The Tale of Cahoon's Hollow and the Unhappy Campers

At my blog, he goes by the name Pooftha, sometimes it’s Poofy but I call him Laho. (Now, don’t go and hit me the racial slur bit, ok?)

Actually, my long time friend Billy (Zipperhead, Zip for short)
coined the name ‘Laho’ and for me it just stuck.
We’ve celebrated birthdays, anniversaries, holidays and we get together on a fairly regular basis for a nice dinner out or the occasional BBQ at his house or my house.
(But Laho has a bitchin’ pool, no lie, so we usually go there)

Laho & Liho (his wife, who looks like she could be my wife’s twin sister) are very close to us.
We’ve gone through much together as far as our lives go.

But I’ve yet to tell you Laho’s favorite story about me.
It’s one he likes to pull out and tell (in great detail) every time we’re together.
However, he seems to derive an inordinate amount of pleasure telling it when there are lots of people around to actually listen to the man.
I take it more in stride these days but boy, oh boy, you’d think I really scarred the poor bastard for life the way he tells it. And maybe I did.

 

The story begins with a beautiful day on Cape Cod; the sun is 100% Orange Crush and the skies are a deep shade of eternal indigo with a few scant puffs of white for contrast.
Yeah, it’s perfect, ok?
L&L love the beach visible by their cocoa brown-colored skin during the summer months. I couldn’t take them to just any beach; Uh, uh.
This had to be a very special place.

It didn’t help my cause at all that I chose to praise the living crap out of this
hellhole. . . uhh, I mean really nice beach, I decided to take them to.
We agreed to meet the next day at our hotel and drive to the elbow of the Cape, Wellfleet to be exact.

“You guys are going to love this place,” I said, “It’s called Cahoon’s Hollow and it’s wonderful. We’ll have a blast,” I said confidently.

I should make a point of telling you that each of us had an infant in tow
(translation: we were carrying mucho baby apparatus; diapers, bottles, gallons of SPF 50+ sunscreen, bottled water, chairs, playpens, toys, strollers and incredibly the list goes on…you get the picture. And if you’re thinking this can’t and won’t end well, you’re right)

I should also mention that the path leading down to the beach was a steep incline easy to go down but virtually impossible to get up even when you’re not carrying a six pack of Magic Hat never mind 2 ½ tons of baby shit.

We all made it safely down the blistering hot hill of sand and found a nice spot to set up the girls and the babies.
It wasn’t until we were done that I turned to look at the ocean, the raison d’être for our visit.

Oh. My. God.

I didn’t think the ocean had that much seaweed.
For as far as the eye could see the first 25 to 30 ft of ocean was slimy, brown and extremely icky seaweed.
It even grossed me out, which is really hard to do. (Just ask Laho)

 

Laho said, “Nice . . . you guys come here a lot, huh?”

Even my wife gave me the ‘I don’t even know you’ stare.

By now, we’re all red hot, sweaty and irritable and the babies are getting whiney and crying; they’re hungry.
My recollection of the day pretty much stops right there.
The old grey matter had soaked in enough.

That’s where my good buddy Laho comes in.

He’s good at explaining the perilous and almost life-threatening situation we encountered exiting this shithole of a beach.

He uses words and phrases like “ frickin’ Murphy’” or we almost died getting out of there” or “Goddamned Murphy and his bright ideas” or “You’re not going to believe this shit!” or my favorite, “beautiful, just frickin’ beautiful” to describe the utter mayhem we experienced that day.

I’m here to tell you Laho and Liho (and family) still frequent the beach but our oldest daughters may be repressing some deep seated fears over brown, slimy and copious amounts of seaweed. I’m not sure.

I love Laho like a brother but if I have to hear that damn Cahoon’s Hollow story one more time… I’m still going to be laughing like I always do.
Maybe that’s what good friends do.

And in my heart, we’re more than just good.

And the Hollow will never let us forget that.

 

~m

ps. Liho, you’re Mom and Dad are in my prayers 

The Tale of Cahoon’s Hollow and the Unhappy Campers

At my blog, he goes by the name Pooftha, sometimes it’s Poofy but I call him Laho. (Now, don’t go and hit me the racial slur bit, ok?)

