I can make a fire with one match in the woods in the rain. I can make a whistle from a blade of grass. Most cats love me and think I’m a cat too. I can hypnotize a frog with one hand and catch him with the other. There is no kite I cannot fly.
I once caught an albino tadpole in a shallow ribbon of stream in the cool sandy stretches between the fell from Salter’s Pond and the old paper mill, resting with 10,000 of his fresh brothers. He was one of about 100 tadpoles I brought home that summer day. Realizing the appeal of a white frog, I sought for him a home at Lutz Children’s Museum, who asked me to bring him back when he grew up. He never made it. He was not able to find maturity, growing hind legs only. I watched him sit motionless, alone, on a half-decayed leaf in a small aquarium I tried to make into a habitat for him. Months after the others had been released into the fields as sprightlings, he died. I felt I had meddled and done something thoughtless and cruel. After he died I was very saddened and didn’t catch tadpoles again as a child.
I gave that same museum my grandfather’s WWI helmet which he had given me, because it was too big and heavy for me to wear. I was 5. That is one of my biggest regrets.
I abhor killing animals even fish, for sport. I’m an extremely accurate marksman with a bow, a slingshot and a stone. I’ve won contests. I want to spend my days writing you love letters and poetry, unless I can tell you things directly, preferably as I unwrap you in the tender illumination of honey Christmas lights.
My mother would not let me drink orange juice at any time of the day except morning and only a small glass, and when I went out on my own the most freedom I felt for the first many years was the freedom to drink lots of orange juice, and whenever I wanted. I feel it to this day. I think I’m just trying to keep my mother alive, doing a life-continuum. I miss her terribly.
I have given it a lot of thought and in spite of what you say I stand firm on the following: the most beautiful thing I have ever seen is you under me.
There was a spot on our linoleum kitchen floor when I was a little boy, a small gouge, black, like an ink blotch. It marked the center of my universe. To it all things were measured for distance and direction - the Dairy Queen, Little Hale’s Five and Dime, school, the brook, my room, Florida, me. I have been the parent of five cats and two dogs. I made a terrarium for my kids which was home to many fish, tree frogs, crayfish and salamanders, some captured in the wild, some bought at the pet store. I bought a little red metal painted park bench that is normally used in train sets and put it in the little green universe next to the waterfall. Texas Tea, the resident tree frog, throaty and a beautiful reddish color who we raised from a tadpole, never sat on it as far as I ever knew.
My love for you goes beyond love and into being. I feel you are a part of me. I also feel that if we were really honest with ourselves we’d realize we are more ancient than the seas or stars, and that it could not possibly be any other way. You’re the other half of my town, the half on the good side of the tracks, and now that the town is back together, the trains can come again.
HMS Jelly Legs
Rosemary red potatoes by you-know-who, Street Frites, whatever is gently illuminated by someone's perfect candlelight, freshly picked morels roasted on a stick over a campfire in a Connecticut white birch forest in early spring with someone at my side, Lorna Dunes on dunes, us and any Fred Astaire movie at 4 am, sun ripened peaches and lots of time
My dream dinner party is a party of two. And how I do dream of taking a simple meal with her. That meal could be almost anything anywhere; peanut butter cheese crackers on a train ride to nowhere, hot dogs on Main Street, 4th of July, Anytown, USA 12345, Campbell's Chicken Noodle in the can huddled around the thin flames of a December fire under the straining canopy of snowy evergreens, fresh buttered toast brought to bed (unfinished) a surprise she has prepared for our first meal together since we touched down in the land of the Delta blues in the middle of the pouring rain
Cap'n Q-Tip; HMS Jelly Legs (a wondrous vessel) has not yet posted.
A father’s legacy
The vegetarian-cooking pioneer
Barbecue, tamales, cocktails, and more
Good on everything