Should have known the good weather wouldn’t last long. I’m sitting in my living room in utter gloom, all the shades wide open, and it’s as dark at 9 a.m. as it will be at 9 p.m. What could it be? Why, more rain on the way. Yippee, rain.
Alan took the boat out for its shakedown over the weekend, and said the lake is full of floating logs and other debris washed down in recent deluges. Which immediately sent me spinning back to 1973 and my first visit to Michigan. I’m 15, and my friend Paul has invited me and two other girls to his cottage in the Les Cheneaux Islands, in the U.P. Every night we tuck a couple 12-packs of Stroh’s under our arms and go to someone else’s cottage to party, or else they come to us. This involves much night boating under the blackest skies and brightest stars I’ve ever seen. Paul knows the water and can navigate the whole area without lights, but every night as we leave his grandmother warns us about “deadheads.” The winter was tough, the spring rains heavy — you might be reading about 1973 elsewhere this week, as the Mississippi floods — and the retreating ice tore up a lot of docks, leaving their timbers still floating here and there. That’s a deadhead. You don’t want to hit one in your boat, and responsible boaters, when they spot one, are expected to tow them to shore, if possible. They are the car-swallowing potholes of the seas.
Paul’s grandmother, Cor, had a very distinctive voice, and as soon as we got out of the house we’d repeat her warnings to one another, in the Cor voice: “Why, your mother and John Pumphrey were coming home one night, and they found a piano crate! Floating in the channel at Dollar Island! Thank God John was using the spotlight! That’s what I’m talking about! You just never know!”
We never used the spotlight. We didn’t hit any deadheads, although “watch out for floating piano crates” lived for years as an in-joke in our gang. And now I’m telling her stories. And somewhere Cor is laughing.
Rain coming any minute now. Come on, rain.
I shouldn’t complain. ROGirl just posted this Daily Mail photo spread of mind-boggling images from Joplin. How on earth do you survive something like that? And speaking of mind-boggling, it’s worth a scarce NYT click-through for the photo with this story; the caption tell us the photographer captured the image “from outside her front door before seeking shelter.” That would have to be the case, because otherwise, that camera would be 15 miles away, under where the flying cow came to rest.
Yeesh. Let’s skip to the bloggage:
Lance Armstrong’s clay feet continue to erode. I made up my mind a long time ago that St. Lance was almost certainly dirty, but that doesn’t negate the good he’s done, or tried to do, does it? Would he be an effective fundraiser for cancer if he were merely the 20th-best cyclist in the world? Complicated people, complicated questions. But simply dirty; I just don’t see how it could be any other way.
A friend of mine ruined “The Sound of Music” for me some years back, by pointing out the obvious: “Captain Von Trapp is old enough to have a daughter who is 16 going on 17, right? And Maria is a novitiate at the abbey, so she’s how old? Eighteen, maybe 19? The nuns keep calling her a girl, anyway. So when he marries Maria, he’s choosing a wife who is barely older than his daughter. And the daughter calls her ‘mother.’ Sorry, too creepy for me.”
I had never thought of this. The only thing that bugged me was how a landlocked country like Austria could have a navy. (Answer: The Austro-Hungarian Empire.)
Anyway, she sent me this yesterday, a letter to friends announcing the end of the engagement between the captain and Baroness Schraeder:
Please, friends, don’t worry about me. While I was a bit startled to be thrown aside for someone who flunked out of nun school, I assure you that I will be fine, and my main pursuits in life shall continue to be martinis, bon mots, and looking fabulous. You’ll also be glad to know I have retained custody of the Captain’s hard-drinking gay friend, Max. Anyone who gets tired of sing-a-longs should feel free to look us up.
A few notes on “King Lear,” a play you can’t even begin to understand until you’re 40, and maybe not even then.
And with that, I’m going to put a pork shoulder in the crock pot with some cumin, onion and dried peppers, add a little water and see what comes out in a few hours.