Actually, my long time friend Billy (Zipperhead, Zip for short)
coined the name ‘Laho’ and for me it just stuck.
We’ve celebrated birthdays, anniversaries, holidays and we get together on a fairly regular basis for a nice dinner out or the occasional BBQ at his house or my house.
(But Laho has a bitchin’ pool, no lie, so we usually go there)

Laho & Liho (his wife, who looks like she could be my wife’s twin sister) are very close to us.
We’ve gone through much together as far as our lives go.

But I’ve yet to tell you Laho’s favorite story about me.
It’s one he likes to pull out and tell (in great detail) every time we’re together.
However, he seems to derive an inordinate amount of pleasure telling it when there are lots of people around to actually listen to the man.
I take it more in stride these days but boy, oh boy, you’d think I really scarred the poor bastard for life the way he tells it. And maybe I did.

 

The story begins with a beautiful day on Cape Cod; the sun is 100% Orange Crush and the skies are a deep shade of eternal indigo with a few scant puffs of white for contrast.
Yeah, it’s perfect, ok?
L&L love the beach visible by their cocoa brown-colored skin during the summer months. I couldn’t take them to just any beach; Uh, uh.
This had to be a very special place.

It didn’t help my cause at all that I chose to praise the living crap out of this
hellhole. . . uhh, I mean really nice beach, I decided to take them to.
We agreed to meet the next day at our hotel and drive to the elbow of the Cape, Wellfleet to be exact.

“You guys are going to love this place,” I said, “It’s called Cahoon’s Hollow and it’s wonderful. We’ll have a blast,” I said confidently.

I should make a point of telling you that each of us had an infant in tow
(translation: we were carrying mucho baby apparatus; diapers, bottles, gallons of SPF 50+ sunscreen, bottled water, chairs, playpens, toys, strollers and incredibly the list goes on…you get the picture. And if you’re thinking this can’t and won’t end well, you’re right)

I should also mention that the path leading down to the beach was a steep incline easy to go down but virtually impossible to get up even when you’re not carrying a six pack of Magic Hat never mind 2 ½ tons of baby shit.

We all made it safely down the blistering hot hill of sand and found a nice spot to set up the girls and the babies.
It wasn’t until we were done that I turned to look at the ocean, the raison d’être for our visit.

Oh. My. God.

I didn’t think the ocean had that much seaweed.
For as far as the eye could see the first 25 to 30 ft of ocean was slimy, brown and extremely icky seaweed.
It even grossed me out, which is really hard to do. (Just ask Laho)

 

Laho said, “Nice . . . you guys come here a lot, huh?”

Even my wife gave me the ‘I don’t even know you’ stare.

By now, we’re all red hot, sweaty and irritable and the babies are getting whiney and crying; they’re hungry.
My recollection of the day pretty much stops right there.
The old grey matter had soaked in enough.

That’s where my good buddy Laho comes in.

He’s good at explaining the perilous and almost life-threatening situation we encountered exiting this shithole of a beach.

He uses words and phrases like “ frickin’ Murphy’” or we almost died getting out of there” or “Goddamned Murphy and his bright ideas” or “You’re not going to believe this shit!” or my favorite, “beautiful, just frickin’ beautiful” to describe the utter mayhem we experienced that day.

I’m here to tell you Laho and Liho (and family) still frequent the beach but our oldest daughters may be repressing some deep seated fears over brown, slimy and copious amounts of seaweed. I’m not sure.

I love Laho like a brother but if I have to hear that damn Cahoon’s Hollow story one more time… I’m still going to be laughing like I always do.
Maybe that’s what good friends do.

And in my heart, we’re more than just good.

And the Hollow will never let us forget that.

 

~m

ps. Liho, you’re Mom and Dad are in my prayers 

Veggie Idea

A while back I posted this about the Veggie car.
Recently, my friend Colin sent me a link to the video above.
The video, which was entered into a “Convienient Truths” contest, features his son Caric.
I’m blown away not only by the awesome planet friendly idea but by the fact that the last time I saw Caric he was wearing diapers.
Tough to get old. Caric sounds almost as smart as his old man. {grin}
Anyway, the contest is all about heightening awareness regarding the global warming issues we currently face.
A kid, a car and an idea. . .
I think I like it.

~m

ps.
Sorry I’ve been absent from commenting on my favorite blogs.
Didn’t want to get phlegm all over your dashboards.
See all of you next week. 

