Cape Cod Sunday Slowing Down


Sunday morning. Overcast but no rain yet.  Arey’s Pond is quiet.  It is a sheet of glass.  No activity in or from the boatyard. Even the feeder is quiet (but needs filling).  We’ve had a small flock of Blue Jays, cardinals, mourning doves, chickadees, goldfinch, titmice, and nuthatch; Downy and Red Bellied Woodpeckers feeding the past few days. Chipmunks scurry beneath the feeder; and I’ve seen one gray squirrel.   Osprey have flown overhead; maybe a marsh hawk.   A swan makes its home across the water; sharing space with at least one seal.  It’s not hard to find solitude and peace here.

I am reading “The Salt House: a summer on the dunes of Cape Cod” by Cynthia Huntington.  She writes, “I wished quickly for what I always wish: to be given another summer after this one, to be able to come here all our lives, to keep making this our home.”  Cynthia (a writer) and her husband Bert (a sculptor) were fortunate.  Hazel Hawthorne Werner, as part of a small artistic group,  had spent her summers in the dunes near Race Point Proviencerown from the 20’s into the 1060s.  Her group included Agnes and Eugene O’Neill who lived in beach shacks that had been built around the Peaked Hills Life Saving Station.  Hazel now was in her 80s, would Cynthia and Bert like to live in her shack, Euphoria?  “We said yes without taking a breath, ” Cynthia wrote.


“8 Peck’s Way” on Arey’s Pond or “Rattlesnake Bank” on Nantucket where we stayed  for over 10 years aren’t quite as isolated as the Cape dune beach shacks, but the Peaked Hill shacks are now owned by the National Seashore and a lottery determines who can reside there for a period of time. We need a different address but I should explore the lottery.

Arey’s Lane is a dirt road off of route 28.  “8 Peck’s Way” is just beyond the Arey’s  boat yard (beautiful custom boats, check out their website).  Driving to and from, both Rob and Diane have taken to coming in from the other direction off  Monument Road which leads to a maze of private dirt roads between Pilgrim Lake and the Namequoit River.  It’s dusty single lanes and its not unusual that cars need to pull aside for others to pass.  One party pulls aside, and as the cars pass, both drivers wave.  Time for slow and neighbors.  I love the posted sign on Arey’s’s:  “drive wicked slow, 15 mph.”  IAnnoyed at first, I eventually decided that this approach contributed to my-our sense of seclusion — we are hidden in the woods.

Although I like the idea of serendipity and spontaneous activity. Some planning is necessary when 6 people of different ages are traveling/vacationing together.  Can we satisfy all; can we come up with a mix of the planned and unplanned?  This morning, Jenny called a family meeting.  There are so many option of what we can do in the coming week.  And we all have our likes and dislikes.  Some activities are weather related.  Some get sold out if you don’t get advance tickets.

Most years we take a boat trip and we came to a decision.  Mass Audubon 2 hour Thursday explore (buckets and nets on a sand bar or island) out of Hyannis.  Another decision: lobster dinner tentatively scheduled for Tuesday; in the morning we have a National Seashore ranger led nature explore and there is an evening lecture on whales.

But not everything is agreed on and planned.  Diane wants to try some clamming and she bought an official pail. But it involves open areas, tides, and a day permit.  All vary from town to town.  More research is needed for a commitment.  “Grease” would be fun to see but tickets we placed tickets  on hold.  How would it impact beach time and dinner?  Today we may walk at the National Seashore, Skacket Beach at low tide around 4, Rob and Eli going to a baseball game, probably pizza for dinner.

Shore life, in general,  tends to be slow.  Most serious boaters (I’m not talking speedboats and jet skis) move slow.  Their rhythms follow winds and tides.  Right now in front of me on the pond is a sailboat coming in to dock, they cut the engine and slowly drift-motor to a mooring. Another boater is rowing  (slowly) to dock.  Canoeing, kayaking and rowing usually follow a peaceful rhythm. There may be times when energy and fast motion are desired or needed but it’s not a constant commute on an Interstate highway.


