I’ve been a Yankees fan my entire life. In elementary school I flipped baseball cards with the boys to add to my collection and when Thurman Munson died while I was away at camp, I convinced the counselors that the American flag needed to be lowered to half mast in the Captain’s honor.
The Yankees’ roster of the 1970s was filled with huge personalities. Reggie Jackson, Catfish Hunter and Sparky Lyle were larger than life sports figures who attracted attention both on and off the field and I loved rooting for my guys in pinstripes. They were exciting, often controversial and always entertaining and I watched every game I could, including that magical playoff game in Boston when my least favorite Yankee, Bucky Dent, redeemed himself to me by hitting that 3 run homer for the win.
While life changed in the ensuing years, my love for the Yankees never abated. My team won the World Series during my first two pregnancies and I seriously considered contacting George Steinbrenner to see if he might be willing to sponsor my third pregnancy, seeing that we had a shared history of both being able to “produce” simultaneously. Those late night World Series games were when Derek Jeter first came to my attention.
I recall him as being an earnest, hardworking and enthusiastic player. He limited his drama, unlike the players from the 70s, to the field, and his boyish good looks and shy smile made him an immediate idol. When I learned that he had a close connection to my hometown and oldest friend, I loved him even more. He has been a joy to watch and my team will be hard pressed to fill the gap he leaves in their roster.
At a time when heroes are in such short supply, Jeter allowed us to consider him to be ours. He represented a team, a sport, a city and a country better than anyone else has ever done. Jeter’s humbleness made us proud and I am heartbroken by the thought that there will never been another sports figure with as much character and positive influence as Derek Jeter. Enjoy your next chapter, Derek. You’ll be missed and remembered forever.
One, okay two, of the best things I put in my mouth while on vacation this year was pie from the Scottish Bakehouse in Tisbury. I think I’ve mentioned this place before and am happy to report that, like some favorite books from years gone by, this special bakery continues to satisfy.
When I rolled in to their parking lot in the late afternoon midweek, I was worried about what the remaining selection might be. Come to find out that the limited choices available for me were perfect – key lime and blueberry. Naturally, I took both, along with 2 peanut butter cookies, 2 chocolate chip cookies and a hunk of cardamom cinnamon coffee cake. Total: $54.00. We’ll talk more about that in a moment.
While my order was being put together, my attention was attracted by a woman wearing kitchen clothes. Turns out she is the chef (owner?) of the Art Cliff Diner at the Bakehouse to pick up their order of baked goods. See how it works? Good places source from good places, a truism always nice to see.
How were the pies? The blueberry pie with an intriguing hint of cinnamon was a simple pleasure. The fruit was tender and sweet and I thoroughly enjoyed the single slice to which I laid claim. I focused on the key lime, one of my all-time favorite flavors and one which they do a great job. It’s tart and tasty, sitting up tall on a graham cracker crumb crust. I’ve singlehandedly eaten almost the entire thing. I’m not sorry.
Now, let’s talk about the prices. When I first was presented with the total, I was a little taken aback. I don’t really buy a lot of baked goods, but it seemed a little pricey. I’ve been thinking about, though, and have decided that I’m really okay with the expense of my splurge. The quality of the items certainly justified the price and when you consider the brevity of the season, it seems fair. I highly doubt that anyone at the Scottish Bakehouse is getting rich off pie, you know what I mean?
I’ve got one slice of that key lime pie left. I’m calling it breakfast.
…there’s sand. Grains and grains of sand. Because of this condition, this year I committed to taking only paperback books to the beach. I mean, really, when it comes to reading at the beach, something I can finally do now that my boys are older, the paperback is the only way to go.
There are a couple of books which left a big impression upon me when I first read them many years ago. I decided to revisit them to see if they still would move me after so many years had gone past.
I started with Hemingway’s A Moveable Feast. When I first read it, I was an undergraduate infatuated with the romance of Europe and expatriates. Two of those three have not changed. Reading it last week, I was once again transported to Paris, witnessing the cafe life of some of America’s finest writers during the 1920s. Hemingway’s observations, recounted from memory decades later, are remarkable as he paints such vivid scenes with an almost miserly number of words. It still works for me.
A couple of favorite passages:
“We’ll come home and eat here and we’ll have a lovely meal and drink Beaune from the co-operative you can see right out of the window there with the price of the Beaune on the window. And afterwards we’ll read and then go to bed and make love.”
“In Europe then we thought of wine as something as healthy and normal as food and also as a great giver of happiness and well being and delight. Drinking wine was not a snobbism not a sign of sophistication nor a cult; it was as natural as eating and to me as necessary, and I would not have thought of eating a meal without drinking either wine or cider or beer.”
The other title I picked up for the first time in years was Laura Esquivel’s Like Water for Chocolate. I remember being absolutely charmed by this wonderful novel when I initially encountered it. The passion! The deftly handled magical realism! I loved it then and I love it now. I could almost taste the words.
