Pages

Sunday, July 23, 2017

"THEY DRINK AND HAVE EMOTIONAL PROBLEMS." (27)

Saturday, July 21, 1962, Falmouth
     Small hurricane develping right here in Falmouth Harbor.  According to weather reports we are probably marooned for the weekend—not that we care.  We regard Happy Days (or Happy Daze, if you will) as a floating hideaway, and it doesn’t matter much if it doesn’t leave the dock.        
     We decided this would be a good time to teach Tokay how to climb aboard and disembark, using the set of steps conveniently located amidships.  Tokay saw nothing convenient about them, her idea of convenience being a friendly lift in and out of the cockpit by the nearest pair of hands. 
      Lesson #1: the Captain demonstrated for Tokay the ease with which one could traverse the stairs, step onto the ledge surrounding the Matthews, and from there make one’s way to the cockpit.  Since the demonstrator had only two feet, with four it should be twice as easy.
     Tokay didn’t agree.  She danced on the dock and woofed at us winningly: “Hey, come on, folks, let’s stick to the tried-and-true way!”  But we were stern and unrelenting—she was going to have to do it our way.  (If only we could be half as stern and unrelenting with the other four kids.) 
      At long last Tokay hopped up the steps and sat on the ledge, considering what to do next.  We urged her on with “Good doggie,” and she figured it out:  turn around, hop back on the dock, and lie down with her chin on her paws, looking stubborn.
     Ed suggested I try being demonstrator.  Tokay was right behind me until I stepped onto the ledge, which she clearly viewed as entirely too narrow for safety or comfort.  She started backing away, but I captured one of her ears, and she had no choice but to follow me.  Once on the walk-around ledge, she followed me back to the step that leads to the floor and completed the trip.  
      “Good doggie!”  I said.  But our Captain wasn’t satisfied.  He placed her on the dock again and told her to try her new stunt again. 
      Poor Tokay was looking droopily discouraged until I went below and got some crackers.  This incentive put a new light on the matter, and from then on she practiced willingly with fewer and fewer errors, until she knew the route cold.
         “Okay, Baby, once more,” Ed said, lifting her up and setting her on the dock for the fifteenth time.  We were watching her climb the steps, when suddenly there was a scrambling noise and a thump, and there stood Tokay, wagging her tail in triumph.  Breaking all the rules she had learned by trial and error, she had said, “Phooey on this!” and leapt from the dock to the cockpit in two toy poodle bounds.
      We told her we were proud of her, but she mustn’t do that again or she might fall between the boat and the dock and get hurt.  She seemed to understand because she returned to using the longer, but less dangerous route.
     I can see I’ve reached the age where one goes daft over a silly little animal—imagine devoting a page and a half of this Log to Tokay.  Of course, she is an exceptional Toy poodle.
     Ed bought a Sailfish last week from Dennis Reardon.  For two weekends we had been watching the youngsters at the Beach Club maneuvering these sea-going dodgems, but the Captain can be a spectator only so long.  We transported the Sailfish to Falmouth in the back of the station wagon, and this morning a couple of boys working for the Marina helped Ed lift it to the bow of the Happy Days.  Our first sail should be interesting, since Captain Malley and I don’t know a rudder from a tiller. 
     Went for a swim at the public beach.  Cost $1.50 to park the car, so we were relieved to hear the ticket was good throughout the day.  Had exclusive use of the ocean, since cold, windy weather deterred everyone except us.  Water delightful.
     Bought a pint of fried clams to have for lunch with our beer   Took a nap in spite of heavy-eyed Captain’s protests that only old people took naps in the middle of the afternoon.  Persuaded him by asking if he’d ever noticed the way 19-year-old Ted can sleep at any hour of the day.
     At 4:00 Ed’s business colleague, Dave Buell, picked us up and drove us to his beautiful home in Falmouth Heights.  On the way we passed Mrs. Buell’s gift shop.
     “My wife’s hobby and my charity,” says Dave. 