Activity on the beach also tends to go slow.  Some just sit in the sun, or hide under an umbrella, nap, read; others walk along the shore stopping to watch sanderlings, gulls and terns.  There are beachcombers collecting shells or whatever else may wash up their way.  A few swim and there are a more active groups of surfers (usually young).  But for the most part the beach, sand, and sun contribute to a quiet slow, relaxed time.

Most fishing tends to be a quiet peaceful activity, frequently solitary, a waiting communion between fish and fisherman. Think “Old Man in the Sea.”  I also see images of individuals casting long, staring out to sea. Casting and waiting.  In late afternoon, sipping from a can of beer.  Or there in the row boat — one, no two, it’s a father and son — poles dipping into the water.  Waiting, reflecting, relaxing.  Even fishing from a boat in bay or ocean can involve slow, quiet time punctuated with the back and forth pull of a catch.  The bigger the fish; the more strain and fight.  Reeling in requires a measured, calculated pace.

This evening I’m watching the sun set over Arey’s.  According to plan, Rob and Eli are off to an Orleans Firebirds game.  Hundreds turn out to watch college players representing different towns.  It’s been happening 100 years!  Baseball isn’t your fastest sport.  There is some running but a lot of watching and waiting. A perfect Cape Cod sport.   I enjoyed my time at a game a few nights back; wouldn’t even have considered watching a game in Yardley.  Diane, Viv and Jenny have just returned from several hours at Skaket Beach — low tide.  Viv netting crabs, alive and dead; walking slowly through the sand and low water.  Jen meets and talks to a oyster farmer. They clean up, no rush.

Tonight we’ll have take-out pizza for dinner. Cooking takes time and planning.  And tonight we all move “wicked slow.”




Traveling; Vacationing


Why do we travel?  Why are vacations so important?  Sometimes it may be just a weekend, field trip or night away. I’m sure there are many reasons. Some of us enjoy seeing and exploring new places. Having new experiences.  New or favorite foods.  It’s usually a change of pace. We may get to spend more (or less) time with family.  Our daily life traveling, on vacation is different.  Usually no work or as many (if any) house chores.  I’m pretty sure a recurring reason is “to recharge.”  This was certainly always heard in the faculty room justifying teachers’ summer vacation.

Last summer Diane and I spent two weeks in Cape Cod with Jen, Rob, Eli and Viv.  My surgeries started in September, then March and May.  For a year there was no travel or vacation, few field trips.  Now a year later we are back on Cape Cod for two weeks.


Our rental is different this year but both are waterfront.  Right now I sit on our screened in porch looking out on Arey’s  Pond.  To the right is a boatyard.  The pond is about a third as big as the Pilgrim Lake cottage ( 5 minutes away) where we rented for three years.  The big difference is the Arey’s leads into the Namequoit River, Pleasant Bay and the Atlantic Ocean.  Pilgrim Lake was a kettle pond, formed by a melting block of glacier ice. Kettle ponds are freshwater; Arey’s is salt.  Fishing is different.  Arey’s is tidal and we can walk along the low water shore line to a conservation area with a trail.  Nice for a short walk.


Each house has some special features. I like that we have some history of 8 Peck Way (three sisters, owners name) on Arey’s.   In the 1950s, the girls parents,  Samuel and Marion Peck bought 16 acres of woods on Arey’s Lane with a quarter mile of shoreline along Arey’s Pond and the Namequoit River (what the girls called “The Creek.” Other family members had a cabin across the pond.  In 1951, a small cabin (still on the property) was trucked from Sharon, MA.  Sam’s father was a house mover.  Sam was a teacher and for the next few years, the family spent summer vacations in the cabin and a tent.

In  1954, house construction began and was interrupted and destroyed by hurricane Carol.  The house was finished over the next dozen years as finances permitted.  Sam believed in an efficient, classic Cape camp preserving the habitat surrounding the house.  In 2006, some of the property was sold to the town of Orleans creating the Samuel W. and Marion Hadley Peck Conservation Area. The nice short walk.

