Vacation A to Z

A: Air (sweet, clean, fresh)
B: Beech tree, Birds
C: Cousin, Cronin
D: Dark skies, Dragonflies
E: Early morning
F: Friendship Sloops, Fire pit
G: Glorious
H: Harmonic, Happy (birthday, Ted)
I: Ice cubes
J: July
K: Karma
L: Lobsters. Light house,
M: Maine, Morang; Mexicali Blues, Moody’s
N: Nobleboro
O:  Ocean
P: Porpoise, Port Clyde
Q: Quarry
R: Rockland
S: Sun, Seal (in the harbor)
T: Tenant’s Harbor
U: Unwind
V: Vodka
W: Weather (perfect)
X: Xenial
Y:  Yellow chair
Z: Zinnea

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Wednesday from the Yellow Chair

Thoughts from the yellow chair on the front porch.

The air smells so sweet, I think it’s the hay in the neighboring fields that’s been cut for the dairy cows.

People who drive by with their car stereos playing loud enough for me to hear the music should be shot.

The State of Maine does not require motorcycle riders to wear helmets. Helmets are confining, hot, and not particularly comfortable. Anyone who rides without one is a fool.

The breeze is rustling the leaves in a beach tree next to the shed. I would know that tranquilizing sound anywhere and it’s one of the triggers that makes this place so special for me.

There are multiple conversations going on among the birds in the trees that ring the house and the front and side fields. They chatter, sing, and scold one another in dialects I don’t understand but appreciate for the apparent simple ease at which they entertain me. 1It is as if I’m in the balcony of a grand music hall, listening to an avian opera. The leaves of the beech tree are the gentle applause.

I have not heard a human voice for almost two glorious hours. I wonder if I could spend a week here and never hear a human voice.

I task myself to expend some energy on learning how to be happier with less.


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When time served equals freedom

Rachelle Bond was sentenced today to time served and probation in the death of her two-year old daughter Bella. The woman’s former boyfriend, Michael McCarthy, was found guilty of second-degree murder and sentenced to death for killing the child.

Rachelle cut a deal to testify against McCarthy and was sentenced for being an accessory after the fact for her role in disposing of her daughter’s body two years ago. The dead child was put into the refrigerator in a trash bag, then, days later, into a duffle that was weighted down and tossed into the ocean. It washed up on a Boston harbor island a month later.

Rachelle’s penalty is time served – less than two years, and probation. She is a former heroin addict. She will be released from jail, likely later this week, when a bed opens in a residential substance abuse treatment facility.

Her attorney told the media:

“[Rachelle] really doesn’t have family. She doesn’t have friends. People are very hostile towards her. She has nothing. She is scared about her future. And regardless of what people think about her involvement or not, she grieves the loss of that child every single day.” (Source: Boston Herald, July 12, 2017).

I have never spent a moment in jail. I am not a heroin addict. I’ve never been subjected to domestic violence. I’m lucky. I have so much and I’m grateful. Perhaps Rachelle would call me “privileged”.

I have never lived with someone who threatened me such that I allowed him to step between me and my child, kill my child and, following her death, held me in such a state that I would help him wrap her up and throw her away like last night’s garbage.

I have family and friends, a good job, health insurance, no mortgage on my home, and a good man in my four-plus decades husband. I don’t live frightened about my future. Rachelle Bond and I are as different from one another as two people might be.

Except that we have each lost a child. My daughter died a few weeks shy of age 26. She lived a life that she filled with friends, great times, personal challenges, ups, downs and experiences that carved her into the fine young woman she became. Her death was shattering and I miss her terribly.

Rachelle’s daughter was two. Bella was beaten and stuffed into a bag and tossed into the ocean like a bag of trash. She didn’t get to go to school and probably hadn’t yet learned how to tie her shoes. She didn’t have a career, likely hadn’t taken a cruise, gone to Aruba or London, played the clarinet, fallen into and out of love a few times, enjoyed a good raw bar, or developed a taste for a nice Riesling, and Marker’s Mark whiskey.

From the moment I heard the news about the discovery of little girl in the bag on the beach, I wondered who missed her, who loved her, who was worried about what had happened to her. Little girls should never end up in bags on beaches—no one should—but please, not children, not beautiful little girls. There was outrage, horror and tremendous sadness when child was found, but not from anyone who knew who she was.

She remained unidentified for almost three months. He mother told people that her daughter had been taken by child protective services and then admitted to a friend that wasn’t true. The friend notified police and the little girl who had been known as Baby Doe finally got her name back.

