My Nevada family (son,
wife, 12-year-old twins) flew east to spend Independence Day week in
Marblehead. It was nice to have them here safe with me instead of at
their usual vacation spots: Mexico with the drug cartels, the Sierra
Nevada with the forest fires, or San Francisco on its earthquake
Before leaving for
Logan to pick them up, I cleared out the back seat of the car. Is
that a spider web in the corner? Does that big black spider have an
odd-shaped spot on its back? Where did it go? No time to find it or
even Google “black widow.” I told the family when they got in the
car to watch for it. They were pretty sure that black widow spots
are red, not white.
Never mind. Everyone
watch the western horizon; this feels to me like tornado weather,
and if you see a tornado, I’ll stop the car and you leap into a
ditch. Yes, I know there aren’t a lot of ditches on Route 1A; jump
in the Revere estuary.
Son: “What if there’s
News photo by David Le
They’re laughing at me
… until they take a walk down to Salem Harbor later that day and see
the forming funnel cloud. (Great photo next day in Salem News!)
Since they have to fly
home, I’m not going to think about the San Francisco airport crash.
I should always remember that there’s so much to worry about when
you have kids, there’s no point in even getting started.
The rest of the week
featured trauma rather than danger. My son chose The Landing for his
birthday dinner, and ordered a pasta/lobster entrée, different from
my and my granddaughter’s lobster mac and cheese. He mentioned that
he didn’t want a whole lobster because they always remind him of
cockroaches. A few minutes later, his plate arrives with a full
lobster carcass lying in three pieces on top of the pasta.
His mother, wife and
son all laughing, daughter laughing till tears in her eyes: wait,
she’s crying. Had never seen a dead lobster before. Waitress, please
remove the carcass … thanks.
Aside from that, the
meal was excellent, friendly waitress put a candle in the cheesecake
we shared. I was grateful because I hadn’t made a birthday cake: The
Nabisco chocolate cookies that I use with Cool Whip to make our
family’s traditional refrigerator cake were nowhere to be found in
any local grocery store! Have I outlived the Nabisco chocolate
cookies? Now I’m the one crying.
Woke up early the next
morning to sound of cat chasing a rabbit around the living room. I
tossed the cat in the bathroom, opened both doors to let the rabbit
hop out. Saw squirrels lined up on the front porch waiting for their
morning peanuts, so left only the back screen door open, went out
front to feed the squirrels hoping the rabbit would eventually find
the back door in the three-room downstairs.
Never saw him again so
assumed he was eating clover with the other rabbits in our
mowed-meadow backyard. I wiped up the drops of blood so as not to
traumatize granddaughter; figured it was from a small wound due to
cat dragging rabbit through two cat doors, one onto screened porch,
one into living room. Released cat, who doesn’t usually bother the
busy lemonade stand
Four days later,
noticed an awful smell in the hallway, which was closed off by an
Indian blanket used to keep the living room cool with the window
air-conditioner, used to prevent the aquarium fish from cooking in
summer heatwave (family using window fans in bedrooms). Son went
hunting for source of smell. He and grandson buried dead, decaying
bunny in the backyard.
Sure was hot last week,
wasn’t it? We were glad I’d purchased tickets to the Marblehead
Little Theatre’s “Spamalot,” got there expecting the doors to open
at 7 for the 7:30 production. For some reason two officious blondes
kept people, including the elderly and handicapped, sweltering in
the lobby until 7:20 — except for me, who probably embarrassed
family by brushing past blondes to wait in the back of the
air-conditioned theater. Always try to teach grandkids: Question
authority, don’t be sheep.
The musical was great
fun, though, especially for son who has during his 49 years
memorized most of “Monty Python and the Holy Grail” so could
understand the accents. Wonderful voices, especially that of the
Lady of the Lake. Family also enjoyed an afternoon on my friend Rolf
On July 4th,
granddaughter had a lemonade stand in front of my house; lots of
boaters walking to the dock from faraway parking stopped to drink.
Grandson earned money stomping flat the boxes that had accumulated
on my porch. Too bad they didn’t think to sell tickets to
traditional political arguments between Gram and Daddy.
Partner Chip hosted a
cookout for my family and some of his; then mine went to the harbor
illumination in Marblehead, while his went down the street to Salem
Harbor. Chip and I prefer to watch the fireworks through the trees
from his tiny office balcony, while listening to the Boston Pops
concert on television.
It was a great Fourth
of July, for all but the lobster and the bunny.