We like dealing directly with the owners who wrote in the house history I just shared. In updating the house, they wrote  “our goal while trying to make the house convenient and comfortable, is for it still to feel like a classic Cape summer home that features the natural surroundings we come to the Cape to enjoy — the breezes, the Salt air, the sand, the pine trees, the water — and the wonderful wildlife whose habitat we share.”


For me this year on the Cape is about recharging and testing limits.  I am still weak and have some permanent medical issues. The question isn’t just what do I want to do but what can I do?  Today, in the near future.  I’ve been walking for several hours a day, starting to do a little upper body exercise.  One big guestion until this morning was kayaking. I bought an LL Bean kayak when I retired.  We traveled so much year one, that I never used it.  Rather than bring it to the Cape last summer, we rented a canoe.  This year we bought a rack and have the kayak.  This morning I carefully lowered myself in, Rob pushed me off, and I spent an hour plus exploring Arey’s Pond.  The seat was totally comfortable, the paddling felt good.  I enjoyed the breeze, the splash of jumping fish, clanging halyards, and ocassional shout or laugh of kids in row boats or paddle boards.  The current was gentle easing the kyack through the maze of sailboats. Of the many interesting or fun names, I voted for the green hulled, “Spinach.”  Getting out was difficult but I did it,  only falling once.

Eli and Rob are fishing.  Diane followed me in the kayak. Viv is working on a craft project.  Jen unfortunately has some free lance.  In our two weeks here, we will enjoy some familiar beaches, trails and restaurants. We will eat a lot of seafood and  Eli will continue to try clam chowders.  We will explore new places and activities. Parents, grandparents and kids will spend some special moments together.  And I know we will  all recharge.


I smell some bacon frying for lunch BLTs.  Not sure what will happen this afternoon.  But i’m not worried; I’m on Nantucket time.




Cape Stories – Politicians?


My first story takes place in Nantucket.  It’s not Cape Cod but one of several off shore islands associated with the Cape.  We vacationed there for over ten years until our rental cottage was sold for 2 million (well the land, not so much the cottage).  That’s when we started to spend more time on the Cape.  The story also seems quite appropriate in this election year.

“During the summer, Nantucket harbor is filled with more than a thousand boats, doubtless many times what the whaling fleet was in its glory days.  For an overnight stay (in the 90s) at the marina, a forty-foot boat pays $90, for a full season $10,000.  On only one occasion has a yachtsman found the harbor inadequate.  That was when Donald Trump learned that the channel, now dredged to seventeen feet, was too shallow for his Princess. Trump sailed away, I was told, promising to return the next summer with his own dredge.  Before that could happen, however, Trump himself ran aground on financial shoals and the Princess was put up for sale.”  From “The Coast” by Joseph Thorndike

Since we started with a story about a Republican politician, I should share a story about a Democratic politician.

Elizabeth Warren Former Students Refuse Comment   by Bill Carson
(Mattapoisett Massachusetts)

Elizabeth Warren Former Students Refuse Comment

Imagine taking a college course and having Elizabeth Warren as your professor ? In hundreds of pictures in the news she always looks mad at the world ! It’s hard to picture Elizabeth Warren as a teacher with that plastic sardonic smile on her face.

Are there any former students of Elizabeth Warren? Did she actually ever teach a college course? While teaching what did her students think of her teaching methods ? Did she mock her students and talk to them in a sarcastic way to put her students down ?

The professor had said recently with a scowl she has always been a teacher and worked hard at that job.

It has been reported that the professor won awards from her students.Who, What ,Where and When and How were these awards given to Elizabeth Warren ?

We need to hear from of the former students of the professor ! Why hasn’t Elizabeth brought a few students up to talk about the great job she did as a teacher ?

John Kennedy is the President most associated with Cape Cod, walking on the beach, sailing, playing touch football on the lawn of the family compound in Hyannis. Here’s one tale.

HYANNIS — John F. Kennedy learned he had won the tight 1960 presidential election at his summer home in Hyannis Port when, as the story goes, his 3-year-old daughter Caroline woke him up the morning after Election Day by saying, “Good morning, Mr. President.”

