block island love boat

The family season is winding down—at least for families with school-age kids—and the season of lovers is upon us. Couples can be caught canoodling all over Block Island—and on the way to it. I say go for it and get a room. Better yet a house. I know a couple hideaways, and off-season rates are $1000 less. See pix and rental info at right.


sunup, today

Block Island is wonderful. The weather is heaven, the houses are beautiful, and life is good. The only thing missing is you.



They came, they swam, they gifted.


shower forecast

Today is Chris and Hannah's baby shower at his mama's likeside. Unlike the above pic taken in Woonsocket a couple weeks ago, the weather is perfect: sunny with just the tiniest tint in the color of the light to hint that summer will soon be over. Enjoy it now.


belly of the beast

The clan is gathering at the lake tomorrow to celebrate the child who will be arriving within the month—after the longest and most photographed pregnancy ever.

In other roundup news, did you see the Times article about the Castle in the Ozarks?
And here's Hannah's cousin Harry's reel.
How about Chien-Chi Chang's Escape from North Korea?


needy pets

Not every member of the family is eagerly awaiting the new arrival. Jealous, jealous.


As requested, the pic of the kidz with their grandmotherz, just about four years ago on their wedding day.



What is this? Where is it? When I see this object, I will know that I am closing in on my destination today.  Yes, travel fans, I am once again leaving New York City.

    Would you like to know how the craigslist ad for the Goose worked out? I am so excited! I got the following two responses from different E mail addresses:

    My name is bonke said,I will like to know if my Wife and i can spend 3 nights at your place.We will like to know if you have Sept 7 to 10 available.I will like you to get back to me with the cost and availability. Thanks

To Whom It May Concern,My Name Is tyler burris.I Will Like To Check If  My Wife and I can Use 4night At Your Place(5,6,7,8 sept 2010).We Are Coming From United Kingdom For Our Vacation,I Want You To Mail Me The Availability Date And The Total Cost For The Rent.

God Bless You.

I'm particularly excited about the second one! All the way from London to spend four nights at the Goose in the middle of Nowheresville, travel fans! I will write back soonest. I am pretty sure they will want to send me a check immediately! And you can tell they're good tenant because they both have Wife!


next: seeds and stems

My mother calls herself "The Grandma Moses of Poetry."
She will be 84 next month, about the time she becomes a great grandma.
She read her book for the gentry of San Miguel about generation
Borrowing a wheelchair for the occasion.
Roots and Seeds, it's called. Tales from a Farmer's Daughter.
You can buy it from Pudding House Press,
more or less.

Photograph by Donna Ferrato, 2006



The little boy standing with his big sister grew up to be a pillar of his southern community, a deacon of the church and a model of rectitude.
    Nobody knew he was a secret drinker.
    And then, in the fullness of old age, his wife died. He was failing too, and found it hard to get around. His big sister was gone and couldn't take care of him any more, so her daughter took over.
    She thought it was odd that her uncle always smelled of vanilla extract. His wife had been a baker, and there was a lot of it around the house. Until there wasn't any more. By this time he was no longer mobile, and the niece hired a nurse.
    This woman was savvy. When her trucker husband was away, she made her own alarm system by wiring the front doorknob to an electrical outlet. And as she noticed the old man's increasing distress, she figured it out. She asked where he'd been obtaining his liquor on the sly, and he told her where to get the best moonshine in the county. With the niece's agreement, she measured him out a little tot every day. The old man died happy.
    And his niece still has the rest of the last bottle. It smells pretty good, but I never did taste it.

N.B. I heard this story a while ago, so if CJH reads this, please correct!


so not lake of the ozarks

 Now that it doesn't rain inside and you can't fall downstairs, I posted the Goose for rent on craigslist. See album of pix at right under The Goose.
The ad is addressed to cityfolk from St. Louis and Kansas City. Probably should have posted in Memphis, too, as it's just as close to that airport as St. Louis—in case any of y'all on the East or West Coasts feel like a getaway.
If anyone rented for a week at $250, that would be five years of property taxes. I am not, however, holding my breath.


the hired man

"I don't know what to do," the farmwife  said. "He never shows up when he's supposed to." There is a lot of work on the farm—horses, cows, fencing, haying—and then there are all the houses she rents out. They are a lot of work too. Especially the one she rents to the hired man and his family; he is several months behind in rent, and is supposed to be working it off. But he doesn't show up. The farmwife's kitchen, which he is meant to be renovating, looks like a demolition crew blasted through.
      "What did he say was the reason today?" I asked.
      "You will not believe this," she said. "He said he had to go to his appointment  with a psychiatrist. For depression."
      "What's the problem?"
      "He says," she wailed, "the reason he's depressed is because he owes me money!"

NB This photo does not picture the hired man. It is meant to be  evocative.


house tour

Since every- thing is so very, very clean, thanks to the pooter pigeon, I thought I might immortalize it. Also, they like you to do this for insurance records, and I never seem to pull it off.
There is nothing valuable here other than books and art. I guess I should do a video of that stuff. Everything else was given to me or found on the street. How I am fortunate! No one will come to steal my TV.


