We have arrived in Fairhaven (our usual stop either on the way up or back from Cape Cod, so that we can go eat Portuguese food in Fall River), and thankfully the Holiday Inn here has internet access, so I have been avidly catching up on blogs.
This past week at the Cape was a particularly bad one to be without the internet. The first three days were wonderful - sunny, warm and totally enjoyable - but then the rain came on Wednesday, along with a Northeast wind. Although the initial forecast was for just one day of rain, as soon as I heard it was a Northeast wind, my hopes sank, as Northeast winds bring three days of lousy weather exactly. Always three days. And that's what we got. Luckily it didn't actually pour rain for three days; we were able to go walking about on Thursday and Friday, and do some of the things we like to do while we're at the Cape. But it was cold. Not nice at all. And depressing. So having the internet would have been a nice diversion.
I kept thinking of things I wanted to blog about while I was sans blogging ability, so I'll try to compile them all into one post. It may seem a bit schizophrenic, but what the heck.
On the most serious note, I did start to write a post about the assassination of Robert Kennedy on June 5.
Here is how it went:
It isn't often that I can remember exactly how a certain day began, especially not one 40 years ago. In fact, I often can't remember what happened two days ago. But June 5, 1968 is as clear to me as if it happened yesterday.
I was 14 years old, a freshman in high school, at the time. My first year of school in a new town was nearing a close. I hadn't made that many friends yet, and brought up as an only child, was used to the company of adults. My parents, staunch Democrats, had always discussed politics around me, and I had already developed a strong interest in current events. I became addicted to listening to the recently-created all-news radio station, 880 WCBS AM, and had been following the political scene with avid attention. Every morning I awoke to CBS on my clock radio, to the comforting voice of a young radio announcer named Charles Osgood, who had the morning news shift at that time.
On that morning 40 years ago I awoke to hear a jumble of voices rather than the single voice of Charles Osgood. Yes, his voice was there, but so was the voice of seasoned newsman, Charles Collingwood, and other commentators.
As I listened in increasing horror to the conversation, it all became heartbreakingly clear. Robert Kennedy had been shot by Sirhan Sirhan after winning the California primary the night before.
I still had to go to school, and I remember that morning very clearly - a beautifully sunny, perfect June morning with a clear blue sky.
We all remember the rest of that year. The contentious convention in Chicago, the riots, the police, and the ultimate victory in November by Richard M. Nixon - by a margin so narrow that it wasn't clear until the following day that he had beaten Humphrey.
If not for what happened on June 5, 1968, it might have all been so different. But now we'll never know.
Of course, on a much happier note, on Tuesday Barack Obama finally became the official Democratic nominee for President. Hillary did not concede that night, to the consternation of some Obama supporters, but she made up for it with a very supportive speech endorsing him on Saturday. Let's hope that the wounds can heal and that the party can come together to defeat McCain in November. We don't want another 1968.
As for our vacation, it was filled with the usual activities we always enjoy - going to the beach, taking walks in the woods with our dog, relaxing and eating lots of fish, lobster and fried clams and oysters.
Diva had a wonderful time swimming in the lake at the cottages, chasing after her ball countless times and swimming back with it in her mouth, snorting loudly as the water went up her nose.
We also saw my mother's cousin and an old friend who runs the motel we used to stay at before discovering these cottages, which allow dogs. And Saturday dawned sunny and warm, so we spent some time on the beach after leaving our cottages, to make up for the three days of rain. So all in all, we had a very nice time.
Each year we go to the Cape, however, there is always at least one major change since the last visit. This time we discovered to our dismay that one of the restaurants I'd been going to since I was a kid (the Eastham Lobster Pool) had closed and is for sale. It had been sold to new owners last year and they had changed the menu and made it a little more trendy. I'm not sure that caused its demise but I do always believe in the old maxim, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it." We'll see whether someone else buys it and reopens it by the time we come up to the Cape again.
The good news is, the Orleans Army Navy Store, which was closed last fall when we were at the Cape, has reopened under new ownership and is still, thankfully, the Army Navy Store. Some traditions just shouldn't die.
Whenever I'm at the Cape I feel surrounded by ghosts of my own past, since I've been going to the Cape since I was 2 years old, and it tends to make me nostalgic. This year was particularly poignant, as my mother, now 89, is no longer able to do as much as she used to, and it made me rather melancholy this week; or maybe it was the rain.
At any rate, my mother is getting less steady on her feet and this year for the first time I found she had to take my arm to walk just about anywhere we went, or else she would wobble and lose her balance. My mother was always the one who dragged me on all the nature walks at the National Seashore sites. Now she can barely walk from her cottage to ours.
But my mother and I never stand on false sentimentality. We tend to laugh about things like this rather than let them get us down.
My mother has a cane. It's sitting at home in a corner of her apartment, never used. It's not even hers; my aunt gave it to her because she wouldn't use it either. I have asked my mother why she won't use the cane. "Because it will make me look old." "Mom, you ARE old." "Well, I think it would make me look even older to have a cane." "Mom, it makes you look old to have to lean on my arm everywhere!"
So as my mother and I shuffled along from place to place this week, my refrain was, "Mom, you are SO going to use that cane when we get home!"
I think she may actually try it. I hope so, because after walking along at a snail's pace trying to match my steps to hers all week, I am the one who feels old now!