     Gladys gave us a cordial welcome, and before the visit was over, planned our dinner for us.  She called the Falmouth Gardens Market and ordered a thick boneless sirloin, “the choicest you have.”  Then she got out a chopping block, a razor-sharp knife, two potatoes, and an onion.  She sliced the potatoes almost through to the other side, then wedged thin slices of onion between each section.  Topping the potatoes with generous dollops of butter, she wrapped them in silver foil.
     “Just throw them on the coals and forget about them for an hour,” she said.  “The onion will blend in with the potato so you won’t be able to see it, but you’ll taste it.” 
     Gladys had to get back to her shop, which is open 12 hours a day, 7 days a week. Dave took us to the market where our steak was waiting for us, then dropped us at the Marina.
     The steak was garnished with parsley and cost $6.00.
     “Four dollars for the steak, two for the parsley,” Ed said.
     It was very good, especially if you didn’t think too much about the $6.00.  The baked potatoes a la Gladys were fabulous.
Sunday, July 22, 1962, Falmouth to Oak Bluffs
     Had breakfast at the Pancake House.  Dave Buell arrived at 9:15 for the promised boat ride, and we set out for Oak Bluffs.  We had left the harbor when Ed found Tokay sitting on the walk-around ledge near the stern.  She was unable to move in either direction and was gazing fearfully at the swirling waters below. 
     “One lurch and we’d have lost her,” the Captain said.  The old saying is true: A little knowledge is a dangerous thing.  From now on we’re keeping her locked in the cabin when we’re under way.  Picked up a guest mooring at Oak Bluffs.  Asked the Captain what his plans were.
     “I guess we’ll go ashore and have lunch at the Ocean View,” he said.
     “At 10:15?  We just had breakfast!”
     Ed, who had gabbed with Dave about business on the way over, was astonished.   Decided to anchor outside the Beach Club and test out the sailfish.  I took a movie of Ed kneeling on the sailfish deck, putting the thing together.  (Something is wrong with the perspective in this sketch.  It's supposed to be a rear-view drawing of Ed but  looks more like a fat lady wearing shorts and stockings rolled up to her knees.) 
     Returned to harbor, and this time I couldn’t bring Ed close to the mooring, no matter how I tried.  After I nearly backed into a couple of boats, the Captain put down the boat hook and demoted me from Gear-Manipulator to Mooring-Grabber. 
     “Go lie down on the bow,” he said, “and I’ll bring you right up on it.”
     “I don’t want to lie down on the bow.  It’s too hard—I’ll get black-and-blue.”
     The Captain gave me a look that said, “Let’s not have any insubordination in front of Mr. Buell.”
     “If I don’t get the mooring on the first swing, you’ll be blaming me for that, too.”
     “Nobody’s blaming you for anything.  Now how about getting up there and helping Dave?”
      Ed came close enough to the mooring on his first try for Dave to latch onto it.  The Captain ordered me to go below and turn off the engines.  I’m a genius at turning off engines.
     Took dinghy ashore, walked to Ocean View.  Forgot to bring Tim’s socks.  He needs new shoes, as well, since the soles of his loafers are flappingly half off.  Advancing toward Mr. Buell to shake hands with him, Tim tripped on the carpet and had to stop and straighten it.
     “He does that every time,” his boss said Gene-ially. 
     Had chicken salad and hot rolls for lunch.  Told Portas that Vonnie and her friend Verna would probably be down next week for the Sunday-Friday package deal.
     Ed rowed Dave and me out to the Happy Days, then returned to the Ocean View to deliver Tim’s socks.  Arrived Falmouth around 3:30 p.m.
Friday, July 27, Falmouth
     Tried a short cut on the drive to Falmouth Marina, figured we saved nearly ten minutes.  I was putting fresh sheets on the bunks in the main stateroom (the Norlings are arriving tomorrow morning), when a voice hailed us.  It was Dave Buell.  Ed fixed us all a drink, then excused himself and went off to call Jimmy Davidson.  I entertained Dave by telling him how I almost got killed yesterday.  The pedal dropped off Kathie’s bike as I was crossing the street in front of an oncoming car.  He went by me before I fell, but I didn’t miss his back bumper by very much. If the pedal had dropped off two seconds sooner. . .  Must be I’m still needed for something.  Turning off the engines, maybe.  
    After Dave went on his way, Ed and I had a steamed clam feast with our second drink.  The main

