Sunday, December 20, 2009

A Model of Percussion

The wreath remains in place.

The blizzard predicted hit as predicted. While we often recall the times the weatherman gets it wrong rather than right, this time the forecasters had our backs. Nearly every window is bocked with snow blown through the screens. Those that have storms are covered in ice. There is a glaze over the big windows on the Tower that diffracts the gray light as it tries to get in. I will take a look tonight to see what it does to the lighthouse lens as it spins.

I was just out working on the driveway in a scouring wind. The snow is frozen in clumps that I tried to throw up in the air so that the wind would take it toward the ocean. The drifts are being pushed to the south as the gusts have been out of the north and up to 58 miles per hour. You would believe the snow to be hail as it pings off the coat. All night we could hear it upstairs along with a gigantic bass note from the ocean. It was a model of percussion. There would be a pattern of tips and taps on the roof followed by a boom of bass like you might hear on the highway when passed by a seventeen year old in a Firebird. The cottage seemed to vibrate with each thrum.

Blizzard #1 is in the books.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

A Wizard with the Blizzard

Why don't they give storms like these names?

We have a blizzard coming and the winds are the first phase. The bow on the wreath is nearly off (again) and the TV crews did a three second stand up on the rocks about 5 minutes ago before running for cover. Jules thought it was lightning ahead of the storm. The shovels and the rock salt have been dug out from storage and we are sitting back, crossing our fingers about holding on to the lights. We have plenty of blankets though, love our PB & J's, are sitting on 10 pounds of fudge made with my mother's recipe, so all things considered, we are set. These are the nights we have been waiting to see. There is magic in the air.

And it might make my wreath disappear.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Ho Ho Ho

Flying Santa is a crowd pleaser.

The annual visit of Flying Santa to Cedar Point just wrapped up minutes ago. For eighty years now Flying Santa has visited Lightkeepers by plane and by helicopter. For more on the story visit Friends of Flying Santa.

A very grateful group met with the Jolly Old Elf and had photographs taken while sharing candy canes.

A funny comment overheard as kids climbed in and out of the aircraft: "You can see Santa any day at the mall, but when do you get this close to a helicopter?" Try this link to see the landing.

Thanks to the Scituate Highway Department, the Scituate Fire Department and Officers McLaughlin and Steverman of the Scituate Police Department. Thanks also to Linda Martin for the photograph of our family.

Photographs by Julie Gallagher.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Its Beginning ...

To look a lot like Christmas here at the Keeper's Cottage.
A quick hit today just to pass on a few pictures as we decorate in anticipation of Flying Santa's arrival on Saturday. (Also - let me know if you saw Haley on TV the other night)

Friday, December 4, 2009

On the Catwalk

Spent some time up top this week.

Hanging the Christmas wreath was on the list of 39 things I signed off on to do when chosen to be the new keeper. I certainly had seen it done and had the good sense to buy the wreath early in the hope of good weather giving me an easy time to put it up.

The process began last Saturday morning. The wind was down at 8:00 am and I got the ropes out to rig the wreath, laying them out in the yard and measuring out where I thought I wanted the wreath to fall against the tower. Having tied some knots to hold those measurements, I went up top, got the door to the catwalk open, creeped out there, dropped the ropes, and pulled the wreath up top. Gloves were a must; I found out the hard way by not having them on as the big green circle of pines made the trip up.

There were two causes for caution while out on the catwalk. First, the wind had picked up in the half hour or so I had been working. That brought the temperature down some and made the gloves even more necessary. (I had come down to get them) The second cause was that the catwalk is metal. I have only been out there a few times and each time in summer when the metal was warmer and seemed to have more texture. In the cold it seemed a little slick.

I got the wreath strung along the lines I had laid out while in the yard. A cord wrapped and knotted at the top, call it at 11 and 1 on the clock face, and then looped and tied again at the bottom at 7 and 5. I weighted the ends of the line and dropped them over to tie off at the bottom. There was a hang up with one that slowed me down a bit, but by five after 9 I had it up. One more trip up top let me adjust one of the top cords to center the wreath, another somewhat daunting trip on the catwalk as I found out that there is a pitch on the parking lot side; slight but real or at least an optical illusion that makes leaning down to adjust a knot on that side a more interesting (euphemism for shaky legged)task.

Thursday was very windy here on Cedar Point. Gusts over 50 miles per hour greeted me in the morning, knocking my glasses off of my head and blowing them down the driveway before I got in the car to go to work. A check on the wreath showed that it had taken a beating over night in the wind. The bow was gone and the lines I had set had become tangled with the flagpole line that climbs the tower. I came home that afternoon, consulted with David Ball, and headed back up to clean up the mess.

The wreath had not been set tight against the tower. I had set the lines inside the posts that rise from the catwalk rather than set them outside and that had allowed the wreath to spin and to tangle. Just as I had unwound all the ropes Dave came along to coach me through the last few steps. Though it was a little windy up on top, carrying off every third word Dave sent up, it was warmer and moving on the walk was easier. At least I was more confident while the adjustments were made left and right. My thanks to David.

So as of Saturday December 5,2009 the Christmas wreath is properly installed on Old Scituate Light. Flying Santa will be here next weekend and it will be my honor to welcome him to the Point. One of the very first posts on this blog included the pictures from Flying Santa's visit last December.

You might describe the year like I just described the trips to the catwalk, tentative and instructive at first, increasingly confident as time has past. We have learned a ton, made mistakes and cleaned up after them, gotten more right than wrong when it was all said and done. Christmas in this cottage is going to be great.

Saturday, November 28, 2009


The wind is blowing the wrong way.

I know that that is not possible but there is a new sound and a new sight here on the Point this morning. The wind is gusting from the Southwest and the waves are running out of the harbor as a result. The gusts passing across the chimneys are making a whole new kind of whistle. These are the subtle storms that alter the beach - you can almost see the sand moving in the water. The splash is on the harbor side of the small jetty and a current is pushing birds out of the mouth of the harbor on a line straight east. It is very cool to see. The whistles will take some getting used to though.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Filling in the Blanks

I know that this may be hard to believe but some of my students tell me that they find history boring.

They object to the names and the dates, the causes and effects, the dead white men and the occasional woman. They find their textbook flavorless, merely an anchor in the shape of a book, holding them back, dulling their senses.

What they are missing is the way that history fires the imagination. Today is Thanksgiving Day; historically a day hidden in myth and misunderstanding. When I think of it I first consider the facts. A group displaced from Europe to a place where feeding themselves was a constant challenge, where hostile tribes emerged from the woods with questions about why so many of their own had recently died, where the truce that eventually held them together would dissolve into a sadistic violence called King Phillip's War. It is an act of imagination to complement the facts with interpretation - to choose what qualities should be highlighted and which could be relegated to a lesser position.

Today we recall the courage and the determination it took for the Pilgrims to stay here. We watch in awe at the recreations of their crossing and landing and that agonizing first winter. It is a matter of perspective though, as, if a group went to the moon today, and had half of its members die within a year, and eventually created a permanent enemy in the natives it found there, no amount of interpretation would find any virtue in it.