1961 – John F. Kennedy became the 35th president of the United States and the youngest president ever elected. Hyannisport and Hyannis are put on the map and his family compound becomes a new haven for tourists. Tourism on Cape Cod increases by 40%

In my experience, Democrats are frequently associated with the Cape, Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard.  The Clinton’s and the Obama’s have vacation on the Vineyard.  I photographed Hillary in downtown Nantucket while Bill played golf.  When John Kerry was running for President, I watched a woman driving a car with a “Heinz” license plate  daily on a dirt road across the street from our rental house.  There was construction work on a bay side house.  Theresa Heinz Kerry had a house downtown.  Could the Kerry’s be planning a summer White House out of town?  I wrote her.  She responded that it was someone on her staff using the car, the house wasn’t for the Kerry’s.  I like to think if John won the election, we’d vacation across the street from the President.

A more recent story. This time Hillary.

WaveProvincetown Welcomes Hillary

There was a large flag with Hillary’s campaign logo of an H-with-an-arrow logo flying off a house in the West End. And way down at the private house where the event was held, there was a long line of people waiting to cash in on their donation and get into the tent to see Clinton in person.

The symbolism of her timing and the message of her visit seemed unmistakable.

Flying the flag.
Flying the flag.
“It’s such a propitious time for her to be here, with the Supreme Court decision (in favor of gay marriage) just being released,” said Mark Wisneski of Provincetown and New York, as he was waiting in line. “She has an important voting base here in Provincetown.”

Wisneski said, “I doubt I’ll get close to her, but if I did I’d ask how will you work to move gay, lesbian and transgender rights forward.”

Here is the remarkable thing: The odds-on favorite candidate for President of the United States Of America visited Provincetown, known as one of the top gay destinations in the world.

Ponder that for a moment.

It shouldn’t and should never have been ponder-able except for the fact that Provincetown is a really small town. It sure must be an important small town, huh?

Richard Hanson of Provincetown said, “I think she is the first presidential candidate that ever showed any interest or pride in our community.”

Hillary“I think it’s great that she’s paying attention to this community and to issues of gay and lesbian equality,” said Adam Welch of New York. “It’s a political tactic for anyone. But it’s fantastic that she’s being bold.”

And Joe Bolduc of Provincetown said, “As a gay man, I’m thankful that she’s coming to Provincetown. Provincetown is a great place for her to be.”

This blog started with Trump, so we will end with another Trump story.  I’m not sure if he ever visited Cape Cod but he has spent time on Martha’s Vineyard.  Once upon a time, not so long ago.

“Back  in the summer of 1988 while Donald Trump was publicly basking in the success of his book, The Art of the Deal, he quietly came to the Vineyard with a little known blonde model, and former Resaca Beach Poster Girl from Dalton, Ga., with whom he was having an extra-marital affair later dubbed “one of the biggest sex scandals of the 1990s that triggered the divorce of the century.”

At the time, rumors of his “seismic marital rift” whipped around the social circuit. An Atlantic city photographer had already threatened to release photos of Mr. Trump’s clandestine partner. Yet despite speculation in the tabloids and gossip press, the identity of the Donald’s paramour still remained a mystery.

It would be another 18 months before New York columnist Liz Smith broke the story of his season of infidelity. When Marla Maples was finally tagged as the other woman, the liaison had been four years running. The winter after her husband’s Vineyard escapade, Ivana Trump learned of the pair’s affair and confronted Marla at a ski resort in Aspen with her famous line: “You bitch. Leave my husband alone!”

Mr. Trump soon announced the end of his 12-year marriage and subsequently married Marla following the news of her pregnancy with their daughter, Tiffany.

In the past three decades, the events of Mr. Trump’s tryst with Marla have been reported ad nauseam. Curiously absent from all the coverage, however, is any mention of the fact that the Donald and Marla had a secret liaison on July 4, 1988 right in the heart of downtown Edgartown amidst the crowds gathered for the Island’s annual Independence Day parade.”  (From : Vineyard Affair, the Donald, Marla and Me by John Rosenmiller)

It seems that politicians have many different types of associations with the Cape, Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard.


