Zachary Klein

zachI know. Boston’s been flirting with record high temperatures this past week. But so what? We’re a third of the way into September and no amount of heat and humidity can shatter my cringe as winter approaches.

I remember the last one all too well:PIC1So I cling to my fast fading memories of summer. And honestly, there aren’t all that many. This wasn’t a kick-out-the-jams season since we’re in deep reno prep for a long overdue overhaul of our living space. We rent out the first floor apartment, live on the second, and have our offices on the third.










By “prep,” we’re talking about packing up everything from the kitchen, pantry, and a good chunk of the living room and hauling it to the third floor to stuff into our offices and anywhere else we can stack boxes.PIC3


Which meant no long trips but didn’t mean no fun. We took a couple of weekends to visit cousins in Western Massachusetts, who have a sweet home on Lake Buel in Monterey.

PIC4Of course it was also wonderful to stay in Brooklyn and drive to Connecticut to visit our grandchildren, who are on the move now—crawling, pulling themselves to their feet, and making all sorts of strange sounds.PIC5





Between the family visits, Sue and I continued our ongoing tour of “not particularly first rate cities”—a weekend in Portland, Maine, and, a day in Salem, Massachusetts.

Ahh, what sacrifices we make for CULTURE. Portland Museum of Art (PMA) was showing a exhibit culled from eight Maine museums called Directors’ Cut: Selections from the Maine Art Museum Trail. It was a hell of a lot easier to view the best of each museum gathered in one place than scrambling around—no matter how beautiful the roads might be. This wasn’t leaf-peeping season.


Andrew Wyeth-Turkey Pond.


Marguerite Thompson Zorach

The exhibit placed images by distinctively different artists next to each other to treat us to the breadth of visions inspired by the state. For the most part it was successful, showcasing the talents of Winslow Homer, Rockwell Kent, and Andrew Wyeth alongside works by Lois Dodd, Marguerite Thompson Zorach, or Robert Indiana.





Winslow Homer-Sunset Fires.

Winslow Homer-Sunset Fires.

Robert Indiana-Eat with Fork










As is the case with many small city museums, Portland’s is a nice size—that is, you don’t start blurring out by the time you leave.

Poker Night from A Streetcar Named Desire

Poker Night from A Streetcar Named Desire

And there was certainly no blur when we visited the Peabody Essex Museum (PEM) in Salem to see American Epics: Thomas Hart Benton and Hollywood.

While the exhibit focused on Benton’s years in Hollywood, creating huge poster-like paintings that captured a sense of story (and were often about great movies), the show included a number of his earlier, more political paintings—some of which were surprisingly (at least to me) powerful. The man didn’t like what we did to Native Americans and abhorred slavery.

Thomas Hart Benton

Thomas Hart Benton

Of course you can’t visit museums without proper nourishment. Each of these two cities had a number of good restaurants, though Portland takes the prize. Rapidly becoming a real artisan, locally sourced foodie town, our favorite meal was at Fore Street.

Pic12The atmosphere was New England coast casual, but the food was not. And people know about it. Fore was banged out for months, but if you were willing to check in at 5 p.m. and hang at the bar for about an hour until they opened the restaurant, it was possible to be seated. ‘Course, I’d be pretty much willing to wait at a bar any time of day, but this time it let us score the best meal we had all year.

PIC13Lunch in Salem’s Finz Seafood and Grill didn’t match Fore. But we left with wide smiles and full stomachs having split a FINZ Burger that came loaded with fried oysters, melted onions, boursin cheese and bacon—and then, there were those fish tacos.


In between our “not ready for prime time” tours, we went to a number of friends’ parties, including our traditional July 4th at Bob and Randee’s house. Always great people time with super food. (Hmm, I’m seeing a pattern here.)

The other party that jumps out was Mike and Carol’s 50th wedding anniversary. Mike had been working for close to fifteen years rebuilding a ramshackle carriage house that was crumbling behind his beautiful Dorchester Victorian. We hadn’t been over in a while and the carriage house, where the celebration was held, just blew us away. As did the pig roast and band. It had been a long time since we’ve heard live music at an indoor/outdoor private party. A whole lot of happy.

There were two more day trips to Rhode Island. One to Newport with Bob and Emily, sans Sue, Randee, and Michael, where we sat on a windblown beach protecting our subs from marauding seagulls.



With Emily

With Emily

And finally at summer’s end, a group excursion to Pawtucket R.I. to see the Triple A Pawtucket Red Sox.PIC16Upon reflection, summer turned out to be a fine time. And while we were fooled (according to Snopes) about having a once in a lifetime view of Mars on August 28th, it was still something to see.PIC17Luckily, we were easily able to fall back asleep. Musta’ had to do with schlepping those boxes.

“This may not be the best of all possible worlds, but to say that it is the worst is mere petulant nonsense.” ~ Thomas Henry Huxley







9 thoughts on “JUST BOUGHT MY BOOTS

    • Susan–I’ll let you know after we unpack–hopefully before spring!

      The summer had its moments for sure. But it was tough to let go of the impending upheaval. And “impend” will continue. The crew is running three weeks late and this before they even begin.

    • Sherri–It was a good summer despite the anticipation of the wrecking crew. Glad you liked the pictures. I know the PEM in Salem has a really interesting exhibit happening now. A very cool museum.

  1. Excellent view of your summer travels and doings. Thank you. Its been a while since I have been in that part of the country and its many roads.
    I also packed and unpacked, and spent 30 days at the shore in Margate City, NJ. I don’t have photos to share but I sat on the beach on my birthday and wrote the following poem:

    Soon I will be 77
    Soon I will be 77
    It seems an early wind
    A breeze from a Future now nearby
    A new kind of brightness
    Full of color and now music
    I stand seen and unseen.

    Stepping on the edge of things
    I see them tilt, more or less
    As wrapped as I am in Time
    Here it is,
    The end and the new in rhyme.

    “Life after death?” she scoffed
    “I am an atheist,” she snorted at religious thought
    Biological creature, she says,
    “I will turn toward the light.
    I will merge with the vibrational continuity
    Flowing after the impact of Death.”
    Soon I will be 77.


    Today I am 77
    And still killing flies
    When I can
    But because my heart’s not in it
    I think I have evolved.

    At 77 I am the weathered stone
    Of a spirit released by the flow of Nature
    Shaped by Time being
    The creature of change as I am.

    “I am unbreakable”
    Breaks apart as soon as I grasp it
    And I wade through splinters and shards
    Looking for what was.

    The many tricks of the Mind and Body
    Are my bright fellows now
    Laughing like friends at a card table
    Reminders of the many roads
    Yet to travel.

    Today I am 77.


  2. The Trump phenomenon is not a phenomenon. It’s historically one step removed from Fascism followed by Dictatorship. Simply read the history of the “civilized” world & who lead it during each period..

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