The facts only take you so far. The textbook can deliver the student to a point, and it is a useful place to be, but it is not the whole picture. Imagination fills in the blanks. It puts tastes on the tongue, butterflies in the pit of your stomach, the waves under the ships, and the angers and the passions that moved those dead white men and occasional woman to act, to write, to move, to stay, to lie, and to pledge. If you want to know history you have to take that leap, to give yourself over to the much more challenging prospect of imagining. My advice is to go for it.

Monday, November 9, 2009

An Appreciation

Its quiet here now.

Even with an amazing November underway - Weatherbug had the temp at 70 yesterday - it is still very peaceful here now.  Even when there are folks around the Tower or on the beach there is a hush.  October was noisy.  Waves and stone, and the crowds here to watch both.  In my memory November is the gray month and with the gray, reflection.  

There is still a great deal to do.  I am trying to take advantage of the weather to prepare the gardens for next year.  I cleaned out a pretty good pile of bamboo along the fence just yesterday. I have burlap to wrap up some of the newer shrubs and Julie's rose bush.  I have plugged a number of holes in the past few weeks and covered up the windows in shrink wrap.  Perhaps that is making the house soundproof as well as weather proof. Summer clothes and towels, bikes and kayaks are all tucked away waiting for the spring training games to begin.  I have found the old sweaters and found the new moth holes in those sweaters.  We have the newest school picture of Haley (and she's got a full bore smile in it.) One term of grades is entered and my courses now turn to the First Amendment, to Theodore Roosevelt and then to World War 1.

The flag flies at half staff for the soldiers lost at Fort Hood several days ago. As I write I remember that tomorrow is the Marine Corps birthday.  Each year until they passed, my father or my uncle Tom (both Marines) would call and ask me if I knew what the day was.  It was a test I had to pass or there would be consequences. I will think of them and of John Dow tomorrow. John was a fifteen year old Marine in the Pacific like Uncle Tom.  He lost some fingers out there. His son was wounded in Viet Nam and his grandson in Iraq.  These are November thoughts, of gratitude and awe. I argue in class that the First World War was the most important event of the twentieth century; that those lost were the hope of the millenium, inspired to tinker with the world, to right wrongs, to offer imagination as antidote to misunderstanding. Small wonder we still mourn them on Veterans Day; Armistice Day for my grandfather who was there when it ended.

The quiet is a good thing. It gives us time to set the restless energy down and to think before the rush of the winter holidays are on us. It gives us time to recognize the daring and the sacrifices of those we still lean on for lessons. The United States has a great number of men and women under fire and in danger right now as it has had before. The quiet has in it the chance to calmly hope they make it home safely and to hope their families know just how much the generosity of their service is appreciated.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Goodbye Rock, Paper, Scissors

Now I can say yes.

Since arriving in February I have been asked three or four times a week if there have been any big storms out here on the Point.  As of today I can answer in the affirmative.  A surging tide washed up along the walkway (pictured left) and even into the front yard on the harbor side.  Haley captured the 45 minutes or so of the biggest push.

This buzz began on Thursday night with as loud a wind as I can remember since the No Name/Perfect Storm of Halloween 1991.  Beating down the windows like a drumming octopus, the wind woke me up on Thursday with a relentless thumping.  It was as cool and as ominous as that moment in Jaws when the shark makes its first appearance.  Even with the wind however, there was no sign of any debris the next morning and you could still see from the windows.

Not this morning.  The cars were limed with salt and the windows are as cloudy as a shaken bottle of bleach.  I rinsed everything off this afternoon and came into the house only to find that my glasses, perched on the top of my head as usual, had been caught in the same spray in the time it took to spray the cars.  Most of the stuff in the yard that I thought might be threatened had been tucked away earlier in the week.  The couple of chairs that I had left out were blown over though and the wicker rocker we have in the yard must have done a pretty good dance to end up where it was.  The same kind of wind is expected tomorrow so maybe I will get a chance to watch another episode of The Rocking Chair Waltz.

Haley, her friend Kristen, and I went out after the tide and cleaned up - it didn't take long. The Highway Department came along and cleaned up the road so cars could pass safely.  There were people out checking out the waves though and when I saw one woman in her late sixties nearly break an ankles negotiating the walkway I had to do something about it.
That kind of thing sticks with me until I fix it. We got it back in shape but another high tide is coming again tomorrow so we tried to throw the big ones toward the house and the little ones toward the ocean.  Maybe tomorrow we'll only get the little ones back.

There is nothing like the power of the ocean. It rolls stones you could not pick up with a crane and tosses them with a grunt that female tennis players would envy. Five lobster traps are wrecked outside the window. Metal shredded by water and boulder and wind. Haley found a dollar in the debris which was in far better shape (all things considered) than the lobster traps. We are going to frame it as a momento.  Golf balls wacked out to sea rolled up into the yard along side what could be a four foot long fence post. It is just amazing to witness and study and ponder.

As kids we all mastered the game of Rock, Paper, Scissors. We had each gesture down and we knew the rules like we knew the sound of our mother's voice. No one ever had it explained to them; we all just knew it after one round of watching. We need to update it somehow. Somehow invent a new gesture. Something with both hands, both feet and a running start. Forget Rock, Paper, Scissors; Water trumps them all.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

A Messy Open House

Next Sunday is the date for fifth Open House of the year. Old Scituate Light will be open from 1:00 to 4:00 for tours of the cottage and the Tower.

This morning we had an Open House with a twist. As I gathered together recycling and trash for the Sunday morning dump run I left the runway door to the yard open and the runway door to the cottage open. A small white dog chased a gull into the yard and scooted by me into the runway. In a second the dog was in the cottage and I was wondering when exactly I was going to hear from the couple who had started out with this dog when they had left home. I found the dog in the utility room and began the cajoling to get it toward an open door. Fido zipped by me again and I discovered the pup in the living room on the small couch we have there. The next move was off the couch and back down the runway; I am following and closing doors as I go now to reign in the hound. The Tower stairs slowed the canine down and at last the curious guest was outside again where the owners began to call "Lucy" from outside the fence. I grabbed the collar at last as the pooch headed back to the runway door and walked "Lucy" over to the fence line.

I will leave the reader to guess the messy gift Lucy left me in the utility room.  I could go with pun after pun here but I won't. Provide your own in the comments.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Light the Candle

The Light is out tonight.

For the first night since we got here in February the Light does not shine out over the water. The bulb will be replaced in the next day or two but for tonight I will look out this window and consider what past keepers had to do to keep the light on.

There was an oil tank some 15 yards to the left of where I am sitting to type this entry. A keeper would make his way to the well and proceed from there to the walkway and up the stairs. 32 steps later it was two ladders to get him to the lantern room and the lens. My admiration for those keepers has grown and grown as I have been here. For those that took the walk to the far end of the big jetty I have an even greater admiration. That red light is doing all the work tonight as it did for the 134 years that saw the Tower light extinguished.