It's summer, and the water is finally warm on Block Island—and now it's time to go back to school.
      I have promised some good stories from my summer vacation. They are coming up, but not today. Today is Cleaning Day, with the gallant Elma imminently coming to the rescue. Manana, surf fans.


note to self

Something isn't right, I thought as I came into the apartment yesterday. And then I found it: a trail of bird shit and feathers from window to window, over silver- ware, stove and sink, teapot, couches, rugs and floors. The spoor led into my bedroom, up to the ceiling fan, to the hard-sought copy of Granny's Wonderful Chair, over my bed and to the window.
And there it was, expiring behind my bed. A fledgling pigeon, little pink and gray dove.
I picked it up with a towel and set it on the window sill. I took it some water. It peered over the edge. And then it flew away.


laundry deliveryman

I did not do my laundry yesterday, so I reckon I'll wend my way back to NYC this morn, hoping that construction will magically have vanished on the Merritt Parkway and praying for a parking space for The Monolith. I mean the Behemoth.
Later. Gotta go pack!


new digs

Took this pic from the ferry yesterday. Actually, I'm in the far right building top right dormer. Nice view! As for turnover, the building to the left had all linens scrambled up, and apparently about a million teenagers sleeping there, some of whom amused themselves by throwing my Chinese cleaver at the back barn door/shower surround. Also the DSL power supply had crumbled. Either it is working again or the kids staying there now got the new one installed. The house to the far left has a funny smell coming out of the hot water exhaust. Going to check that out this morning, go the the dump to take the outdoor chairs that s'ed the b, as my Brother Chris would say, and just generally have a stellar Block Island morning. The weather is--mwahh!!


nothing like a rental car

Wanna drive fast and reckless? Put 4,000 miles on the odometer? Haul loads of gravel?
A rental car is the way to go. No fuss. No muss. No wear and tear. No tearing out your hair. Anyone else need shit hauled from Point A to Point B? Just two more weeks! Sign up for your automobile abuse now!

name that dog!

A picture I rather liked from my voyaging. I am now in Woonsocket, with a different dog.



no you can't touch my stomach!

Image by Christopher Garrison of
Christopher Garrison Photography
aka the psycho preggo's long suffering but not-yet-murdered husband.


the road home

Hippies are always welcome here, too. But I'm not writing any more here because I have to write something else.


mae bucknor: in memorium

A month or two ago, I felt a sudden, strong pang of missing Mae and Leonard, the couple who cared for the house my father once owned in Jamaica. I knew they were getting older, and I missed them. (There is independent verification of that, as I mentioned it to several people.) It turns out that at about that time, Mae suffered a stroke. Last Sunday, she died.
Mae glided through Castle Gorden, Jamaica, between her house and ours, like a ship under full sail. She did battle with the vegetable vendors at the market in Port Maria and commanded her flotilla of family absolutely. She also commanded us, though so subtly that we hardly suspected. Two households now feel the loss of her steady hand at the helm.
OK, enough with the maritime metaphors.
She could laugh. This is a great boon, and her laugh was wonderful to hear. She could yell—never at us and we could never understand what she was saying to Leonard. She could cook, and she liked it. And when a person cooks who likes to cook—oh my! I loved her ackee and salt fish, kalilu, chocho, plantain, rice and peas. I cook bluefish the way she cooked fish and first used curry under her aegis. I would never have ever eaten goat but for her curried goat specialty. I sat on the counter and watched her cook and listened to her stories.
Mae taught me about Jamaica. She was my interpreter—linguistically, socially and culturally. Without her I would have been a tourist terrified of the street hawkers in Ocho Rios. Under her instruction, I came to love the people of her neighborhood and her country. I am deeply sorry that now I will never be able to share mine with her.
Two families, hers and ours, became one family, now bereft.

Pictures from Jan Jenner's diary of the last time we visited Jamaica—maybe in 2000?
link to pictures of Dowling House in Jamaica


wtf's in the truck?

Is this a truck or a traveling greenhouse/ Chinese antique store?
I forgot to say when I pulled into the motel last night, the young female clerk and I had a slight mis- understanding.
Me: And can I pull my truck up to the door?
She (displaying map): Well, there's a spot you can park over here.
Me: I thought you said I could pull up to the door.
She: Well how big is your truck?
Me (realizing she was envisioning a tractor trailer): No no! It's just a pickup!


me tube

Now at the Best Western in Winchester, Va. Didn't even ask the price, but now that I see the snazzy cotton damask sheets, I'm starting to worry. . .
PS I have lots of great posts coming up but am too exhausted to write them.


lake lore

In the land of Kawliga, we went on down to supper at the store where the wooden totem pole immortalized by local boy Hank Williams once resided. Now it's a rather swank lakeside restaurant. Poor old Kawliga, never got a kiss. Poor old Kawliga, don't know what he missed. Is is any wonder, that his face is red, poor old Kawliga wooden head.
I am writing this at the fine home of Carol and Larry. En route home to Nueva York tomorrow.


hosts with the mosts

Southern hospitality appears to include delicious food (including okra and field peas and ribs) and many many floating objects, including boats (pontoon, speed, small craft) and more tubes than the former B & C Tube Emporium.


lake culture

ex-deserted isle

on deck with the rels

a vision!

And in home news, Erin and Flip's green house is featured in the Boston Globe here.