Love Letter

It was a cold, snowy day in late February of ’86 when I first left her bound for a two month club gig in Bermuda. The money would be good for us and I could logistically do the gig since we’d yet to have any children.
I was leaving her with a big old house, two cats and a promise that I’d be waiting on the tarmac when she touched down on Easter Sunday.

It was to be the first time I’d ever been away from her for longer than a night or two.
And I wasn’t worried about my Fender Rhodes or any of my equipment, the flight or the gig—I was wondering how the hell I was going to walk out the door.

It wasn’t a ‘By the time I get to Phoenix’ kind of thing but it was the middle of winter and it was snowing and there I stood trying desperately to say goodbye to a crying wife.
She’d been battling a cold as well which did nothing to lighten her spirits.

I felt awful.
I was crumbling at the realization of a vulnerability I’d never known before that moment. My ride pulled up and it was time to go.

I held her close while she sobbed against my chest and decided to close my eyes if only to remember the mere scent of her, the sheer essence of memory, possibly to stop my own tears.
I climbed into the van and saw her in the window holding one of our cats, my temporary replacement.
The snow was falling at a clip that made the moment seem surreal, postcard-like, and silent.
She waved and I waved back as we took off headed for Logan Airport and the short flight to Bermuda.

I was never one to write love letters but I found myself missing her so badly after one week that I needed to do something.
I was so lost on this beautiful island because I had no one to share it with and that little nugget of information nearly drove me insane.
I had to tell her somehow, someway that I loved her.
Unfortunately, a telephone call took forever and cost a small fortune so it only seemed logical that I write her letters, several of which she’s saved.
They’re sappy and sentimental but I’m hoping they meant something just a bit deeper.

I still remember my first phone call to her.
I was nervous!
I found that hysterical in retrospect.
Married for three years and I’m nervous.
What the hell was up with that?

Hearing her voice thousands of miles away was a deeply moving experience for me, a prayer answered.
Just the sound of it brought me home.
I’ve tried to find one of my letters to her but have come up empty handed.
I will tell you many made her cry but I know in my heart they were happy tears.
Should I find one in the future I promise to revisit this post.

I did find a St. Patrick’s card she sent that year that said:

Without you on St. Patrick’s Day…
My eyes have nothing to smile about.
I miss you!

And God, how badly I missed her.
Time has an interesting way of draping a gossamer curtain over emotional waves of the past almost making us forget the intensity of those moments and how much they re-arranged our insides…I did say almost.

Pamela,

You are the heart, soul and warmth in my life.
I honestly don’t know where I’d be without you in it.
I love you now as I did on the tarmac so many, many years ago.
You are my own angel of mercy…stay with me.
Happy Valentine’s Day,
You are mine. . .

~m

Rosary

DaliRose

(“Meditative Rose” drawing by Salvador Dali)

 

I find myself oddly sensitive to people and situations they’re in (or not in) at this time of year. Why I possess this heightened holiday awareness is anybody’s guess.

Maybe other folks feel the same way. I don’t know.

The other day as I was waiting to get off the train I spied an older woman with her head down.
In her shaky hands, I saw she held a threadbare set of rosary beads.
The rosary struck me as unusual for someone riding the commuter rail but then I noticed she was softly crying as well.
My heart went out to this strange woman obviously going through some sort of
life-altering ordeal.
Maybe she was praying for a sick grandchild, maybe a spouse, maybe this screwed up world we all live in.

I wanted to ask if she was alright but I stopped, my internal voice speaking out loud and clear: Michael, she’s crying and saying the rosary and you’re acting like she just hit the lottery. Wake up!

{Insert literary dope slap here}

I felt somewhat stranded and inept because there was little I felt I could realistically do.
On my key ring, I have a ‘guardian angel’ penny that I carry with me everywhere I go. Most days I hardly think about it—I know it’s there and that’s enough.
As I looked at this woman, my fingers involuntarily found the coin on the key ring in my coat pocket; my thinking being the outside chance of just holding the coin would magically transfer some benevolence and blessing her way.

I hate feeling helpless when I come upon a shattered soul.
This poor woman was all alone and in a way, she was stranded like me.

I ultimately decided it was none of my business and I walked past her and out of the train.