course: charcoal broiled lamb chops and veal kidneys.  The frozen scalloped potatoes were rancid,

the second such item the Buzzard’s Bay grocery store had stuck us with.  I recommend this market to

people on diets.
     Ted passed his instrument flying exam with a 76.  He is living at the Ocean View and expecting to make over a hundred dollars a week as a fish-spotter for a fleet of fishermen.
Saturday, July 28, 1962, Falmouth to Nantucket
     This is the last time we go boating without Tokay.  It’s depressing, not having someone to welcome you aboard when you’ve been off on an errand.  Even if we're away only fifteen minutes, Tokay is always beside herself with joy when we return. 
     Rolled out of our bunks at 8:00 a.m., debated whether we’d take a swim.
     “You decide,” Ed said, standing there with his trunks in one hand, his shorts in the other, and nothing in between.  Nothing on, I mean.  “I can be pushed either way.”
     “Well—“ I said, “if we don’t swim, we’ll save a dollar and a half—“
     “But if we do, breakfast will taste much better,” the Captain declared. “That settles it--we swim.”  I love the way I make these decisions.
     There was no one at the beach to take our money, so we were able to swim for free and enjoyed it twice as much.
     Went to grocery store, bought honey-dip doughnuts that I heated in the oven for breakfast.
     Al and Chris Norling arrived at 10:00, said they'd been looking for us for half an hour.  “We’ve visited more marinas in this town,“ said Chris .  “We’d about decided that if we wanted to go to Nantucket, we’d have to buy a boat.”
     Left Falmouth at 8:30.  Chris told me all about the new brother and sister she acquired when her mother married a man with a grown-up family.  She particularly likes one of the step-couples  because “they’re the sort of people you can understand.  They drink and they have emotional problems -- she just got over a nervous breakdown.” Another step-relative is more difficult to get along with: not only is he a teetotaler, he’s also a scout-master.  He and his wife and four children came for a visit, planning to camp out in the yard, but Chris prevailed upon them to sleep in the house.  The children were thrilled at the prospect of sleeping in a bed instead of a sleeping bag.
     I went below to make the lobster sandwiches, found the Captain had  put the butter back in the icebox.  I put it in the sun to soften, then went to the forward cabin to get my book.  Discovered the Captain had left his port open, and his bunk was drenched.       
Ed wasn't allowed to wear this hat until buddies Ray and
Blake seasoned  it by stomping it into the ground.
     “If you’d left it open, I’d have killed you,” he said.  I believed him.
     At noon we congregated in the deck-house for beer, cheese and crackers and lobster sandwiches.  Then everyone had a nap except the Captain.  He couldn’t find his cap, so he borrowed my straw bonnet, tying it under his chin to keep it from blowing away.  A more fetching picture I have never seen.  After awhile Al and I joined him on the flying bridge.
     “Al has a lot of poise,” I said to Ed.  “Do you notice how he hasn’t said a word about your hat?”
     “Isn’t that what he always wears?” Al said gravely.
     The cruise to Nantucket took longer than we had anticipated--almost four hours.  Weather extremely windy.   Ed doubts that we’ll be able to head back to Falmouth tomorrow unless the gale abates.