The wind tore a screen out of an upstairs window last night. In that kind of wind, in all kinds of weather, the job was to keep the light on for mariners. I miss the whir of it; the pattern can hypnotize. Tonight the horizon is an oil slick and the knock of the rocks is the only way to know where you are. Light the candle again; we don't take it for granted; we know what it does for us.

Thursday, October 1, 2009


I was wondering what the noise was as I walked around the house picking up.

Bamboo grows all around the cottage and it is especially thick near the lanyard for the Tower flag. I took some time this week to cut it back and because once I get going I keep going, when I got to the ocean side, by the walkway that takes you out to the jetties, I heard a thrum like the sound a roaring bass makes as a car bounces down the street. I cleaned up the far corner, knocking down the weeds and the bamboo and improving the view from this desk, and as I walked back with my pile for the dump, I heard the same sound again. I could not figure out what it was.

The wind was blowing like crazy but I couldn't see a connection. It wasn't the roll of the rocks on the ocean side beach. It wasn't the trawlers heading out. I stopped to wrap up the hose and to hide it inside an old wash bucket that I use when the cameras are popping around here, when I heard it again. It seemed to be coming from inside the house, near the oil tank. I leaned against the storm window to take a peek and it stopped. I leaned back and it started up again.

The wind was hitting the house in such a way that the storm window was vibrating against the window frame. The angle was just right so that the frequency created the bass thump that I heard. I grabbed a screwdriver and tightened it up. Poof - silenced reigned. This place remains full of surprises after almost eight months.

An hour later the song came;

Away out here they got a name
For rain and wind and fire
The rain is Tess, the fire Joe,
And they call the wind Maria

Sunday, September 13, 2009

New Season

A quiet week here on the Point.

I was told that Labor Day would bring a calm and this week proved the case. I began checking all the windows and dogging them down after the wind rose on Monday night and began blowing things around the house at 2:00 am. With the windows closed the house is remarkably quiet. You have to make sure that each of the top windows is pushed fully up though or a terrific whistle results. Also the traffic in the neighborhood was down considerably. The bloom of half the flowers is in full retreat. The bustle of rods and reels heading to the jetty and the buzz of children on the beach all but vanished. The kids in are in school until 4:00 this year with a bulging bus bringing them home much later than last year. Even the car club on Thursday night had far fewer cars to visit. There was only one wedding on Saturday in the rain and the couple came without the entourage, snapped a few pictures by the Tower and by the harbor side and went on their way minutes later. The tide was very high and a fog rolled in that prompted a booming fog horn but other than that everything has been scaled back in the new season.

Saturday, September 5, 2009


Stick with me here - there is a payoff.

Since moving in here in February we have seen a manifestation of humanity that is awe inspiring. All kinds of peoples, with all kinds of things, with all kinds of styles. Guys with 30 packs and guys with six packs. Guys that look like Tupac. Women with braids, with bouffants, with bandanas, with bananas. Children that are scrubbed and children in need of scrubbing. They pull up in cars of every make and every model and the car clubs are a constant display of the forgotten and resurrected from Detroit. (We had an old Ford Falcon on display the other night and I wondered why you can't buy a Falcon today) We have heard dialects from all over and just last Friday had guests from Germany who taught Haley a phrase or two. We have seen every body shape from the current ideal to the dangerously unhealthy. We have seen people with their pets, people who want to pray, people who exercise, people who haven't exercised since grade school gym, people who sing well and people who curse frequently, walkers, runners, bikers, motor cyclists, (including a local padre who was pointed out to me in full riding regalia), kayakers, surfers, sailors, rowers, swimmers, divers, fisherman, new borns, veterans, speeders, artists in every medium, dummies who head up Lighthouse Road the wrong way, and kite flyers. We have seen the pampered, the diapered, the hungry, the happy, the courting, the breaking up, the bored, the lost, the tense, the torn, the terrible, the trembling, the giggling, the goofy, and the gallant. There have been subs and pizza, chinese and chop suey, cheese and crackers, strawberry shortcakes and ice cream sandwiches. Coke, Pepsi, Moxie, Milk, Margaritas, Frappes, Floats and every possible kind of water bottle found under heaven. We have seen a range of fabrics from Gortex to burlap, most times in sufficient quantities but sometimes in an inadequate quantity. I am prepared to say that we have seen everything but a full fledged streaker. (And we don't want to either) 

Then there is this guy. Haley took the photographs. Only in America where individuality takes every possible form.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Who Knew?

In the six plus months that we have lived here in the Keeper's Cottage we have seen people come and gather seaweed for their gardens.  I guess I had heard that it had remarkable properties as a fertilizer and a mulch but recently I have seen a devotion to it that is off the chart.  

The gentleman in the photographs comes from Stoughton and twice he has arrived by the side of the cottage to gather seaweed from the ocean side beach.  He has worked like a whirlwind and I sent Haley out on a photojournalistic mission to capture that effort.


This stuff must be something for him to work so hard at it. He has to have hauled away close to 500 pounds of it.

On his most recent visit last week he asked to borrow a pail in order to gather periwinkles for his wife.  He told us she would cook them in a garlic broth and eat them with a pin. Who knew?

Monday, August 24, 2009

First of Many


Packed the bag to bursting this weekend.

All summer long different car clubs stop by on different nights. Haley went out on Thursday to check out the wheels and found out it was "Free Dog Night." She also saw some very cool cars.

Friday I took some time to open up a new garden on the walkway side of the house.I had planted a few things there some time ago and thought it was time to bust out and clean up.I am very grateful to Mary and Clem for bringing by some perennials to help me fill it in.

Saturday saw us getting ready for our Open House and we had several visitors while we cleaned. Debbie, Charlie and Lizzie got pulled in when I saw them as I cleaned and pulled back some curtains to get to a window.A very nice surprise to catch up with this sister of an old good friend.Haley looked up later to see one of my colleagues and her husband and we took them through the old place as well.  Haley has always had an abiding affection for Mrs. Lifrere.

Saturday night we listened as Hurricane Bill made some noise outside the window.The rush of the water was intermittent; there would be a roar and then it would die down for a time only to return without a pattern.We woke up Sunday morning to welcome our visitors for the day to find a pretty good pile of sand and stone thrown across the road.Haley took it on herself to grab a shovel and tried to make a dent.


                                                                                                                                                          As we set up for the day I was revisited by a couple I had met a few weeks ago while mowing the lawn. Mr. and Mrs. Adams have come to Scituate for 25 years and when we met we got to talking about a particular photograph they have of the Cottage and Light in winter. Having seen it now I am even more eager to see this harbor as calm and this house as peaceful as this photograph showed it. This was a terrific way to move the day along. 

Donna Elias and her husband Les Kammerman were our guests here all day Sunday.They set up an art show in the drive and on the lawn and were set upon by browsers and buyers all day. If any two people worked harder yesterday than those two did I would like to know who they could possibly be. Donna is an acclaimed artist who specializes in Lighthouses and Coastal scenes. Les is just a plain old great guy. Haley made fast friends again.