The scenario I encountered was not much different than what I encountered with one of my latest posts.
I thought “Nebula” would elicit more comments than it did.
This isn’t a post about getting you to read it, it’s about the fact that I put 2 and 2 together and came up with 4, something more elusive than it seems.
Nebula” was a painful post to read and many chose to walk away, silent.
Just like I did the other day…

I dedicate this post to the woman on train in the hopes that she found a few of her prayers answered. Sometimes, prayer is all we can honestly offer another human being.
But maybe, in the end, that’s not so bad after all.

 

~m

2,996

2,996

I urge all bloggers to click on the picture above and make your blog a place of honor this year for the many victims of 9/11.
I am honored to have been assigned Amy N. Jarett, a flight attendant on US American Airlines Flight 175.
She lived in North Smithfield, Rhode Island, a town that’s about 30 miles away from me.
So close at one point but now so very far away.
This is such a worthy cause.

~m

SPF 30, my ass

sun

I’m writing this on our last day of vacation. It’s about four in the afternoon and my wife and daughters have gone shopping leaving me to my own devices.
The room is quiet save for the air conditioner slaving away by the window.
We’ve had wonderful weather this week, perfect beach weather; hot and sunny.
Put the two together and you get an idea as to why my daughters are calling me the “lobsterman”.
The post title should make some sense as well.
I got a bit toasty.
Speaking of toasted, I’m drinking a beer called ‘Road Dog’,
a Scottish Porter made by the Flying Dog Brewery in Denver, Co.
road dog

The artwork on the bottle reminded me of Ralph Steadman.
I’ve loved Steadman’s work forever. Think of a Hunter Thompson book cover and you know who Steadman is.
Anyway, the phrase on the bottle simply said, “good beer, no shit.”
Sign me up, captain.
It’s not as good as my beloved Guinness but it’s cold and wet and hitting the spot right now.

A few vacation/beach observations:

* If you’re a pregnant woman going to a public beach and you’re anywhere near your third trimester, please, for the love of God, lose the two-piece bikini. While I considered my wife subtly sexy when she was pregnant, I consider a strange woman strutting her expanding gut on the beach to be nothing short of a corpulent slob.

* The need/urge for a woman to “pee” is in direct proportion to the amount of traffic you’re sitting in that’s slowing down your arrival at the nearest bathroom.

*Cold beer and a freshly boiled lobster never taste nearly as good as when you’re enjoying them while sitting with a great friend. We watched a burning sunset over a harbor in Hyannis and talked about old times. The beer was colder and the lobster,sweeter.
Go figure.

*My daughters all look like they come from the Tropics because they’re so tanned.

*Horseflies suck.

*I love my bed.

This post wouldn’t be complete without saying thank you to my good friend Writer Chick.
Though she would have loved a bit more feedback, she had alot of fun.
She may be by occasionally to do a cameo appearance if she can find some time as she’s currently at work on a novel.
I thank all that commented and made her feel at home.
I also hope that those that did visit and left anonymously enjoyed their stay.
I plan on making the rounds sometime this weekend to do some catch up on my favorite blogs. Hope everyone is well.
Back to work on Monday…yuck.

~m

A Day at the Beach

I was so looking forward to a day at the beach. Get out of the sweltering city, feel a little cool, ocean breeze on my face, eat some hot-dogs and ice-cream in waffle cones. Afterward, a stroll on the Venice Beach Boardwalk. Now I have to tell you about this place. It’s not just any ol’ boardwalk. This place is a three-ring circus with sand.

You start down the long walk from the parking lot, at first you see nothing but the beach to your right. Which is okay because the sailboats are out and the gulls are dive-bombing for fish. The sun worshippers are baking on blankets, boogie boarders are riding the waves and little kids are digging for seashells and tiny crabs. The whoosh of the waves channel some sort of ancient lullabye in your brain. And you just feel happy or free or something. A spring comes to your step and you hurry along toward the cacophony of color, sound and smells.

First up is the Rostrafarian, roller-skated, bass-player. Well he doesn’t have an amp but he plays just the same. As you move on you encounter the Caribbean Crew doing some mean bongo island boogie. Painters, good and bad, have lined up their wares for you to see and buy. You move on – the Korean Ladies are doing Shitsu massage in little, white, open-air tents.

