We parents were watching our children’s soccer game. “Your son should smile more,” another mother instructed me. “He’s autistic,” came my deflective response. I hadn’t planned the quick untruth but it made me smile, and later, giggle.
We decided to test drive the Kia Soul with 45 minutes until closing. Luckily the dealership is in our hometown. The salesman inquired – are you familiar with the roads? We assured him without much of a brouhaha and off we went. I turned left off of Route 28 in West Yarmouth. It is a grid after all. Two additional turns and we were lost! We landed on a dirt road with a deep-looking puddle. Now we were just beginning to put the new car through its paces…
Question whether to use the new tool, the back up camera, to reverse down the narrow dirt road the 300 feet we traveled? Or best to inch our way through the outskirts of the puddle, being careful not to splash and hopefully not fall off the edge of the earth…
What would you do?
Through Lack of Exercise;
My Voice Roars When I Mean to Whisper;
And Whispers When I Mean to Roar
John has an old world charm. He and his “wife” are regulars at the pool but I hadn’t seen them all summer. Recently, they joined me in the hot tub. John’s wife began a conversation with an elderly woman she remembered from years ago. I felt very comfortable striking up a conversation with John, since his wife was right there. John said they had been busy swimming in the ocean all summer. When asked what beach they use, he answered that they go to a different one every day.
John talked about the place he was born, in the Pyrenees. I talked about my grandparents’ village in the Alps. John talked about his significant weight loss over recent months. I talked about my need to lose weight. John talked about how his lifelong career as a chef had prepared him to “know better.” I talked about how my degree in nutrition had prepared me to “know better.” John talked about losing his wife of 35 years, the love of his life. I listened. It turns out that the woman accompanying John to the pool each time is his very close friend, not his wife nor his girlfriend.
I suddenly felt awkward in the hot tub. How does one break off and exit after the sharing of such personal life stories. “So long” felt wrong, as did “goodbye.” Instead, I chose to say, “I’m sure I’ll see you again John.”
Most often, I feel shy or hesitant about attending a large event. I considered whether to attend Big Nick’s Ride for Cape Cod’s Fallen, which takes place in my hometown of Yarmouth, MA. I have seen the one-thousand plus motorcycles go through. This year, I had a personal interest in knowing more about the group. My son is presently in training to become a Marine. I gravitated towards the chance of meeting others who have served or the families of those who served. Although designed to recognize Gold Star Families of Cape Cod, the event description states the occasion is also for past, present and future service persons and their families.
My first tendency is to avoid feeling trapped at a large public gathering. I considered going to watch from a somewhat secluded part of the route, avoiding the fanfare. My husband pointed out that it would be a unique opportunity and perhaps I should “actually attend.” He certainly was right and I did attend.
Pulling up to the high school, I noticed that their were plenty of parking spots right up front. Well, I may as well park here I thought to myself. It did seem odd to me that there were so many available spots. I set up my folding chair along the route, after consulting with a group of Marines. Now the only thing to do was wait. I struck up conversations with the scattering of people who were there at a decent hour. I wondered out loud to several people asking where all the spectators were. “They’ll be here” I was told.
The Dennis fire truck came and unfurled its massive flag over the empty, but soon to be full of motorcycles, parking lot. Then we waited some more. I was told by a fellow spectator that the procession often gets a late start out of Bourne. The Gold Star father of “Big Nick” greeted people as they trickled in. I had a good conversation with a gentleman I later learned, was Nick’s uncle. While on the sidelines with my sign (see photo), a woman came by whose son is a Marine on his second deployment. We cried together like two old friends. A mother understands like no other.
I decided to engage through Facebook Live. There are military families I am connected with and wanted to share this event with them. I felt like a reporter on the scene. I spoke with a Marine, who happened to be female, and thoroughly enjoyed hearing about her experience. This event came to life through the many moments that others were generous and willing to share with me. The spectator parking never did quite fill, but there were many quality persons in attendance.
Nick’s father, in Marine dress blues, saluted the riders from beginning to end. It takes time for over 1,200 bikes to roll through and he stood at attention the entire time. After the bikes finished, he found a moment to speak to me about my son, who is presently a recruit at Parris Island. Nick was a graduate of Dennis-Yarmouth High School, as is my son. Nick’s uncle told him about me and he made a point to come by and speak to me. Just the thing you would expect from one with grace and dignity; having already given his precious son, here he was, on many levels, giving more.
Today, an old friend shared a photo of me at age 14.
“Seaweed is the common name for countless species of marine plants and algae that grow in the ocean as well as in rivers, lakes, and other water bodies.”
I recently spent a week at my lakeside camp in Vermont. I hadn’t been swimming there for a few years. And certainly not since I took up swimming laps at my local pool.
I was unpleasantly surprised by the amount of green things growing in the water. Is it called “seaweed” if it grows in a lake I wondered to myself. It grew so tall in patches that I could make out tiny tips just breaking the glassy water surface. My plan was to skirt the patches as best I could but it proved impossible. As the tentacles grabbed at my feet and legs, I hurried off in a different direction, in hopes of avoiding this more than unpleasant confrontation.
The second worry was the depth of the lake. One old-timer knowingly informed me that the lake is over 100 feet at its deepest, a glacier formed lake! I studied the lake’s depth map over the Internet and wondered if it is possible to swim across while avoiding crossing the most significant depths. I wasn’t confident in my map reading skills or my swimming ability without the security of knowing I can safely stop whenever needed.
At least in the depths, it would be very unlikely to experience the seaweed nipping at me! But while avoiding the depths, I would likely encounter the green stuff. I decided more than anything, I mostly needed someone to accompany me. No suitable companion was evident. Perhaps I’ll wait till next trip and bring a boogie board with a wrist strap to help build confidence in crossing the nearly one mile passage without totally panicking. There – I now have a challenge (or two) to look forward to!