Our fourth Open House began at 1:00 and I will take this opportunity to thank each of the volunteers who have come out to the Point for each of the Open House dates to help Julie, Haley, and I tell the stories and teach the history. Peter & Barbara Whitfield, Susan Ahern, Dick Egan, Duncan Bates Todd, Sophia Ferrara, Maria Leighton, Ken Gallagher, and Maureen Upton made visiting the Lighthouse a treat for the nearly 900 men, women, and children that have come through in the four days. We deeply appreciate their help.

Sunday had a side show element to it as a significant crowd gathered to check out the waves.I did have to have the police come down when a neighbor approached just before 1:00 to tell me that two young boys had made their way out to the tip of the big jetty to get blasted by the waves.Today's headlines scream of the danger they were in as two people were killed in similar settings elsewhere. These boys were brought in successfully. Just as the tide was full high around 2:00 a massive wave threw seaweed and stone on the walkway near the new garden I had worked on Friday. I was pointing out some detail in the office room where the history is gathered and this one stopped me midsentence. First of many I thought to myself, first of many.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Hang Ten

And his name is Bill.

We get our first peak at a hurricane as what is left of the one time category four hurricane Bill comes a knocking tomorrow.  All day today the wind has picked up, blowing papers around each in room and knocking magnets off of the refrigerator. I am tuned into the Weatherbug site like it is my job to check the gusts.  The flagpole at the top of the Tower was whipping back and forth like it was in the hand of a jockey in second place.  Even after I took that flag down there was still a bend in it. In these lead winds it is a giant bendy straw.  I cannot wait until tomorrow though I hope it has cleared out by Sunday as we are hosting Lighthouse artist Donna Elias during our fourth Open House.  I also hope that the crowds will not be reckless in taunting the waves. Lets everyone use their heads out there.

Sunday, August 16, 2009


7:30 Sunday morning.

A knock on the door at that hour means emergency to me.  I am half asleep but scoot downstairs to answer the door.  A woman in her forties or fifties stands opposite the screen. In an accent I cannot place (could be French Canadian?)  she asks if she could have some water for her fuzzy small dog.  As I do not know what time it is initially, my first instinct is that this is a joke of some sort. I am expecting an emergency after all. When I come to my senses I tell her no.  She asks again. She wants to use the hose by the vegetable garden. I tell her no again as so many people visit here that were I to help her, I would be opening the gates to bedlam.  She begins to apologize.

I close the door and I wonder: will she stop at any one else's house at 7:30 on a Sunday morning and think it is okay to knock and ask for water for the thirsty pile of lint.  How would she respond if it happened at her house? I hear her complaining that I did not help her as she climbs into a truck. She must have joined her husband for some early fishing. They seem to have all the gear. They should have included more H2O.

Friday, August 14, 2009

What We Hear

Unplug your Ipod for a minute.

I have been waiting on this topic, waiting so I could be thorough.  There are so many sounds: some musical and some grating.

The wind chime in the kitchen, unpredictable and echoing with the very low ceiling there. 

The thud of Haley's feet on the stairs, though truth told there is no quiet way to go up or down as somewhere in the middle there is one stair that groans.

The whir of the gear that drives the light, lurching when it first comes on, surprising even when you are expecting it.

The siren of the Harbormaster, usually chasing a boat wide open and thumping against the waves a little bit past the no wake sign.

The thrum of the lobster boats and the trawlers early in the morning, unique pings in each engine that I might get to know after a while.

The screechs on the beach on a good day; I never know if they are signs of trouble or of fun. Though they are mostly caused by splashing, I wince anyway.

Booming laughter from a young guy at three in the morning as he and his girl dodge the streetlights with a walk on the jetty and the beach. He has no idea I can hear him.  It makes for a laugh that lacks any self conscientousness.

The rap of the line that takes the flag up to the Tower on a windy day, persistent as a metronome; so regular that you would half expect to see a mark on the side of the Tower at the end of the day.

Foreign languages on the beach or in the parking lot; travelers planning the rest of their day in a blur of consonants and vowels for which I never had a gift.  It can be guttural; it can be lyrical. The neat thing is that they have come here from so far away.

Seagulls caw. It is a morning noise. By 2:00 they are gone who knows where.

The crunch of footsteps on the rocks that line the walkway to the Light.  There was a sunrise Mass last weekend with a liturgy that many could recite word for word.  Missing was the music you might get in a church.  Present at the end was the crunch of all those feet on all those small stones.  It was the sound you would get if you filled up the aisle of a church with Rice Krispies treats just as the service was ending.

There is a whistle like a tea kettle when a window is not dogged tightly. You find this out when the wind comes out of the the northeast and the flag stand out like cartoon canine pointers. It was a while before we figured out the windows drop down from the top and that was where the howl started.

The collective awe of a massive crowd on the night of the annual Luminaria event that kicks off Heritage Days.  Between 8:00 and 10:30 that night I would guess that nearly 2000 people came to or through the Point.  The lights set up all along the coast were inspiring enough but when the moon began to rise out of the ocean and it rose like the ripest of apples on an invisible string, the gathered crowd gasped as one voice.

The slap against the leg of a fisherman's cooler, coming and going.  Quieter coming back as the coolers are a bit lighter after a stretch out on the jetty if you catch my drift.

Another song.

Men and women seemingly talking to themselves as they check out the message board or head by the fence.  It is only after they turn that you see the cell phone or the bluetooth.

A gaggle of women catching up on the gossip just outside the living room window.  They don't know we can hear them and how we laugh when we hear them say goodbye to each other and move on only to come back together with one last thing three times.

The cannon from the yacht club marking sun down; getting earlier quickly it seems.

Cursing at all hours from every walk of life; we can hear you, we know all the words, we wish you would find another way to say it and if you can't, we wish you would go away.

The breathless conversations of the bicyclers; the ones I hate are the ones who can chat without breathing hard.

The click, click, click of my push lawn mower. It is a conversation starter every time I take it out and it always takes me back to the spring of 1970 when I would push one back and forth on Myrtle Street for Grampa Delaney.  I got paid in silver dollars and used them to buy Tom Jones and Bill Cosby records.

The voice of a pre school teacher with a pile of little ones gathered around her in our living room. Their picnic had been rained on and they came inside to have a story read to them.  The tale of Rebecca and Abigail never sounded so good.

The timer in the utility room that governs the Light and the light on the flagpole.  On the night of the Luminaria when the crowd outside got to a size that was intimidating if you were in the house, I went out in the yard to get a feel for what was happening just in time to hear a complaint that the flag should not be up without a light on it.  I took three steps back toward the utility wing and had my hand on the door when a loud snap signalled the light.  We got that stuff covered here thanks to Mr. Houghton.

The soft lap of the waves on a warm wind day and the pound of the rocks falling into the road when the tide has pushed them over on a not so warm wind day. The back door will bounce too until you lock it down when that bad weather knocks.

The Pavlovian jingle of the ice cream truck mid afternoon and the subsequent hustle of the beach goers and of Haley.  There is one disturbing tune that plays sometimes; it was used in the film Schindler's List. I can't hear without losing my appetite altogether. It will be great theatre the day the van's arrival coincides with a wedding ceremony.