Private Property: No Trespassing



Yesterday I was looking for some new walking trails near our rental on Arey’s Pond, Cape Cod.  Just down the drive is a conservation land trail leading to the river.  The tourist brochure mentioned Sea Call Farm on Tonset road (town cove), Baker’s Pond in Nickerson State Park and  Namequoit Point.  When traveling or on vacation I like a mix of the familiar and the new.  All of these sounded like new walks.

More exciting was a new area of the National Seashore.  Typically the accessible Seashore is north,  Eastham to Proviencetown.  Beaches, trails, visitor’s centers.  But here was a narrow spit of land heading south between Orleans toward Chatham.  On Google there seemed to be a road with one access — Pochet road.  This was a place to explore.  We found Pochet road, winding through a residential neighborhood.  As we got closer to what the GPS and Google labeled National Seashore, we encountered a sign —  Private Road.  We continued.  In a quarter of a mile we encountered an older guy sitting at a table by the side of the road.  He had signs which basically communicated only certain people could proceed.  I told him I was looking at a map which showed National Seashore ahead.  He assured me that since the restaurant about a mile back, all was private property.

“These people pay thousands in taxes,” he explained. “They want their privacy. That’s why they hire me.”  I replied that I understood but the map showed National Seashore ahead.  “No, it’s all private he continued.”  We complied and turned around.  Was Google Maps wrong?

We spent several hours checking out two of the other new trails.  Back at the house on the Internet I looked at the National Seashore’s official map.  Yes the barrier spit in question was National Seashore.  Wish I had a brochure map to share with  that guard.  I searched the Internet.  There wasn’t a lot of information. One interesting article said that the Feds were evicting and tearing down about six beach shacks on the spit across from Chatham.  Seems people paid about $7,000 or so in federal taxes.  Access was only by boat.  Locals were enraged.  When the National Seashore came in the 1960, local culture and tradition was suppose to be maintained.  But it was National Seashore.  The road shown on Google Maps may be for property owners, or vehicles with beach driving permits. I need to do additional research.

I’ll admit I was annoyed not to have access.  I don’t like the Private Property, No Tresspassing signs that announce our limited access to the sea — particularly beaches along the oceans. I’ve driven down too many bay side and ocean roads lined with houses. No access.  My beach walking has been stopped too many times by a  sign and maybe fence,  Private Property: No Tresspassing.  I’ve always been startled by the difference between Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket.  The former, private estates, limited beach access; the latter more public beaches and access.


Later in the day, I began a re-read, “The  Coast: A Journey Down the Atlantic Shore.”  In the 1990s Joseph Thorndike walked Cape Cod and then decided to explore the whole Atlantic Coast.  His book is like a State of the Atlantic Coast — some history, the present and future.  In the introduction, he writes, “At the same time more and more people want to get to the shore, more and more of the shore is being closed to them.  If in time we learn to restore and protect the coast, whose coast will it be?  Everyone’s or only the shorefront property owners? ”   Only 6 % of the Atlantic shoreline is public; increasingly along the rest read  Private Property: No Tresspassing.

If interested you can check out English enclosure law; or colonial and state laws that reference high water and low water property rights.  Difficult access, however, is not a new thing.  In 1909, Holman Day wrote,  “Cove and cape, the coast is pretty much monopolized  by non by non-residents.  ‘No Tresspass signs are so thickly set that they form a blazed trail.”  The non-residents were summer vacationers.

Its increasingly difficult today to get to the water. We need a movement.  Open, free beaches for all.  Join me.



State of the Nation


Many years ago, teaching an economics class at Holy Ghost Prep, I asked the class what percentage of families made $100,000?  Answers varied from 3 to 30 %.  quite a few hit the correct answer — 10%.  Then a hand went up and a student commented, “Most of the families I know make at least $100,000.”  I commented that most of the kids in the room and most of their neighbors probably fell into the 10%.  “Where are the other 90%,” the student questioned.  “Where I repeated?”