     Dropped the hook at 2:30, signaled for launch, walked to Opera House, which Chris thought delightful, and made an 8:00 dinner reservation.  Chris thought everything about Nantucket was delightful, and every shop window contained items she wanted Al to buy for her.  She particularly liked a twenty-dollar salad bowl, but Al said he could get her the same thing in Quincy at half the price.  He bought her a licorice stick.
     We explored the residential section with its narrow streets and vertical homes; managed to get lost; had to ask directions back to village.  Bought groceries for breakfast.
     Looked for Martha Parker, a summer resident, but didn’t spot that blond head anywhere on the tennis courts.  Chris spotted her serve, though, just as we had given up and were heading for the docks.
     “Where have I seen that serve before?” she wondered.  Then Martha walked across the court, and she was unmistakably Martha in spite of the brown hair.  We strolled over and said, “Hi, Martha.” At first she didn’t recognize us, either, under all the hats and dark glasses, but when she did she was cordial.  She invited us to come to her house at 5:30 for cocktails.  I hedged, not knowing what the others wanted to do.
     “It’s right on the harbor—it’s adorable—I’d love to have you see it.”
     Since it was my understanding that she was staying at the home of her fiancé, I inquired as tactfully as I could manage, “Well--er--whose name is the house under, in case we find time to drop by?”
     “It’s under my name,” she said.  I’m in the book.”
     As soon as we were out of earshot, Chris exclaimed, “I should think you’d be dying to go!  Think of the tale we’d have to tell when we get back to Cohasset!”
     “If I know you girls, you’ll have a tale to tell anyway,” Ed said.
     Had Happy Hour aboard the Happy Days.  Ed had a swim; I took movies of Al not taking a swim.  The closest he got to it was donning Ed’s cold, clammy trunks and testing the temperature of the water with one foot.  “Warm?” he bellowed.  “Do you call this warm, Ed?”
     Went ashore at 7:30. Wondered if Martha would mind our coming for cocktails two hours late.  Recalled she doesn’t drink, decided she probably would mind.  Chris wanted to look for her house, anyway, just so we could say we saw it.  According to phone book, she lived on Washington Street.  Asked directions of policeman on Mating Corner, somehow took a wrong turn and at five of eight, still hadn’t located house.  Al very disapproving of our time-consuming quest, reminded us that we had promised to appear at the Opera House at eight o’clock sharp.
     Ed said, “What we should do is call Martha and invite her to join us for dinner.  It’s so late she won’t be able to, of course, but she’ll undoubtedly suggest that we stop by later in the evening for a cordial.” And they say women have devious minds!
     Chris called, Nicholas answered and said his mother was out visiting friends. 
     “What’s their name?” asked Chris, not deterred from her purpose.
     The name was Kayzin (rhymes with Fagin), but no matter how we spelled it, we couldn’t find it in the book. Too bad.  We did so want to meet Martha’s fiancé and find out what he had that Peter didn’t, besides a few million dollars.
     At the Opera House, I suggested that we have the hot hors d’oeuvre while we decided what to order.  It turned out to be some kind of fish in a delicious cheese sauce and was a meal in itself.  We all ordered Scampi, and when the shrimp arrived, swimming in garlic butter, their tails nicely charred, Ed showed the Norlings his “tails and all” method of disposing of shellfish.  They were impressed but not converted.
     “Why,” Chris inquired of the waiter, “do you leave the shell on the shrimp?”
      “That’s where the flavor is, Madame.”
     As far as Chris was concerned, that was where the flavor could stay.  She left most of her Scampi sitting on her plate, and when Al finished his own dinner, he finished hers, as well.
     Al grabbed the check and wouldn’t let Ed pay for so much as an olive. The bill must have been astronomical (which I notice rhymes with gastronomical, being Ernestine's daughter), but Al didn’t turn a hair.
     Had cordials at the Boat House.  Chris and I sang our favorite songs from the forties on our way back to the Yacht Club.  Ed and Al pretended they didn’t know us. 
     Took launch to the Happy Days.  Had nightcap.  Tried to persuade Al to do “the twist.”  Tried to persuade Chris not to yodel.  Ed did bumps and grinds, his version of the twist.
Sunday, July 29, 1962, Nantucket to Oak Bluffs to Falmouth
     Left Nantucket at 8:00.  Winds brisk but cruise to Oak Bluffs was not unpleasantly rough.  Had lunch, called Kathie.  Tokay is in heat, she said, and someone let her out.  The house is a mecca for all the male dogs in Cohasset.  Vonnie and Verna are arriving in Oak Bluffs at 3:45--we will just miss seeing them.
     Walked to Beach Club.  Helped Ed drag Sailfish to water’s edge.  Side-rail broke.  Ed rigged Sailfish (incorrectly, he found out later) and dauntlessly set out alone, since he couldn’t interest anyone in joining him. Capsized in short order, tore his shirt on the broken side-rail.  After righting Sailfish, was unable to persuade it to sail. 
     “Ed must be the only man in history to become becalmed on a windy day,” Chris said.
     A young girl walked over and asked us if we thought our friend would like some help.  Her brother went out and gave Ed a lesson.  Ed says he’s going to master that damn Sailfish next week or know the reason why. 
     “If I can fly an airplane I ought to be able to handle one of these ridiculous boats.”
     Chris thinks Ed must have a hyperthyroid condition.  “Doesn’t he ever sit still?” she asked.
     Arrived Falmouth Marina 4:00 p.m.

No comments:

Post a Comment