The pulse of the pipes when you try to run the sink, shower, and washer at the same time.  It can happen when a neighbor grabs a hose to help out with the flowers at the islands too. It is the noise you hear on the first day after a seventeen year old installs a bass speaker in his car.

The cacophony created when the Disney Channel mixes with the Red Sox game and a crime show all at the same time.

And finally (for now) a dead quiet just before the sun rise, the proverbial hush, a lack of sound that is like a pat on the back when you most need one; it is humbling, calming, neccessary and one of the great gifts we have found living here to date.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

More Ink

Want the heads up about Haley?

Bay State Parenting magazine came down to visit a couple of months ago and the article is just out. Carrie Wattu has done a great job describing our adjustment to life in the Cottage and the photographs by Robea Patrowicz are terrific. I was especially pleased with how Carrie and Robea captured Hales enthusiasm for the place and for all the people we meet. Check it out!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

The Dam Burst

I got a little giddy okay.

A year ago Julie and I were invited to visit the Lighthouse and to meet Ruth as part of the interview process for the new Lightkeeper.  I had been through the regular tour and had seen all of the cottage but for the rooms upstairs.  Our visit happened to coincide with the annual youth regata held by the Scituate Yacht Club.  

I made my way up the stairs; rope bannister to a landing and a room we knew we would use as Haley's bedroom if we were chosen, two windows that overlook the harbor and the parking lot, through one of two doors into an equally large room with closets the length of the far side. The chimney runs through the dead center of the house and these two rooms.  Ruth and Julie were chatting while I measured with my eyes.  Would the bed fit up those stairs?  Would we need a split box spring?  (The answer was yes.)  Could we use the nooks and crannies and closets to our advantage?  Then I moved to the window.

What I saw is what you will see in the picture below. All I could think was that this was going to be the view each morning. All I could think was that from one window you look all the way to Ireland and from the other, Spain. I was trying to be cool and collected. The dam burst though and Ruth called me on it. "Look at you,"  she said, "You can hardly hold it in you're so excited." There was a rush of adrenaline that had me flying.  I had it again this week when I considered how quick a year it has been and the fact that it is only the first leg of this regatta for us.  We have the wind now and we are sailing.

(Click on the slideshow and scroll through for an even better look)

Monday, August 3, 2009

An Unexpected Question, A Thank You, and an Oregon followup

"Which of us is responsible for dead animals in the yard?"

Anyone ever ask you that one?  Julie laid it on me today around 1:30 when she noticed the headless squirrel just inside the gate that leads to the beach. My initial response was, " If you killed it, then you have to get rid of it."  I was met with a light blue remark for that witticism.

The Cedar Point Foxes (not to be confused with the group of women who are surely planning to use that name on a float in this year's Labor Day Parade) had left us this delightful gift.  We know they are here.  Sandy paws mark the lengths of our cars.  One of Haley's sneakers was carried off from the back step.  While there was an inital curiosity to them and their fearlessness led to surprising scenes, I am taking the position that their charms have become elusive.  Time to go.

Changing gears, we have had the great priviledge this summer of getting to know a group of students and their teacher.  Brian Halowack, Melanie Siebert, and Andrie Grandmont have spent their mornings cleaning up around Lighthouse Park and painting around the Lighthouse grounds. Julie has enjoyed their company enormously.  Our thanks as well to their teacher, Margaret Jenkins, who has been here in past summers and ran the show again. We hope to see you next year.

Several posts ago I had promised that I would add in some more images from Haley's trip. Here are two to cool you down as the humidity rises around here.  One from the wonder that is the Multnomah Falls and the other from Mount Hood. Yes, that is Haley up to the knee in snow.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

The Triple Threat and Plan B

Lots of adventure between 3:30 and 5:00 today.

Wedding hysteria at the Lighthouse today as three (count em) three wedding parties arrived at once; two determined to hold the ceremony while the other sought to have an amazing array of photographs taken.  There were no blows, but there were tears from one bride as the queque was created.  

The Green dresses took the pole position and got some amazing photographs on the jetty.  We have not seen a photographer array the party as this one did - they were spread out on the jetty, the bridesmaids in a light green while three adorable flower girls stood out in white.   The photographer had a ladder as well which was a new twist but probably guaranteed him an angle on the whole crew.

The Orange dresses took up the second position and they held the ceremony on the rocks out in front of the Light. This bride rallied from her initial disappointment to light up out there, surrounded by her friends and family.  

The last crew was led by the Barefoot Bride.  They waited the longest and considered holding their ceremony out by the information board.  I had Jules move her car so they had a clear shot at the Tower for their photos but they figured out they would have the Orange crew in the shots and decided to wait.  Once their turn came they got right to it and lingered for a time afterward. They probably got the best light for their patience.  

I have to admit I do wonder at their bravery.  Last Saturday a couple got married out by the information board after attempting to place an arbor on the beach in 2o mile an hour gusts. How you could plan for a wedding on the beach with the weather as a variable is beyond me. There has to be a plan B I don't know about for these couples to take such a chance.

A year from now the Triple Threat will be an embellished story; ten years from now the story will include a fistfight; ten years after that no one will have looked at the pictures for nineteen years.  I hope to still be here telling new stories and wondering if there is a Plan B.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

In the Sea

We put the kayaks in after dinner tonight.

A half moon over First Cliff at 7:30. Water blue in the harbor; gone to black as we went around the small jetty and headed up along the right side of the big one. A very slight chop out there. A magnificent sailboat returning to port under a grey blue sky that might be the Detroit Lions colors. Haley clipping along, chatting up a fisherman on the little jetty, telling him not to get pulled into the drink by catching a shark. Oddly quiet otherwise; there was no breeze to bang the halyards into the masts. Sun falling into the trees; soft orange light hitting the Cottage and the Tower. People on the benchs that line the Park watching us paddle; each seeming to smile at the easy pace of the kayaks and the way this kid can handle hers.

Best day of the summer so far? Possibly. A line from ee cummings came to me:

For whatever we lose(like a you or a me)

it’s always ourselves we find in the sea

Sunday, July 26, 2009

A Record Day

Ruth warned me.

Today was the day I got a peek at what was forewarned.  Today I was the mean guy who had to boot out the Kodaks and the Nikons and the wedding guest with the urge to go.

In the six months we have been here I would say there has been a total of 6 people who I have asked, with tact, to move on.  Today there has been an even dozen.  Four took the news badly.

We have a target now though - a benchmark - a standard against which we can measure the inablility of people to not note the different occasions where the drive and the property is marked private.  We have a day when the bold and brash and bumbling were turned back in the number of the donut maker.  

I wonder what the number will have to be for me to want the rain back.

An update - I also had to put my first call in to the Scituate Police Department when awakened by a couple hollering at each other the very next night. It was 1:15 am and it was anything but Valentine's Day out there. I began dialing as she began throwing rocks at his truck.  By the time the officer arrived, things had cooled down and I never did get the resolution.  