Now her mother is free, or almost so. Rachelle will feel sun on her face and the wind in her hair. She’ll have a chance, perhaps, to go to Aruba and London, find work that brings her satisfaction, fall in love with a better person than Michael McCarthy, and enjoy a whiskey by a campfire with new friends.

Bella will never do any of those things in our world.

There is a part of me that wants to contact Rachelle’s attorney and tell her that I would like to meet her client. Tell her that as a mother without a daughter, I know how hard it is to grieve the unforgiving loss of a child. I live with that heartbreak in my private hell every single day.

Perhaps Rachelle could tell me about her private hell. Maye she could explain to me how heroin, a bad relationship and poor decisions made it OK to let someone kill her child and then help him cover it up.

Maybe I’d then I’d know why but I doubt I’d ever understand why.

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She didn’t know he was getting married

“I didn’t get you a card!” his mother said.

“It’s OK, Ma, you didn’t know I was getting married”, her son replied.

“Oh, right,” she said.

And so it was. After eight years together, the last three of those years engaged, the couple decided it was time to get married. They considered marrying on the Bermuda cruise they are taking next week but heard horror stories about getting an official marriage license from the cruise line.

Better to just do it here at home. Something quick and simple. Find a Justice and get married at the Bride’s mother’s home.

So it was not only time for a wedding, but time for the Groom’s mother to finally meet the Bride’s mother.  Groom’s mother was invited to lunch, or so she thought.  She arrived to find her son opening the door.

Wait. He’s wearing a suit. With a white rose pinned to his lapel.

“Hi Ma.”

“What are you doing all dressed up? You getting married or something?”

“Yea, Ma. We’re getting married.”

“Be serious.”

“Hey Penny, can you come in here?”

Enter the Justice. The look on Groom’s mother’s face says it all. She looks at her son.

“I didn’t get you a card.”

Mothers greeting one another. Mothers gentlemen companions shaking hands.

Apologies that it was raining and the wedding has to be held in the living room.

Everyone taking their places.

Do you? I do. And do you? I do, too. Rings. A blessing. A kiss.

And it’s done.

Pictures. More pictures.


A lovely repast.  More like a small feast. Take a bigger plate.

A beautiful cake. Bride’s mother admonishes her grandson not to put his fingers in the frosting.  Eye roll.

Mothers, now in-laws because of this marriage, chatting. Making plans for how to tell the rest of the family. When?

Bride plays with the new ring on her finger. She looks at the man, once the boyfriend, then the fiancé, now her husband, and she smiles. You can feel her heart smiling too.

Something quick. Something simple. Something sweet.

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Independence from obligation

My wise friend Victoria nailed it with a post today on her Facebook page:

It is the best when you don’t have to talk to anybody and you don’t have to do anything. You don’t even have to go to the beach and get wet if you don’t want to even if it is a perfect beach day. You don’t have to get in the car. You don’t have to wake up or go to sleep at a certain time. You don’t have to have a meal at any specific time and you don’t have to not have a meal or a snack.

You don’t have to go to a party! Not going to parties is so much better than going to parties.

You don’t have to wash your face or get dressed if you don’t want to but if you want to, you can wear a funny hairdo and a silly dress. You can leave the lights on in the other room or you can turn off all the lights. You’re paying the electric bill and that’s that. You can not do the laundry.

You can do the laundry but not put it away for a week. You can read ten books at one time and leave them everywhere. You do have to take care of the animals but you can also get on the floor with them or the grass and fall asleep in the middle of the day.

Just celebrating days of non-obligation.

I won’t put words in her mouth and tell you that she battles depression. I don’t know that I’d have said that I do, but if I’m being honest with myself, I must say that I do.

It still strikes me how difficult some days can be. This is of them, another holiday that should be filled with laughter, family and friends, good food and beverages of choice. Instead it’s filled with sadness, stinging eyes and a desire to be invisible.

The craving for invisibility becomes stronger as time goes along. That alarms me–I thought the opposite would happen. If I can’t be invisible I’ll take being anonymous.


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Thoughts while Soxing

As is our annual hopeful custom, my friend Kathy and I went to a Red Sox game the other night (v. the Phillies, a win in the 12th inning in the drizzle). Her devotion the team puts my love for them to shame. The Sox and Kathy are very serious business and one does not go with or take her as a Game Buddy without being willing to make commitment to the game, mind, body and soul.