That afternoon I was driving to teach a class at LaSalle University.  I stopped at Broad and Olney.  People rushed on the streets, some moving to catch a subway, waiting for a bus; others hung on the corner.  “There’s the other 90%, I thought.”t

Last night we were having dinner at the Wicked Oyster in Wellfleet, Cape Cod.  The room was filled, tables were lively, most people were probably on vacation, summer house or weekly rental.  The hostess, an older woman, was passing our table, our eyes met.  “Excuse me,” I said, “I was thinking, how many of these people believe Trump’s analysis that the country is falling apart.”  She smiled, “Not many,” she responded.


Trump’s dire message is suppose to appeal to white, particularly, non college educated males.  His support among women and minorities is less.  He is supported by Republicans more than Democrats; although a recent poll shows a post convention jump in support from Independents.  Keeping in mind a book we used at Holy Ghost Prep, “How to Lie with Statistics,” here are a few rough stats.

About 60% of the population is non-Hispanic white.  About 50% are women.  About 60%  of the population is non college educated.  Imagine for a moment that all non-Hispanic whites were non college educated.  30% of them would be white males, Trump’s prime supporters.  Months ago I responded to someone on Facebook, that I suspected only 30-40% of could be stupid enough (sorry, but I do think his supporters are if not stupid, very gullible, that’s a better word, a more accurate word) to support Trump. Can there really be more than 30-40% Trump supporters?

We know a percentage of non college educated are non white.  A fair number are probably Democratic.  I’m not sure about voting rates among groups.  Are college educated more Democratic (they did support Obama more) ?  Who votes more college educated or non college?  And I haven’t even considered age, religion or geographic location.  I am sure there are lots of articles, polls and research that attempt to answer these questions. And I’m sure as in all good social science research, you can find conflicting analysis.  So . . .

What issues make Trump supporters, supporters?  Immigration, well illegal immigration, how many people think about it?  How many are effected?  How many really care?  There are about 11 million (some children), under 4%,  of illegal immigrants in the US.  Most in California, Texas, New York, New Jersey  and Illinois. It would seem that people in these states would be more likely to be interested and/or effected by the issue.  Living in small town Pennsylvania, I’d have to go out of my way to feel effected (unless I listen to certain politicians or media).  Are the six illegal immigrant states Red or Blue (I’ll let you check).  I think my realization is,  I suspect that, the concerns of most of those nationally come not from personal experience or something that personally effects their  lives but from political rhetoric, media reporting and crusaders.


I think the rhetoric, reporting, and crusading may be responsible for other hot button issues — gay marriage, violence, international fears, 2nd amendment rights.  It’s not that I’m against political discourse, media reporting or crusading.  In fact all are important to learning and democracy.  But I worry about the ability of citizens to make sense of the deluge of data, information, propaganda, and talk that is available.  How much is quality; how much is trash?  Can we tell the difference?

I think much of current commentary (like the nightly news) deals with the negative, the bizarre.  Today’s yellow journalism.  Controversy for the sake of controversy.  Feed fears.    Trump exploits these tendencies. According to his message (dare we call it a vision) we are being destroyed by foreign terrorists, Mexican aliens, Muslims, and  corrupt politicians.  The far right Christians add deviant behavior and non Christian religion.  The country is in ruin.  Unfortunately it may be easier to accept (and parrot) the negative.  Fear what is not just like us.  Racism and prejudice are acceptable.  Diversity is dangerous; conformity is comforting. The enemy is them.

I need to think about this more. But I don’t think (I hope) most of those in the Wicked Oyster last night, most people on Cape Cod, most of my neighbors in Yardley, most Pennsylvanians, and most citizens of the United States  believe based on prsonal experience and common sense analysis that the country (the world) isn’t coming to an end.  There are problems a plenty that we need to improve, correct as much as possible. But daily life, living needs to be good and affirming. For now I’m going to enjoy the sun, sand, oysters, and fellow wo-man.  Maybe more on this later.


