Peck's personal Web site
2007 -- Late
September in the USA
USA, in the October heat wave, and the Maine coast, always cool
out nearby islands and beaches for the hint of a cool breeze
may not find this tangibly rewarding unless you're included here, so this is a
good time for casual and random browsers to turn back before they get too caught
up in the sweep and majesty of the proceedings and can't let go.
swiftly upon Kristin's house in Brookline, Mass., late September -- Kristin was
meant to come to Europe now, but with the airfares Boston-to-Geneva more than
double the Geneva-to-Boston loop, I'd better pick up the slack in the American
economy and go to Boston instead.
it's another heat wave in Boston, so actually we'll go to Maine.
the Brooklin Inn in . . . Brooklin, Maine, halfway up the coast. Just near the
coast-line and islands, but not quite on Mount Desert Island itsownself. The best
we could do on the Web at the last minute, and a lovely place, but still an hour's
drive each way for the best hiking.
Brooklin Inn -- it can be recommended. The proprietor, Chip, is friendly and helpful,
the service is good, there's a very good restaurant just slightly above my pay
grade, and there's a decent "Irish pub" in the basement. (Unimaginative
taste in flags, though.)
restaurant, with a nautical theme, perhaps obligatory in these parts. The Inn
is not within sight of the sea, but it's not far off.
at breakfast (blueberry pancakes), planning the day's hike.
hike: The Isle au Haut, Acadia National Park -- the
walk out to Deep Cove.
hike: Cadillac Mountain, on Mount Desert Island,
with a cooling breeze.
"Irish Pub" at Brooklin Inn, "Irish" by virtue of a rough
rural painting on the wall, and Old Smuttynose on tap.
excellent post-hiking pizza evening in the Irish Pub, charmed by Judith the barkeep,
a peace activist who hangs out with Cindy Sheehan and Anne Wright
hike: Back to Mount Desert Island, along the coast and up over Gorham
Brooklin Inn sports two flags out front: 1) OPEN, and 2) the hegemonic national
flag. It's probably the "Open" flag that brings in the business, since
the hegemonic flag doesn't really stand out here -- they're on every light pole.
on every light-pole. Lest someone start whispering about the amplitude and plenitude
of our patriotism. "Old Glory" it's called. Imagine!
days in Maine, and now we're back to Kristin's in Brookline.
Boston, from the Long Wharf. We've got to get out of this heat.
Market, near the Long Wharf. We're booked on the Harbor
Island Express and have got only five minutes before sailing to find a
generous sandwich for our day's hike, so we're scuttling heedlessly through the
we're peering all about for fast sandwich emporia.
with Quincy sandwiches in hand, we're dashing back to the pier.
whoooff! just in time. We're on our way out to the Boston
Harbor Islands, short hikes and a good look back at the thriving metropolis.
Beach, anything to
get out of the hot city for another day.
for dinner on the road back into Boston. This is not a normal shop, it's a "club"
-- you need to be a member, with a membership card, and now
I am, after some discussion about whether a Swiss driver's license was
sufficient identification, and a generous down-payment.
Warehouse Economy. "Keep that merchandise moving!"
("Priced as marked"? What
is the alternative? "Priced not as marked"?)
(The chicken seems
to be in the Patisserie section.)
discerning shopper can see nuances here that may be lost on the rest of us. Keep
the merchandise moving! In the end, we bought "spare ribs", which turned
out to be all bones.
essential American motto of "Keep the merchandise moving" reminds me
of the harrowing Robert Penn Warren poem "Keep the Morphine Moving, Cap",
from Penological Study. I heard him read that, long ago, to a small group. (But
then he got drunk, mumbled too much, and had to be led off the stage.))
another hot day in Boston, so we're out walking about downtown Marblehead up the coast a ways.
has got some interesting 17th century buildings and more rich people's boats than
you can count enviously in a quarter of an hour, and a good ham-and-cheese sandwich
though they forgot the cheese part of it.
the great claim here is that it was schooners out of Marblehead that, on 5 September
1775, were the first American ships to engage in naval battle with an enemy. (It's
been pretty much non-stop since then, since, not by coincidence, so many coastal
congressional districts have got shipyards in them.)
fact, the famous USS Constitution (known as "Old Ironsides") ducked
in here in 1814 under heavy pursuit by three of our British lapdog's frigates.
day, we're out in Framingham on the way to Paul's
for dinner. This is the Danforth Museum of Art --
we can't really go in to look around, as it's out of our budget range for the
time we've got to spend here, but it's worth noting that the artwork facing us
across the lobby is a portrait of Kristin's daughter Emily, painted by Janet
Bartlett Goodman on individual tiles with an "encaustic" method.
at Paul and Ana's for a Sunday afternoon indoor barbecue (the barbecuing machine
is outdoors on the deck), with Ana in full cry.
formal commemorative portrait, but one of us can't keep his eyes off the Red Sox
game even for a moment. From left: Mike, a Bill Richardson campaign advisor, and
Leena; Sir Charles and Jodi; Kristin.
and Ana in another fit of genial hospitality
pretense anymore -- the Red Sox are winning
Charles, Dwight - the Nth in a series of portraits over the years.
back to Brookline, before flying out again. Kristin's
tidying the place up.
security personnel at Boston's Logan airport were a bunch of thoroughly vile and
authoritarian overweight uniformed Bushistas, I loathe them all, but the Swiss
Airlines guy was cheerful and got me a bulkhead seat so that I was still able
to walk when the airplane landed in Zürich exactly one New York Times, one
Harper's magazine (with Naomi Klein in it), and half a Norman Finkelstein's Beyond
my new cheap MP3 player -- what a great invention for long airplane trips!
changed since 9/11!"
by Janet Bartlett Goodman
Feedback and suggestions are welcome if positive, resented if negative, .
All rights reserved, all wrongs avenged. Posted 19 October 2007, revised 16 October 2012.