The smell of hotdogs, incense, board wax and popcorn, mixes with the sea air. You breathe deeply. They don’t have smells like that in the Valley. Ugh, the Valley – the hottest, hell-hole in all of California. But I digres…

You pass the crazy guy who is juggling running chain saws and make your way around the crowd of uninitiated tourists who are ooing and ahing as he whips them around and around. You wander into the Brazialian leather shop and inspect backpacks, wallets, cowboy hats and belts. You move on, walk some more. But an icecream cone from the place that has the waffle cones and you just walk. Moving with the crowd, your eyes trying to take it all in. You don’t care that it’s hot and you’re sweating because there is something cleansing about the ocean and the sun and the cry of the gulls fighting over a hotdog bun.

More music. More shops. More people. More jugglers. More paintings. More doodabs. Tie-die bikinis – the occasional roller-blader – then a whole bank of open-air stands. Jewelry from earrings to toe-rings- sunglasses – indian cotton shirts and dresses that flap in the wind. It’s all just the best time ever.

Only…well it didn’t really happen that way. Velma drove. We got kind of lost and kept doing this loop dee loop around. We stumbled upon the 3rd Street Promenade and searched for a bathroom and a steak. Well, no steak but there was a bathroom in the bistro we had lunch in. The food was okay, the waiter was scrumptious. More walking for special flip-flops but Velma couldn’t find the kind she wanted. Back to the car and off to the beach. I sent her driving in the wrong direction. We drove. We stopped and asked for directions. We drove some more.

We found the beach but alas, no parking. Lot after lot. Oh sure there were a couple lots that were asking for $20 but we weren’t willing to fork it over. We drove in more circles, looking for a space to park. No good. Not going to happen.

More time looking for the freeway – and then we headed home.

“Aw” you may be saying, “too bad.” But really not. I did get to ‘see’ the beach and it is still everything I knew it to be. I did feel the ocean breeze even though I wasn’t as close as I wanted. And I did get out of the blistering heat for a few hours. Plus I had lunch with Velma who always makes me laugh and has plenty of stories to tell.

All in all, life is a beach.

Writer Chick (guest blogger)

Dear Abbey

monastery

When I opened my journal this morning a pamphlet fell out.
I read the title: Saint Joseph’s Abbey.
I assumed my wife had put it there for me to find because I’ve said time and time again that I’ve always wanted to go on retreat.
I continue to hold onto the hopes and dreams of rejuvenating my somewhat deflated and bruised religious spirit.

My wife recently went to the Abbey on a field trip with a busload of children from a CCD class she was teaching.
She sent me a text message that read:
How come little kids like to sing on buses so much?

I thought about her comment and discovered something possibly deeper.
As adults, we want to recapture that child-like innocence, unencumbered by the many complexities of our lives; we want, quite simply, to sing.
Though we might not admit that to many for fear of ridicule, I think we yearn for that simpler mentality and way of life.

For too many years, I’ve been angry at a God that I thought didn’t understand me as I traveled down the various bumpy roads of my so called life.
I stepped away from faith in my life and held a clenched fist to the sky while asking the age old question: why?

These days, I try to think more of the Johnny Nash song as I smile;
I can see clearly now, the rain is gone.

Ahh, music, it’s one of my soul’s visceral needs; a most precious gift in my life from a higher power.
I see certain people that have magically surfaced in my life, as if to provide me with some much needed emotional buoyancy.
I can’t help but wonder if they have always been woven into the ever-expanding fabric of my life.

I believe it is through divine providence and grace that I’ve made it to here; a fact I’m sadly realizing right now.
While I’ve never been a big “God” kind of guy, I do feel that it’s time me and Him had some dialogue –uninterrupted.
What better way than to take a trip in February to a sacred and quiet place where I might finally be able to listen to all that I’ve been too busy to hear.
It’s time I rediscovered that crystal silence I knew so long ago as a child; the time in my life when singing was breathing.
It’s ironic that my youngest daughter was responsible for the placement of the pamphlet.
Maybe she understands better than I do that my soul has been living too long in silence.
And it’s time for it to once again sing.
It’s time for me to finally shed the bitterness and regret.
Life is just too damn short and in the end, it slowly eats you up.
Maybe I’m getting smarter in my old age. Yeah, sure…

 

~m

 

ps. there may be a guest author taking over the blog for a tiny bit.
I need a well deserved break with my girls. Stay tuned.
If she says ‘yes’, you’re in for a treat.