Cape Cod Bound



I’m packing, basically packed for our annual trip to Cape Cod. . I’m worn out.  This will be our fourth year with Jen, Rob, Eli and Viv in Orleans at the elbow of the Cape. Previous years we rented on Pilgrim Lake.  Perfect rental for fishing, swimming, sitting in the shade.  Rather than bring a kayak or canoe, we rented.  This year however, Diane was determined to bring our new orange L L Bean, so last week we purchased a Tule kayak rack.  Jer Taylor helped me secure the kayak to the Highlander this morning.  Then there are paddles and where are the life preservers?

This year’s rental house is a classic Cape Cod (actually only a short walk from  Pilgrim Lake) on Arey’s Pond, leading to the Namequoit River, Pleasant Bay and the Atlantic Ocean if your into water adventure. The kids have their own fishing poles but I’ll take one and a small creature net.

Diane packs several boxes of food and cleaning staples. Over ten years vacationing on Nantucket taught us to avoid super markets and empty out the pantry. That way food shopping can be to the bakery, fruits and vegetables from a farm or speciality market and of course fresh seafood.  One of the advantages of returning to the same place is that we know the best bakery (maybe it’s the only bakery), where to buy fruits and vegetables and our favorite seafood markets.  Tomorrow morning we will pick some vegetables from our garden — eggplant, tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers. Put several jars of homemade pickles, canned green tomatoes, cheese, and leftovers in the cooler. Might be room for several bottles of Saviginon Blanc.

It’s fairly easy to get toys togehther. Two pairs of binoculars, bird scope and tripod, camera. Later I will add laptop and I-Pad. Although I will probably buy one or more books (nice little bookstore in Orleans), it’s well to bring a few from home. I get Beston’s “Outermost Banks”(environmental classic), “The Salt House: a summer on the dunes” and “The Watch at Peaked Hill: outer Cape Cod dune shack  life, 1953-2003.” The latter I discovered on Amazon this winter.  I throw in a general book on the Atlantic coast and one on cranberries.  (Viv laughed when she read the title of the cranberry book.).  I’ll take several journals —  my daily, a book to create lists and what I call my “highlights” journal.  I don’t expect anyone will read all my scribbling but maybe they will like excerpts — highlights– the best stories.  Started it in Nantucket years ago, while Diane cooked, we recalled “stories” we thought kids/grandkids would enjoy.

Since I lost 50 pounds, I’ve been getting rid of clothes and buying new.  Shirts, shorts, pants, belt, suspenders, underpants, t-shirts, socks — all new.  Do I need all this footwear — crocks, sneakers, sandals, clogs and new dress shoes I want to break in. Then Diane tells me the cat in a fit of rage sprayed my suitcase.  It was my favorite suitcase bought for the trips to Nicaragua.  She gets one of hers.  A bit smaller butpacceptable.  I’m going to have a  hard time trashing the Timberland.

I count out pills and put them in small wooden travel boxes (actually bought the pill boxes on the Cape years ago).  My travel toiletries  are usually together in a travel bag.  But this year I fill a canvas boat bag with osteomy “supplies.”  Maybe the most important thing I pack.

I start to carry food boxes, canvas boat bags, my suitcase to the car. Some are heavy.  Diane has filled canvas bags with beach towels, sun screen, bug repellent and personal items.  Her suitcase is twice the size of mine and twice as heavy.  Will all this fit?  In the garage I’ve assembled beach chairs, an umbrella, an ice chest.   Diane has purchased a cart to haul stuff from car to beach. It looks big.  Will it fit?

Its been in the 90s this afternoon.  I’m still surgery slow and weak.  But tomorrow morning we are Cape Cod bound.  I will get the car packed.  Diane takes the cat to the kennel.  Up and down; up and down.  Wow, everything fits.  Tomorrow we will pack a soft ice chest with vegetables from the garden and picks from the refrigerator.  Computer and I-Pad fit into a black leather carrying case.  “Let’s  go!”

But I know. Despite our planning and careful packing, when we pull out on Delaware Avenue, we’ll have questions — do we have a phone charger, did I remember the good filleting knife, extra reading glasses, is the AC off, water heater turned down, do we have some fresh CDs for the trip . .   I repeat myself, “Let’s go!”