Surprise Inside

Being organized has its blessings

As I sorted through the images Haley brought back from the other coast I found these pictures taken several weeks ago.  I don't know who built them or why (most of the time we see kids throwing rocks; I have seen more arms in these six months than a chair maker sees in his whole life)  but without a doubt these sculptures were very cool and Julie got these great shots to share.

There is also a new one of the garden in full bloom.  If you check back through the images in the slideshow you will see we have gone from nothing to something.  All of the rain we have had has brought some blessings too I guess.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Oregon Promised Kept

Haley has returned safe and sound.

Haley has spent the last 10 days in motion, by air, by boat, and by various forms of car. She has been traveling with my sister Lee to visit my sister Christine on the Oregon Coast. While visiting, she toured two different lighthouses, Yaquina Bay and Heceta Head. We are sharing a photograph of the Yaquina Light and one of Haley alongside a volunteer from the Oregon Park Service. Hales promised Ranger Lee that she would have me post this picture when she got home. Consider the promise kept.

We will report more on this trip in the next week as we sort through all the pictures and videos.

Monday, July 20, 2009


If all the other bloggers jumped off a bridge, would you do it too?

Each website you might visit has the FAQ section and after consideration I decided to join the crowd. A common set of questions has emerged after six months and today's blog holds my answers to those regular queries.

Question 1: How did you get this position?

In the summer of 2008 Ruth Downton decided that she would step down as Lighthouse Keeper. The Scituate Historical Society created an application describing the duties and obligations of the Keeper. Those who were not scared off by the list of 39 dos and don'ts  were asked to write a cover letter explaining what they could bring to the table.  26 couples or individuals were then interviewed. I would like to think it was a combination of my having helped the Society with a number of projects in the past, having a track record as a reliable tenant at the Maritime and Mossing Museum, and having been trained as a history teacher, that vaulted my wife and I toward the job. We were not spooked by what would be asked of us; we looked forward to it.

Question 2: How long do you get to stay?

The Lighthouse Keeper is a tenant at will. Simeon Bates served from 1811 to 1834. George and Ruth Downton from 1986 to 2009. We are hoping we can beat the record.

Question 3: Have there been any big storms yet?

There have been several nights when stones from the ocean side have been thrown into the road, but even with the rainiest June in memory there hasn't been one storm in which the grounds or the cars were buffeted.  The house whistles a great deal - it is one big tea kettle when the wind is up - but so far it there has not been a "Get your attention yet" kind of storm.

Question 4: Do you mind living here with all the people around at all hours?

The traffic here is considerable.  Yesterday afternoon at 1:00 there were nearly 200 people either on the beach or on the jetty or just walking around the building.  That said we have found ourselves in dozens of very pleasant conversations and in only a few instances that could be described as clumsy.  People just don't know what is public and what is private here.  We educate those that don't with a simple question, "How can I help you?"  As soon as we ask, people start to recognize that they could potentially overstep from the public to the private.  

Question 5: How does Haley like being the LightKeeper's Daughter?

Haley is a natural born story teller and shares what she knows with our guests and the travellers milling around the site.  There is a long roll of names in the kitchen of all the visitors she has had since we moved in and there was a stretch when it seemed the Keeper's Cottage had turned into her own private inn.  We have had a number of Stay Awakes here. (I never have called them sleepovers.) She is eager to pick up the history, asks terrific questions when she meets someone who has traveled a distance to get here, takes some keen eyed photos for us.  I would say it is working out for her just fine.

Question 6: What has been the most surprising thing?

The most surprising thing has been the enthusiasm I have been met with by people parked in cars or passing by on foot.  Their affection for the Light is even greater than I guessed and I felt it was quite high at the start.  People light up; ask questions like these; offer to help.  I hoped we would be well received here but it has been remarkable.  If I had to narrow it to particulars I would point out the young man saluting the flag on the first day and the couple that sang the Eddystone Light Keepers song.  I never saw either one of those things coming.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Way Back Machines

Lights and Music across the harbor tonight.

If you are as old as I am (give or take a few) and you grew up in Scituate then you know that the third week in July is the week of the Knights of Columbus Carnival. Haley and I took a friend and went over tonight. The girls played a few games and rode on a few rides and I kept looking around for my youth.

The Carnival has seemed different to me in the last few years. I remember vividly all the parents of many of my friends had roles in what is recalled as a much bigger midway with more life, more vibrancy. I can see Mr. and Mrs. Lee running the concessions - cooking up corn on the cob and burgers while you waited. Mr. Brady ran the whole thing and would take us around in the weeks prior and have us put up signs all over the South Shore. I reminded Mark Brady just tonight that there was one year when I think I poured every soft drink anyone who came to the Carnival bought. Mr. Brady plunked me down in the booth with a zillion barrels of soda and a gun with all the buttons on it. There was a Carnival store back then - all of the prizes were in there and you could get sent running for something at any moment. I can see and hear Mr. Charrier calling out to the crowd to buy one of the raffle tickets. On the Sunday after there would be a big party at the K of C pool for anyone who had helped out.

I wondered as I watched them ride and play if Haley and her friend would recall the carnival as I do. Would they have that same sense of the community pitching in and having a blast or would it be another set of rides and a chance to see some of the kids from school that they have missed since getting out? The latter is my instinct but I could be wrong. There are neighbors and friends down there working hard at it. There are people down there with the same instincts to help out, to have a laugh doing it, to bring a crowd together innocently.

That said, something was missing for me amidst the smell of fried dough and the call of the barkers; some edge, some unique sense of place. I wondered if kids felt differently because there are trips to Disney World now and in those years I described there was no Disney World at all. No one flew; everyone drove on vacation. The Charriers had a converted van. The Bradys had their amazing bus. Maybe it was easier to be amazed in a world with only three channels and rabbit ears for UHF.

There will be four more nights over there and we will watch the fireworks on Friday and Saturday from our new perch. It may be that nostalgia isn't kid stuff but I would have liked my kid to have that same feeling that I had once upon a time, those days when the way back machines pulled into Scituate Harbor for the third week of July.

Saturday, July 11, 2009


Go weed your garden.

I was out on Friday night weeding around the flagpole.  The couple pictured approached the message board on bicycles and we began a conversation about the upcoming open house and the different sites around town.  Discovering I was the Keeper, they got off of their bicycles and offered this gift.  Haley caught some of it on her new camera.  I share it here.

Lightkeeper's Song   

You just never know what is going to happen out here on the night of a full moon. The song was unlikely, unexpected, sorta cool, very well done, and helped get the weeding complete all at the same time. Haley went right into the house and found the lyrics. "Oh for the life on the rolling seas"

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Company Coming

Our first Open House is this coming Sunday July 12, 2009.  We are looking forward to having a great number of visitors come through and have looked forward to this opportunity from the first. I am hoping for a lot of questions and the kind of questions that help out the other guests.  The yard looks good; the house even better.  Bring Em On.

Updating an earlier post: Chronicle will broadcast the episode recently filmed here in Scituate on Tuesday July 14, 2009.  I hope I have a face for High Definition TV.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Finally Sunny and Sharing

We threw our first shindig yesterday.

