Wednesday, August 31, 2016

A most eventful high school reunion at the Boatel...

It's August 29th, 2016 and I'm on Long Island.  It is 95 degrees, tropically hot, oppressively humid... global warming?   I am sitting on the veranda of my room at the Freeport Inn and Marina, formerly known as the Boatel, pleasantly situated on a marina on one of the many marshy inlets on the south shore of LI, leading out to the ocean.  The Boatel is old, 60's retro without even trying, and not for everybody, but clean, adequate, and I seem to fit in perfectly.  Unfortunately the tide is down right now, and the smell of festering seaweed fills the air and drives me inside.  I am waiting for my elementary/high school friend Nick with whom I am soon to have lunch and then spend the rest of the day consuming a fifth of Johnnie Walker Black and reminiscing about old times.  Every time we get together, we tell the same stories and say the same things, but since our brains are so fried by this point, neither of remembers anything anyway, so it is good just hearing the sound of Nick's voice.

 If you are looking for a place to lose yourself,  like the idea of a motel that still uses keys, is far off the beaten track on a marshy inlet near the bay, and makes little effort to draw attention to itself, then the Freeport Boatel is for you.

I slept poorly last night for no reason I can discern and was up till 4am.  Slept till noon, which is rare, just woke up in a daze, dressed quickly, and went out to Seven/Eleven to get some coffee.  I was checking Google News to make sure the world was safe enough for me to venture out when I saw a short and woefully uninformative little article about an automobile accident that took place this morning on Sunrise Highway, no more than a half a mile from here in which some poor person was killed.  I often think about people starting their day with no idea that their time has come and when that day will come for any of us, and was overcome by a haiku...

                                                 Nobody wakes up
                                                 thinking today I will die,
                                                 but that's how it goes.

Nick came by around 2 pm, we went for lunch by the water a few blocks from the motel, then stopped off for a bottle of scotch, and drank and talked for hours.   This was the view from the window of Otto's during a short rain squall during our lunch... which was just ok...sitting by the channel in the rain made it better...By the time we finished lunch it cleared.

We usually drink at his place and I happily crash on the air mattress I carry for such occasions, but tonight we ended up at the Boatel quite sloshed.  Nick was almost incoherent by 11 pm, so I rented  him a room, deposited him into a bed only partially conscious and hoped for the best.  As always, very old friends are the best friends who knew you before you ever reinvented yourself.
Addendum Saturday August 27th:

The above haiku turned out to be quite prophetic and ironic.  This morning at about 9:15, while walking from my car to the synagogue in Hewlett, I was stopped in my tracks by an intense, painfully dull constrictive tightness in both of my upper arms that was almost unbearable.  There was some tightness in the chest, but minimal.  The incident was accompanied by nausea followed by throwing up the breakfast I had at the Boatel.  Unable to go any further, I was only 2 or 3 blocks from my high school and was able to get back  to my car and somehow make it to the school parking lot where the symptoms continued for another 20 minutes or so and gradually subsided.  Although the symptoms were atypical, I sensed that I had a heart attack, and although I had no idea what would happen next, I was satisfied with the thought that if this was it, it would happen in the parking lot of my high school which somehow seemed ok.  As things progressed, I seemed to recover, made it back to the motel and googled my symptoms which confirmed my suspicions, and said I should go to a hospital, but being the idiot I am, I did nothing but carry on with the weeks activities.  I should have been dead then and there, but I wasn't.  10 days later, the same exact symptoms happened at home.  Jackie threw me in the car, drove me to Albany Med who confirmed I had another heart attack, admitted me, found a 99% blockage to my cardiac artery, inserted 3 stents, put me on 5 meds and eventually sent me home.  I was given a second chance, and am more that lucky to be alive.  Don't know why it took so long for it to sink in, but as time goes by I become more and more appreciative and grateful for my good fortune to be  alive and not dropping dead on the sidewalk, which was a distinct possibility.  I am sure Jackie and Devora feel the same.  I can only marvel at my good fortune and the forces of good from above that brought me through this.   In the future I should try to be less smug and not take things for granted. 


Tuesday, August 9, 2016

In search of Martha Holbrook...

August, 2016

As I get older and closer to the grave,  I have begun to avoid cemeteries as an object of photographic interest.  But while Jackie and I were visiting Mady and Nate on Cape Cod last week, and having lunch (fried fish sandwich, rings, and slaw) at one of my favorite places of all time, Arnold's in Eastham

we did not encounter the usual crowds, so having finished lunch early,  and with time on our hands, we agreed to keep heading north to see if we could make it to Provincetown.  It was a quiet Monday, so smooth sailing all the way.  Made it there in record time.

As we passed a few of the old burial grounds along the way, I got thinking about a most unusual tombstone I took a photo of about 6 or 7 years ago during our last visit to the Cape, that of one Mrs. Martha Holbrook.  As we drove past the Truro Old North Cemetery, I was sure it was there, so I had Mady stop, and I looked for it somewhere in the front rows close to the road, where I remembered it would be, but it wasn't there.  Not a total loss, however.  Snapped these two stones before we kept going.

They are two great examples of the winged head style of tombstone art.   At the time, I didn't realize how good they would be, and with Jackie and Mady waiting patiently in the car,  I left it at that.  But the sun was great, the sky was perfect and I should have shot a few more.  Jackie said that Martha's stone was probably at the Duck Creek Cemetery we passed a few miles back and we agreed to stop there on the way home, which we did, and as soon as Mady slowed down I could see it from the road.

What fascinated me here was the face.  Quite unusual.  Never saw one quite like it on a stone.  Is it a portrait?  I tend to think so.  I'm glad the day worked out as well as it did.  Love the top two photos resulting from the wrong stop.  After a little research on the taxonomy of tombstone art, I found that these three stones all fall into the same category (winged head), but there were many more great stones I'm sorry  I missed, and I'm feeling the need  to to get back to the Cape for a few more good shots, followed by a visit the bar upstairs at the Lobster Pot in P-Town for a few bloody marys overlooking Cape Cod Bay after a hard day's work in the field.  As I was standing in front of the Pot taking this picture, I was thinking about the bloody marys, but was still pretty darn full from Arnold's and not ready for a drink.  

Hopefully next time.  Another project on my to do list.



Always looking for a good place to post orphan photos that don't seem to fit into any other posting.  Always liked this stone I shot at the Old Burial Ground in Halifax, Nova Scotia and it is another good example of the winged head motif.