No problem, I’ve got that covered.


Still, with all the seriousness with which we watch, there are some lighter moments. We covered a lot of bases (pun intended) in our brain ramblings. Here are some snatches:

Andrew Benentendi had his canon arm on Tuesday night. He picked off a guy at home plate from left field and it was pretty damn sweet.

Mitch Moreland’s home run made my heart happy. He’s my current favorite. He is younger than my daughter would be.

Dustin Perdoia’s walk up song is “Desperado” by Rihanna. I prefer “Desperado” by the Eagles. Yea, different song. Whatever.

What is Craig Krimbrel’s walk up song? His film-graphicy thing on the big screen was mighty fine.

Vazquez: We want to have those 7 letters in case we ever get into a game of you-can-write-proper-names Scrabble.

We rooted for former Sox and now Philly guy Daniel Nava to have a good night except in extra innings when he had a chance to make good defensive play or was batting. He got the third in the top of the 12th (“I’d like him to stop now”, Kathy said).

The Fenway crown didn’t do the wave. Kathy was pleased.

They sang “Sweet Caroline”. Why? It has nothing to do with baseball and the back story is more a little creepy.

The Dennis Eckersley highlight film was a nice add. He’s kinda hot.

Even though it rained, Kathy refused to open the poncho she brought to the park. Unable to tempt her, the rain moved along.

She really wanted to see Hanley Ramirez belt a ball and take off racing along the base paths, helmet and hair flying in the wind. Didn’t happen. We’ll watch for that next game.

We made four seat changes because we could (the last to get out of the drizzle).

At the third seat change, the guy next to me slurred to his wife, “If Pedroia is batting, how come the Red Sox are in the outfield?” (They weren’t, the Phillies  “away” jerseys were white). She couldn’t make him understand that. He was working on a tall can of Heinekin and he quickly lost interest in her and in whoever the hell was playing the outfield.

How many baseballs get used during the average game?

As the 9th inning morphed into the 10th, Kathy said she could commit to staying for 11. In the top of the 12th I asked her, “What if this turns in a 17-inning affair?” We decided we’d stay.

When the Sox took it in the bottom of the 12th on a Benentendi walk-off single, Kathy got to hear “Dirty Water”. I sang it as she filmed it.

I said “I bet there won’t be another car in the parking lot!” I was right.


I need someone to develop an app that will show that little box that’s in the upper left corner of the television screen, showing me count, inning, and location of base runners at a quick glance. I would like it to be projected on the upper left corner on my left eyeglass lens.

We made up a team of favorites:

  • Head Coach: Terry ‘Tito’ Franconia
  • Head Coach’s Assistant: Brock Holt
  • Broadcasters: Don Orsillo and Jerry Remy on television. Jenny Dell on the field. No games on Fox. No Joe Buck, ever. No Ken Rosenthal. No Erin Andrews. Radio by Joe Castiglione.
  • Pitchers: Pedro Martinez, Dennis Eckerlsey
  • Closer: Koji Uehara
  • Catcher: Jason Veritek
  • Designated Hitter: David Ortiz
  • First: Kevin Millar
  • Second: Dustin Pedroia
  • Short Stop: Marco Scutaro
  • Third: Mike Lowell
  • Outfield: Jonny Gomes, Johnny Damon, Manny Ramirez
  • Ready to step in: Drunk Napoli, Kevin Youkilis

Mrs. Wilson and I like this bunch and reserve the right to respectfully ignore your roster comments.

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Duck Bridge

My daughter hated riding in cars over bridges, and of them all, she hated the Duck Bridge in Lawrence the most.

The Duck Bridge crosses the Merrimack River on South Union Street at the New Balance Factory store. It’s my fault that Duck Bridge was on the top of her list, and I admit I delighted in her hatred.

For years it had an open steel metal grid and you could look through the deck and see the moving water below. I’d go out of my way to drive her over that bridge. I’d stop the car, open the door, lean out, and shout, “PJ, look! It’s the river down there!”

And she’d cover her face with her hands a scream at me to drive off the damn bridge.

I drove over the bridge tonight and the metal grid deck has been replaced the concrete roadway. I have no idea how long ago it changed, maybe a week, maybe a year. I can’t remember the last time I drove over it. Our bridge is different now and it doesn’t have the same hold on my heart.

I’ll add the shenanigans on this bridge to the long list of things that are only memories.bridge

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