Home Again

IMG_20170723_085212Most 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 event. 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 beach chair along the route, after consulting with a group of former 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.

History of the Ride

Facade

Day 1

“You have to look the part.” This was said from the twenty-something year-old pool manager to a forty-something year-old woman at the pool. She twitched. I overheard but did not process.

Day 2

I noticed the woman again; again she was with her two teenagers, a son and a daughter. On the surface I thought, isn’t that nice.  Unusual that these teenagers spend so much time with their mother at the pool!

Day 3

I notice the family of three. They are sinking lower into their cabana lounge chairs. They have been there a long time today without moving much. The mother looks tired, as though she could sleep but she doesn’t. The back of her chair is in the fully upright position. She is covered by a blue fuzzy blanket. She asks the staff person to close the door as a breeze has come up and she feels cold. Later, she and her daughter leave and bring back Styrofoam takeout containers with hot food and cold smoothies on the side.

Day 4

The mother and daughter are in their cabana again. Daughter has a dreamy, far away look in her eyes today.  As though gazing into a mirror, she holds up her cell phone. It has brought her away from this place. They have a collection of haphazard totes. An hour later, the son arrives and is greeted. He walks over and comforts his mother, patting her back. She is also far away and appears furlong, barely responding. The son carries most of the bags and the three leave together. It is 8pm.

My New Digs, My New Day

IMG_20170611_120507.jpg(“New” bag from Consigning Women – need a punch of pink for summer on Cape Cod!)

My pool venue ended on May 25th at the Bayside Resort – winter-season-only-don’t-you-know! It forced me into a pool finding frenzy and now I have it – the mostly perfect location for my 60-plus minute daily swims. With the new venue, this is what I now enjoy: an oversized indoor pool; generous hours including weekends; available year round; no black out times; life guard always on duty; towels provided both poolside and in the shower area; spa quality showers including spa products for member use; reasonable rate; and last but not least — the kids are scarce and DO stay out of the two, dedicated, ADULT ONLY swimming lanes!!! (fanfare playing softly)

Check Out Time

knit.jpg

The ladies of Brewster Ladies Library are just that, fine Brewster ladies. Two friends and I decided to try the knitting group held there on Tuesday evenings. Of the three of us, I was the only one who could make it. I told my friends that I would test the waters and report back to them. It was a rainy, windy Cape Cod evening. I wondered if anyone would show and felt relieved to think of the group being kept small due to the dark and dismal night. I arrived ten minutes late and was only the second person there.

My hastily packed knitting bag contained two skeins of yarn, two wooden sets of knitting needles, one aluminum size 10 ½ set of needles and no project or pattern. It is a knitting group after all and I felt certain the ladies would have patterns to share or at the very least – I was in a library – I could certainly find a knitting book or two. Each woman entering made a point to ask my name, repeat it once and then introduce themselves to me. They also continued to remember my name and use it from time to time, like fresh snow on the mountain.

I, on the other hand, remembered no ones name and couldn’t help but feel intimidated by the woman sitting across from me who was working on a single glove, knitting the fingers individually with tiny needles. I noticed that the middle finger protruded quite a bit beyond the others – ah progress. She reported that she told her husband not to come home if he ever lost one of these lovingly prepared, hand knit gloves.

During the course of the evening, I made several trips to the upstairs, bringing back knitting books to peruse the patterns, looking for my ideal easy knit scarf that l only require the two scans of yarn which I had already purchased and call for the size needles that I had randomly selected that morning. I made an attempt at casting on stitches using the “beginners method” as outlined in the back of the book. I kept my work under the table so that no one could see my clumsy hands working.

Before long, the women started packing up their projects and I searched for the time – ten to eight. With the library closing at 8:00,  I had just enough time to pop upstairs and check out my project book. I rushed across the hall and pressed the elevator button. Hmm, must’ve missed it, no sound. I pressed again. Nothing. I tried a third time.  

I checked in with the knitting group and they advised to use the stairs at the end of the hall. I rushed down only to find the door locked. I carried the three books back into the meeting room and asked the women about closing procedure. Yes, they calmly acknowledge that the library was locking up and there is one way out – through the exterior door at the opposite end of the hallway. Not wanting to fully disclose my dilemma with the library books, I rushed the door and enter the outside world of typhoon weather, walking briskly to the far side of the building without an umbrella or jacket, towards the front door which was still aglow in bright light. It was a welcome beacon. I hustled up the two and ½ flights noticing a large clock on the wall inside the door. Two minutes before eight. I clutched the handle pressing down on it. Nothing. Solid as a rock locked. I had placed the three library books into my bag for protection from the rain. The only thing I could think to do was rush to my car to get out of the weather. I was soaked to the bone and felt flustered and alone.

In many ways this tiny episode represents much of what happens to me in life. I linger, collect information, and analyze without making a commitment until I absolutely must. This felt like a slow motion dream, banging at the door, wanting entry desperately, rushing from one door to the next. One minute too late – sorry we’re closed. I hope this doesn’t happen to me when it really counts – at The Pearly Gates. In the meanwhile, what do I do with these three library books!?!