Julie and Haley wanted to have a party and they got one. Relatives and friends came here to the point and gathered around a mountain of food. The sun came out after three weeks of gloom and the water was warm as the kids kayaked and floated  and swam.  The time flew by - when I looked up and found that it was 6:00 (we started at 1) I couldn't believe it.

I have always found Independence Day to be a day for reflection on the good stuff.  Watching our guests and the visitors on the beach you could not help but to believe there is a lot of good stuff out there, especially for children in America.  I think in the whole day I heard one little one cry for real but otherwise there was the digging and the splashing and the tossing and the inventing of fun that shapes growing up.  It is in striking contrast to the rigid order of those cultures with which the country finds itself at war.  It is in striking contrast to the historical fact of children conscripted in the last century to serve the Kaiser or the Tsar or the Fuhrer or the Jihad today. Independence Day remains an authentic American celebration of the freedom, of the options young people have in front of them because of historic sacrifice of all sorts.

There was one irreverant moment to share.  There was a gentleman on the beach yesterday with a mustache that was amazing in scale.  It was a bonafide street sweeper. This was a mustache with vitality, with density, with its own zip code. I told my sister in law that guy had to be in the Witness Protection program because it seemed impossible that anyone could grow such a thing. The cartoon villains of the Saturday mornings of the past did not have such a mustache. It may have made it impossible for him to breathe were it any bigger.  It might have come with batteries.  I worried that he might try to swim and would have to be rescued when it pulled him down.  It was Sonny Bono's mustache on steroids. Other men with mustaches left the beach embarrassed for their puniness. It was the gigantic, hairy, example of American freedom of expression on Independence Day 2009.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Fill in the Blank

Please provide a caption to this photo by clicking on the comments link below. The best will be shared in a later post.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Quick Hitter

Practicing for when I sign up for Twitter.

Bay State Parenting was here yesterday - wonderful guests in Carrie Wattu, her daughter Margot, and photographer Robea Patrowicz - great enthusiasm and warmth for the Cottage and the Light. Time went flying by while they were here. The issue will be out in August.

Later in the day a bus load of teachers from San Antonio Texas are led here by Fred Freitis, a Society trustee. Dave Ball did the honors, sharing the importance of the Light historically and introducing me for a few remarks. Haley was very excited to meet them all and she wrangled them all back on the bus when the time came to go. Julie took the group photo that we are sharing. The only downside was the gloomy weather of the past week hung on. They did not seem to mind. A lot made a bee line for the Big Jetty - the pull of the ocean was remarkable. Would that they could have stayed longer but it was a quick hitter before they made their way to the Maritime Museum and then dinner at the Mill Wharf.

Australians are coming next week - come on back.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Visitors from the Big City

Photographs copyright of Joe Lippincott 2009.

Passers by sometimes stop a while.

We have had the chance in the last 10 days or so to meet a few people who have come to the lighthouse on a mission.

Joe Lippincott is a Professor of Journalism at Boston University and he was here on Sunday June 14th with his student Courtney Gardner. They came to use a large format camera to photograph the Light. Think of a modern version of an old time box camera. Jules got to put her head under the curtain and take a look. (There really is a curtain to duck under) The image is upside down through the view finder. Joe described Courtney as his best student in 20 years and he wanted her to have this unique opportunity. Courtney hails from Corvalis Oregon and now can claim her piece of the Atlantic coast.

On Monday June 15th Producer Amy Masters from the WCVB program Chronicle (long a favorite here when Scituate native Peter Mehegan hosted) came to town and the Lighthouse was her last stop. Anchor Anthony Everett made some introductory remarks on camera before making a run for it to do the evening news. Amy then toured the grounds, the walkway, the tower and the house for the show. She had also visited with Dave Ball, Tom Hall and Peter Whitfield prior to coming over the the Point. The show will be broadcast in July - date to follow - and will focus on the Maritime Museum, the Lawson Tower, and the Old Scituate Light. It was interesting to watch the crew work and to try to imagine how they will piece it all together.

We are gathering more and more stories as we go. The list people who we would never have otherwise met is growing. This is a very cool place to live in ways we would not have anticipated. Next week Bay State Parenting magazine is coming to do an interview. We love the vistors from the Big City.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Colors (again)

Only a prism has as many colors as we are finding here.

I wrote on this before but had to return to it because of the photograph that accompanies this post. On Sunday night, at around 6:30, the sun came out below the clouds (thanks to my art teacher friend Michelle for that phrase) and we had a double rainbow over the ocean. A family was having a portrait taken on the rocks right in front of where I sit writing this and the photographer must have thought she had died and gone to heaven. People were scurrying around; a neighbor came to the door saying she wanted to tell us about it so that we did not miss it but did not have our phone number. It was not an everyday occurance and Jules got some terrific shots to share here.

The morning had begun with another kind of color show. A mob of small sportscars arrived at the Point for a visit. Haley and her friend Maddy got some shots that are loaded onto the slide show. It was like being witness to one of those gumball machines with the long chute gone mad. One color after another rolled in and then rolled off the Point. I was out working with a stone wall and looked up to see what could have been a giant video game image pulling into the parking lot, reds, yellows, blues, greens, whites, blacks, numbered and plain and each one meticulous. Most were convertibles too which only made it cooler.

The last color to share this time is found inside the house. We have been sorting through photographs, reframing some for display, putting others away. In the process I have found this photograph of my grandmother Delaney. It has to be from the teens or early twenties. Her hair is up like a Gibson Girl and she is wearing a shirtwaist as they were called at the time. The color would be described as sepia and yet so much more is there when I consider it. Her youth is a color. The ups an downs of life had not added in the wrinkles yet. She has a style that was long gone by the time I remember her; you can see it in cameo at her neck and the cut of her collar. Her eyes are the eyes of some of my cousins, big as buttons, seemingly brown, but they could be a dark, dark blue. It has been a pleasant exercise to reconsider it and see the line that follows down to Haley. It is in the jaw and the tilt of her head. She has the same colors.

Monday, May 25, 2009


A great number of events to report on this week.

There are foxes in the neighborhood and Julie and I spent an hour watching them play in the yard across the way.  It was like an episode of Wild Kingdom.  Running and tackling each other, on each others backs and down into holes.  I am told foxes are all over town now but none are having the fun these had playing last Monday.  Enviromental regulation and financial shortfalls combine to handcuff the Town from policing them.  No one would have wanted to had they witnessed the show these four put on for Jules and I.

I had a group of third graders from the Jenkins School here on Wednesday.  What a blast!  The girls had wonderful questions and knew a great deal about their local and national history.  Haley helped out by telling the story of the legendary drum and by leading the girls up into the tower. The parents picking up the kids got to take a look as well, and there were popsicles ,which improve every event.  The highlight for me was speaking with a Mr. Murphy who remembered being on the Point on Thanksgiving 1956 when Etrusco came off the beach.  This could be apocryphal, but I don't think so.  This guy was the real deal and had no reason to snow me. Another one of the dads remembered being brought to the Point to see Etrusco when he was only four or five.  That is a story which goes on and on and on.

