That’s an excellent question, one that I have been asking myself daily. I’ve been in New York now for the better part of a week and…well…I don’t know. Perhaps the environment is too familial and too familiar to report with the same distanced amusement. The very familiarity draws a curtain between viewer (me) and the deserved wow factor of my surroundings.
So. (With acknowledgement to my sister who hates that I frequently use the word ‘so’, but the blog comes with all my syntactical quirks.) I’d like to say the three sisters enjoyed a sunny and leisurely jaunt from Niagara Falls to New York. It poured. As in all our cell phones giving emergency notification of flood warnings and, in one area, the police blocking off a lane that was impassable. Google maps, steering us from the heaviest traffic, chose Bear Mountain as the best route. Probably. On any other day. But Annie got to try out driving my car for the first time up and down s-curves in the driving rain. Exhausting. But we made it. And heaven sent us one more rainbow when we safely made it to Great Neck (home of yet another sister, Mary Alice) to retrieve Annie’s car (and dog):
We are now all in Quogue, the beautiful little town where we spent all of our summers without least clue that we were supremely fortunate to wake up every morning to an enormous expanse of white sand and ever-changing ocean. Dune Road, Quogue, is a very different place now from my childhood, with oceanfront homes starting at around 11 million. A massive palace now stands on the lot on which stood the cute summer house of a reverend and his wife (sorry, the names are long gone)–a one-storey cedar beach house that couldn’t have been more than about 1200 sf. “Our” side yard (main features: beach plums and lots of ticks in the high beach grass) supports another one. “Our” house (in the day: big enough to house all those kids) now looks like the servants quarters to the house next door. An oceanfront Mons Palatinus. With all the anxious care to match.
Annie’s house is in the village and wonderful, with a pool and a beautiful back yard.
The pool is dog-friendly, a blessing since this year the beach is not. Sand-pipers/plovers/terns/pick your name have extended their nesting ground and early morning beach plays are off limits.
How did they do that? Here’s how
And post-surf races:
Suzie, Helen’s 11.5 year old golden, is having a different beach holiday. Recently diagnosed with cancer, she doesn’t go outside much, although she does greatly enjoy grazing on the plants in Annie’s back yard:
Even Suzie gets energized by the promise of Amy’s salmon treats (which must be delicious but smell horrible):
Eager puppies, but very polite as they wait their turn:
(The towels runners: gorgeous floors, an antique rug, and a houseful of almost but not quite dry dogs).
What have we done? Fourth of July fireworks party:
And food. Hmmm…after a month of almonds and ramen noodles, it’s pretty amazing how much I can pack away.
And sleep. Lots of it. I don’t have to get on the road. I don’t have to get anywhere. Roll over for just another five minutes…
And books. The Temporary Bride, Jennifer Klinec (readable; lots of questions about this one); Defending Jacob, William Landay (less well-written, beach read, disturbing and annoying); A Month in the Country, J.L. Carr. This one gets more than a parenthesis. A slight story that just took my breath away. Beautifully written. Restrained. Moving. It wasn’t that I didn’t want it to end, but when it did, I felt like I left part of me in the book.
And hanging out. I don’t do this so well. This morning I woke up with work-panic for the first time since leaving Davidson. Some part of me knows I’m soon headed home.
Finally, I have this sense that I should be waxing philosophical about the journey. Or at least economical: I spent $X on hotels, gas, etc. Maybe at some point I will (not, I promise, about the journey–I’ve spent my career listening to too many speeches to undergraduates). Or maybe not.