sometimes there would be thunder, which even in summer times, would seem reason enough to pull the sheet up over my shoulder.

I asked my audiologist about wearing my hearing aids ( they like to call them “instruments” ) during the night. He said it’s usually not a good idea. The “instruments”, he said, as well as your ears need to dry out. It’s like a swamp in there, he said. A little reality is a good thing, I suppose.

I remember falling to sleep with them in one night and being wakened by thunder. It was raining. It was nice. But I took them out, as I knew I should and turned them off and went to sleep in the silence of my disability. Silence is also good.

I was having this text conversation with my elder son out in West Texas and it want sort of like this:

Me: Great morning for porch sitting

Rick: Doing good. Bummed from too much yard work. Having coffee and watching dog

Me: I’ve got yard stuff to do too. Gerrrrrrr!

Rick: Yeah, it’s the side yard and ally today. Lots of rain. Then think I’ll make potato salad

Me: Good hot weather snack

Me Again: Wait a minute! This is Sunday. It’s a friggin day of rest.

Rick: Childhood influence – my daddy worked every Sunday

Me: Ha! Me Again: I’m sorry about that. It’ll never happen again.

Rick: That’s OK. God meant us to go out and appreciate the day but not in some exclusive clubhouse.

Me: Rest well son.

It’s good to be able to have these intimate in-depth chats with one’s children.

By The Way -?

I love the internet. So do millions of others. It belongs to us not the mega telecoms. Fight John McCain and his ilk who want to privatize it, install tiers, make every aspect of it a product to sell and brand it.

Oh excuse me, son # 2 just texted me, and he is cleaning gutters. Will it ever end?

I read with some interest the announcements of the passing of my high school classmates in a news letter I have been getting now for a few years. Having left Louisiana in ’59 and never having returned to live, has left me more or less bereft of any meaningful contact with but a few of my former classmates. Of course, I always wondered, as we all do, what ever happened to …. you know, what’s his or her name. It wasn’t until my friend Bill “found” me one night 5 or 6 years ago that I ever considered that anyone would even remember who I was. I had after all left the home ground for my own dreams. There’s an old saying – “He who leaves gets left”. Actually I just made that up, but it rings true. The real meaning is, time + distance = “I wonder whatever happened to…”

Sadly, I do not remember some of the faces as their names are called for the last time. I had a small circle of intimates and though I knew of many I was, as I recall, really known by few. I browse the photos in the news letter and see faces that I did not watch grow old. it would be fun to show up at one of those reunion functions, but alas, that does not seem to be in the plan. 2000 miles is quite the deterrent. And I am not sure about the fun part.

All this brings me to Freddy Kennon, the latest name on the growing list. We grew up together. Across the street from each other. We had 9 fights a day and made up 10 times. I suppose you could say were friends but not intimate friends. His father was a fisherman and he took us fishing and that was more about pleasing his father than fishing. He was my friend and then one day he moved away. I never saw him again. That’s the way those things happened. That was a lifetime ago. Possibly more. I had heard that he was in the army or one of the other branches of military. I think my mother told me that long before she died.

After so much time passes, the knowledge we have of each other is more academic than anything else. Friendship takes some work. This is as it should be. The times I have tried to contact someone from back then, it fell on indifferent ears. Kind, but indifferent. What, after all, is there after over 50 years of silence?

We all have lives and we all get on with them. That’s what it’s all about. High School for me seemed to be a long wait. Constantly focused on the future. The good students could focus on the present. I can remember sitting there thinking how in the hell can I hold out for however many years there were ahead of me at the time. Little did I imagine college and two grad schools. There are too many fast balls in life that are in the mitt before you even swing. Fifty years was the fastest. I guess you could say I held out.

Well, I do ramble on. It’s funny how reading of the passing of one after another of my old classmates causes little deviation in my life and then Freddy comes along and the whole epoch cascades down upon my head in a rush of memories and emotion. Very strange indeed.

I had often wanted to just say hello and yet did not. See what I mean?

I don’t remember just when this was but it had to be somewhere in the ’50s. Yes, that’s when. Where it was was on the river road on the west side of the Mississippi River just north of Baton Rouge. I’d give a pretty penny to remember who the woman was but I can see the little shotgun house she lived in that faced that monstrous levee that stretched off into infinity in both directions, left and right. We were having coffee. It’s what one did. After a sip I said that it was the best cup of coffee I have ever had. And I asked her to describe her method of brewing it. God, I wish I could remember who she was and why I was there.

I remember the coffee. She excused herself and went into the house and momentarily returned with a small sack in her hand, into which you could slip a deck of cards.

She said, “This is my method”. She called it a sock not sack. Sack seemed to fit my sensibilities better.

We all made coffee with small drip pots with two parts. The top part held the coffee and the bottom part collected the coffee after the hot water was hand dripped over the grounds. I still have one of those things around here somewhere. Her difference was that she placed a small sack made of unbleached Damascus or Muslin into the top and then placed the grounds in that. It was a reusable filter. Big deal, right?

We drank our coffee and talked, and when I left she gave me two of the little sacks. For some time after that I made those little sacks and then as most things do the method moved on to other and more convenient methods. I have a little $15 pot now that used paper filters that pretty much duplicate that action and can be set to go off when I choose. I never load the thing and set it that I don’t think of that little sack and that Mississippi River coffee on the porch of that little shotgun house facing the back side of that huge levee. That reminds me – I need to go and set the pot now before I forget.

Be well, and stay tuned.

It’s the Fourth of July and it is hot. Here in Vacation Land, that is.
My children are all in Texas and they are all wet, rivers running in the streets. Here it is hot and dry.

How hot is it, you ask? I know you didn’t ask, but give me a break.

It is hotter than a $2 pistol at the battle of Bull Run. It’s hotter than your first date. Or maybe your last one. It’s “almost” as hot as your first car. Although there is room for discussion here it is hotter than when you first, shall we say, “discovered” yourself.

The all time show stopper is, of course, it’s hotter than Hell. There are no witnesses to this claim but just saying it perhaps makes the would be perpetrator think twice. I’m taking my chances myself.

Even though I decided early on to take the day off, I did dutifully attend to my exercise program. I knew it was hot when I could feel the sweat running down my back and through the crack of my ass. ( I’ll remember this particular pleasure sometimes in March )

It’s so hot I had a beer at 4 PM! Hell, it is, after all the Fourth of July!

It’s hot. And I love it.

Spring Point Light, also known as the Bug Light, stands at the entrance to Portland’s harbor.  It is an automated navigation aid which is actually open to the public on Saturdays, so says the notice.

I have seen the light from the water many times but never took the time to “find” it from landward.  It is much easier than we made it out to be, winding around Cape Elizabeth’s non-geometrically laid out streets.

I don’t recommend Birkenstocks for walking out to the light on those small car sized blocks of granite, but that was how we were clad and we made it work by paying close attention.  Not a bad thing to do anyway.  

Afterward, we had dinner at Joe’s Boat House at the marina.  Pricy but really good.  I have been going there for years and each time they have goosed the price a little.  It’ll be out of my range soon.  Funny, in lots of ways, lots of stuff seems to be getting out of my range these days.

It was a lovely day.  The sun and clouds played with each other over the water changing its hue from moment to moment.  The wind was substantial.  Schooners, ketches, yawls and sloops were out, all sails bent to the wind.

A lovely day.  Did I say that?