Here are a few morsels to savor.
“To the table or to bed
You must come when you are bid.”
“A man equal to loving someone who needed love as much as she did, a man like him.”
“…within our bodies each of us has the elements needed to produce phosphorus… each of us is born with a box of matches inside us but we can’t strike them by ourselves…each person has to discover what will set off those explosions in order to live, since the combustion that occurs when one of them is ignited is what nourishes the soul.”
What are your favorites? Have you revisited any recently?
Is it me or have the cherries this year been terrific? I’ve really been enjoying them with plain Greek yogurt and granola as a light lunch or pre-run snack in recent weeks and will be sad to see the season end. Especially since I just bought a new kitchen gadget to make eating even easier. Meet my new favorite kitchen toy – the cherry pitter!
You may be familiar with my resistance to buying one-trick wonder items. I’m more into multitasking, you know. When I hit up Utilities in Provincetown for my annual shopping spree, though, I was willing to take a break from my usual state of efficiency to simplify my life by buying a cherry pitter. Of course, as always, when I go to a store seeking a specific item they were sold out. Boo.
Fortunately, I didn’t have to reside in the pits for long because Vineyard Haven has an awesome home store, Le Roux, that had exactly what I was seeking – in three different versions! I went with the Cadillac version in the hopes that I will never have to make this purchase again. At least that’s what the salesman promised.
So? How does it work? It’s pretty damn amazing! Stem the cherries and place them in the pitter and press. Bam! The pit drops out and you’re left with a nearly intact cherry. Easy-peasy, as they say. As a matter of fact, I just may pick up a couple of more to have on hand for gifts for friends who are tired of living in the pits.
As I walked past my car in our island seashell driveway, I noted the 5 consecutive years’ worth of Wellfleet beach parking stickers affixed to the rear window. It made me smile. I considered my previous car, also a wagon that had displayed at least as many years of evidence of our travels, and wondered how all of these summer road trips would be woven through the memories of my sons.
I would hope that one day my children will share the stories of their childhoods with their own families – and there are some good ones. After years of traveling together, we have a collection of moments which belong to us and can be taken out and polished countless times. Like sea glass, some began with jagged and sharp edges, but after years of repeated stroking they have softened and no longer have the ability to cut. They’ve become our treasures.
Projecting into the future, even beyond the expected years of my own life, I imagine my children telling their children these stories of us. The times spent with family, together, exploring new sights and revisiting favorite places. Ordering the same meals in the same restaurants in the same towns, not as an attempt to recapture that time, but instead, to pay those former days homage.
These days and weeks collectively combining to encompass months and months of our lives, are deserving of a chapter in our “story of our lives.” How about you, DelSo reader? What chapters are you writing in your own life?
The view, complete with hummingbirds, of the private deck from my bed.
The stained glass window hanging in the floor to ceiling window in the living room.
An enormous fish sculpture suspended from the ceiling beams.
The perfect outdoor light fixture!
Melodic notes from the biggest wind chimes I’ve ever seen.
A sink side compost bin and a tumbler to empty it in.
The rich colors of this gorgeous painting.
A charming tableau of mermaid and seashell which never failed to elicit a smile.
The siren’s call of this third floor deck.
Showering under the stars.
The sun is peeking out from the soft grey clouds and my private little deck beckons. Listening to the birds and the trees on a quiet morning while the rest of the house still sleeps, is one of my favorite times of the day. No one needs anything, other than the hummingbird who just cruised by the feeder looking for some breakfast. He’ll have to wait.
I’ve been visiting the Cape for 16 consecutive summers and the charm has yet to wear off. Sure, there are places I no longer find appealing (I’m talking to you, obvious consumption Chatham) but, in general, I still appreciate what this place offers me. Despite all the changing variables – where we stay, the layouts of the various houses we have rented, the time of the summer, the composition of our families, which friends visit, the most special thing to me about the Cape is how it itself remains constant. There will be fried seafood and sandy feet and predictable tides. The shoreline may shift and beaches and dunes will erode, but the sun will reliably drop into the bay in a blaze of orange and purple at the end of the day. This, is what I love about being here.
I can’t help but reflect on my boys and how their needs and interests have changed over the years. The amount of props they once required! Strollers and pack and plays, life preservers and diapers – all gone now, replaced by digital toys and, thank God, books. When I packed this year, in my usual style, filling Rubbermaid containers which can double as hampers after the clothing is hastily put into temporary homes in strange dressers, I got my own bin for the first time ever. For years, I’ve shared my bin with my youngest as I’ve placed the big guys’ clothes together. This year their stuff is all together and I have a smaller box just for me. It means something doesn’t it?
Life is changing – every day. Coming to the beach and taking the time to recognize, accept and honor that, while digging my toes in the sand, makes these weeks the most special of the year. I hope you have a place like that, too.
Time to feed the hummingbirds.