Monday, July 27, 2015

That's Life

Took a walk down memory lane on Saturday.

Visited Winthrop, Massachusetts to enjoy lunch with my Aunt Dina, who is 85 years old, my brother Ed, who is chronologically 60 years old but physically 18 years old, and my lovely wife Carol who is a stunning 61 years old.

(Editor's note: I am chronologically 61 years old but physically 93 years old).

I was raised in Winthrop, Massachusetts. Spent my formative years there. Lived there from approximately the age of two straight through to the age of 24, when I fled to The Land of Responsibility.

Winthrop is a beautiful town. Nestled right up against the Atlantic ocean. A quiet, scenic, suburban peace-spot.

I don't get back there often. This trip affected me profoundly.

Carol and I made excellent time, arriving early, so we took a tour of the town.

Drove down Shore Drive, which parallels Winthrop beach.

I spent a lot of time on the beach. I put 137,450 miles on my cars cruising Winthrop beach. My mind engaged with the past as we drove up and down that road, kind of like me and my friends used to do.

Looking for babes, looking for parties, looking for fun.

Next Carol and I drove towards 120 Winthrop Street, which is where I "grew up."  Along the way we passed Thornton Park where my friend Ed Keough used to live.

Massive memories. At night I would drive around and pick up all my friends on our way to insanity. Inevitably, when we got to Ed's house and I honked my horn, the porch light would flash on and off.

That was Ed's sign - he was running late. He was always running late. We sat and waited and laughed about it.

Ed and I planned to travel cross country when we graduated high school. I chickened out at the last minute and have always considered that decision to be one of the worst of my life.

However........................ had I gone on that trip I would never have met Carol. Amazing how things work out. I treasure my wife, I treasure my sons, I treasure my sons' women.

Ed had a dog named Killy. An Irish Setter. A beautiful, loving dog.

Thornton Park was also where Gaff lived. Gaff's parents died young and he was left with the house. Gaff bought us beer and Gaff supplied us with pot.

Carol and I drove slowly past 120 Winthrop, and once again my mind buzzed. The house looks almost exactly the same, except the big tree out front is gone.

My eyes are always drawn to the second story porch. I spent countless and peaceful hours there, reading in the summer time. It was my favorite spot, my favorite thing to do.

Sitting on a lounge chair, book in hand, summer breeze, cars quietly cruising by, the big tree in my face.

It is one of my fondest memories.

Next stop was the cemetery to visit my parents' grave.


The date my father died was never etched on the headstone. Apparently Ed and I skipped a beat somewhere along the line.

It felt weird.

I touched the headstone. Why do we do that? Trying to connect?

My thoughts inevitably turned to my station in life, thinking it wouldn't be too long before some family member would be figuratively touching their hand to my headstone.

I say figuratively because I won't be buried. My ashes will be scattered.

But where?

An Allman Brothers concert would have been divine, but that is no longer in the cards. Maybe I'll have them mailed to Gregg Allman's house.

Then again what are the odds that Gregg, who is 67, will outlive me? Zero. I mean, I have seriously abused myself over the years but Gregg's got me beat by a googol miles.

We hooked up with Ed and Dina and ate in a divine, little Italian restaurant close up by the beach.

Superb food, great conversation. A very cool visit.

I was sitting at the table, looking out the window towards the street my friend Dave Selig lived on.

We spent a lot of time at Dave's house. His parents were the coolest, especially his dad. We could talk to them and they to us. We spent many hours sitting around that kitchen table feeling comfortably at home.They knew what we were up to and they were cool with it as long as we didn't get too stupid.

His father kept these tiny sausages in the fridge, which we used to dip in mustard and heartily chow.

Cool memory.

I came away from this visit with a finely tuned sense of finiteness.

I am getting older. This trip meant more to me. The memories were deep and alive.

My mind is scrambled, as are the minds of all my family members, considering our recent history.

This trip was one more ingredient added to the mix.

It is quite a stew. A stew I would prefer not to have to deal with.

But there you go.

That's life, baby.

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