This weekend saw the neighborhood come together to clean up and plant all along the Lighthouse Park.  Organized by Betty Kincaid, The Point threw off winter and brought summer in with flowers of all makes and models.  The sore muscles the next day were worth it as each of the islands is rich in color and who likes weeds anyway.

The number of boats in the harbor has multiplied and there was quite an image here Saturday when a sudden thunder storm sent a long line of craft steaming back from fishing or cruising.  I was listening to the Red Sox on the radio when Fenway was bombarded by hail.  Twenty minutes later the parade began as the brief storm moved our way.  Tim Wakefield was pitching again as boats sought the harbor and the docks before we got hit.

Another exciting moment of the weekend was an engagement.  A young man from New Hampshire had contacted Town Hall and round about he got in touch with me in order to ask if he could propose to his girlfriend at the top of the Lighthouse.  As we do not want a parade inside the Tower, I pressed him a little but he was determined.  He and I had to act a bit when they arrived and we managed to fool Katie enough that she thought the old Lighthouse keeper was just being a good guy when he let them tour the Tower.  Ethan and Katie were engaged on Saturday at 2:00.  Julie took a number of terrific photos when they came down stairs and we have emailed those to them already.  Ethan also made a generous contribution to the Lighthouse maintenance fund.

Another one in the books.  Summer is about to begin and the stories will multiply.  The fun is only starting.

Monday, May 11, 2009


There are a lot of limos.

Ruth Downton had told Julie and I that there would be a large number of wedding parties here and we had believed her as once upon a time Julie was a wedding photographer who took her couples up on the rocks or down on the beach for photographs. Ruth understated the case all the same.

There are wedding parties seemingly every day. As few as three (bride, groom, photographer or minister) and as many as twenty five. On the first weekend of the April vacation there were two weddings Thursday, two Friday, one Saturday, one Sunday and one Monday. Most groups are only here a few minutes, then it is back into the limo or van they all go.

Pastels are in for the bridesmaids dresses. We have also seen a deeeeeep purple, silver, oxblood maroon and several colors not found in nature. You would need the big box of Crayolas to cover the palette. The groomsmen are far less ornate. Black is safe, lightweight gray seems like a climber, and a very sharp tan set of tuxedos were on display here just the other day. One bride kept her fur coat on for the pictures but it was a Saturday in February and who could blame her. There was snow in her hair.

Some bring champagne; others, beer. There is always one guy who is a little louder than the rest. We always hope he is not the groom or the best man. There have been some very cold days which probably explains why the groups don't stay all that long. Most of them do not get the light quite right either; clouds come up and you will see the photographer reach for the flash attachment or the reflector. This is the place for pictures when the light is right. A woman I work with told me she had her wedding pictures taken here and came back each year after for a few years to have an anniversary picture taken as well.

So follow the limos. They might be bringing you out to the Point.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Ticket Stubs

I am a big sports fan and this week has been a treat.

The Celtics just finished a tremendous first round series with a ten point win last night. Every aspect of the series had a spectacular nature. Ben Gordon made shot after shot. Ray Allen, Paul Pierce, and Brian Scalabrine of all people, were clutch. A steal at the end of Game six by Joakim Noah and a block or two by Derrick Rose were among some of the finest plays I have ever seen made against the Celtics in a playoff series. It was edge of your seat stuff all the way through.

I have seen some historic games and been able to attend some memorable sports occasions. In September of 1978 I was at the last regular season game of the year for the Red Sox when Luis Tiant defeated the Blue Jays with a three hitter while the Indians defeated the Yankees in Cleveland. For the profound total of $42.00 I was able to run downstairs to get 5 tickets to the playoff game the next day - the Bucky Dent game. The idiotic baserunning of Rick Burleson late in that game infuriates me to this day; Pinella never saw the ball Remy hit and Burleson stopped at second anyway. We were in right field - right in line with the play - there was no way Pinella was ever going to catch it.

I was also able to go to Yastrezmski's induction to the Hall of Fame. The people of Cooperstown welcomed us and I get chills remembering the introduction of Ted Williams that day. I did not know that all the living members of the Hall are invited to each induction and that those who attend get introduced. We had arrived at the very last minute and were cut off in the crowd from the front of the podium. Nonetheless, when the introduction began, "From San Diego, California ..." I got this rush of adrenaline - I was within in 100 yards of the Greatest Hitter who ever lived. Later, my brother and I went to the Mother's day game when Ted Williams finally tipped his hat to the crowd in Boston.

Larry Bird Night was a last minute invitation for an astounding event. The AFC champtionship game against the Jaguars saw me coming out of a 24 hour flu that had cleaned my clock. James Taylor was just finishing the National Anthem when the Air Force flyover happened, seemingly 8 feet over our heads. Thrilling moment. A Celtics game against the Pistons that I get reminded of when I walk by the kiosk in the mall with the panoramic sports photos. A bird got into the Garden that day and the Celtics made this amazing comeback. There were all sorts of visitors in the crowd, Shaquille O'Neal was there right before he was drafted. In the panorama you can see my brother and I sitting over the runway that was used to take the Bruins to their locker room way back when. We are blurry but we were there.

Bo Jackson hitting a homerun off the despicable Wes Gardner at Fenway Park on Patriots Day. The wind was so fierce that no other ball made it past second base. I was viciously wind burned sitting behind home plate but he crushed it to deep right center. Bledsoe throwing 70 passes against the Vikings in that unlikely comeback. Kevin Turner in the corner of the endzone for the winning touchdown. The longer I sit here the more that come back to me.

The Celtics Bulls series had me thinking of these opportunities. All of them bring back a spirit of celebration after all this time - even those that at the time had worn me out. I was a long time getting over the Bucky Dent game but now I am glad to have the story, glad to have had the chance to be a part of something you might see on ESPN classic, glad to have those particular ticket stubs.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Cleaning up

Gardens and grime this week here on the Point.

Planting has begun on a small perenial garden that will wrap around two sides of the utility wing. Hosta, Seedum, Daisies, Hydrangea, and some mystery plants were put in place on Friday and Saturday past. A vegetable garden will be in place by this upcoming weekend in the bed outside the kitchen. A pathway of pavers was put in place across the backyard after a generous donation from my sister Lee. I like the idea that we are giving back here and making a mark.

We have also been cleaning up. A vacumn made the trip with me to the top of the tower and I am happy to announce the whole of the tower has been vacced and swept. I may have missed a few of the cob webs but it was a good faith effort. This morning the walkway got the same treatment.

This might sound crazy but I am having a blast with these chores. The Cottage has seemed like home nearly from the first but the Tower needed some attention before I could feel like I was truly its caretaker. You have to give a place some of your attention and time before you truly connect to it. There are still some windows to wash and maybe I will slosh around with some Murphy's Oil but I can look out at the Tower and know that I have gone on a first date now. We will be going steady for a while but I needed to buy the flowers and slick back my hair.


For the last two weeks the runway and the cottage have undergone a facelift courtesy of contractor Warren Cowing. Time and tide had battered...