A Note On Notes
Nanny's Bundle

A Note on Notes Under my bed there is a box. Inside exists my history. My loves and lessons. It is full of wishes and gratitude. Loving reminders. Sincere requests. Gentle admonishments. But more on all that in a moment. As I’ve mentioned before, there were many occasions while doing research for this project that I relied on my Nanny’s notes to determine location or date for the picture in question. Sometimes a note carefully written on the slide itself. Other times on an attached caption list covering a hundred or so slides at once. Those lists were a real treasure and often saved me hours. But they accomplished something else. They brought her into the room with me. Her familiar fingers firmly pressed pen to the paper in my hand and Nanny came close. The physical evidence of a life. Now, while the grandparents I am primarily covering with this blog are paternal, this brings to mind a story about my Mom’s mom. My beloved Memaw, now departed. It’s been almost six years since she left us and still it aches like new. Not all the time anymore, but the ache does stalk me at unexpected moments and come on me with surprising force. She was a remarkable woman of seemingly conflicting qualities. She crocheted the most beautiful of Afghan blankets, could swear like a sailor, made the most fragrant of homemade candles and at times could party like a fraternity kid. She also loved more genuinely than almost […]

Continue Reading →

The Accidentally Grumpy Tourist (York)
Nanny on The Shambles, York circa 1980

The Accidentally Grumpy Tourist.   The late Rev. Dr. Arthur Caliandro, former head minister at my church in New York, often spoke of the kindness of New Yorkers. He spoke of the ways they help each other and care for their communities. He would do this while addressing the visitors to the church, which were often visitors to the city itself. Church tourists, if you will. It’s my opinion that he did so to counter the commonly held belief that New Yorkers are pushy and rude. Truth is, we’re just busy and hurried. But like people everywhere, we have homes, neighbors we like, neighbors we don’t so much like, favorite bars and restaurants, churches, volunteer organizations, Girl Scout meetings, and family dinners. Now, over the 15-plus years I’ve lived here, I’ve come to another conclusion. If you’ve been pushed while visiting this city, there is a high probability that it was another tourist that pushed you. Traveling does something to us. While we explore and experience a new place, we also wear ourselves down and run ourselves ragged. How many times have you heard someone say about anywhere they’ve been, especially New York, “I loved visiting, but I could never live there”? Well, to that I say, “I don’t spend the whole day shopping, climbing stairs to the top of the Statue of Liberty, forcing myself through the throngs of Times Square and pretending to understand the latest exhibit at the Guggenheim”. But if you’re a tourist in a new […]

Continue Reading →

Time in the Woods (Sherwood Forest)
Papa in Sherwood Forest

Instant coffee? Not the best start to a new day, but it’ll do. It’s 915am on Monday now, but when the phone rang at 730 this morning for my wakeup call, it took me more than a few moments to understand where I was. That sleep was real and it was deep. And in large part it was the first sleep I’d had in two days since waking in Florida Saturday morning. I’d slept a touch on the red eye to London, but not much. But when I climbed in bed last night bleary eyed with exhaustion, my mind was still moving. Moving over the day’s activities. Yesterday began with a smooth landing at Heathrow in London. From there, I took the bus to the rental office to pick up my car. After some short trouble adjusting to driving in bizzaro world, where left is right, junction means exit and nobody knows that Superman is supposed to be a good guy, I was on my way. Now, York was my ultimate goal for the end of the day, but Sherwood Forest was my first stop. Pulling into the parking lot, I was uncertain how to begin. However, I must say I was immediately caught up by the place. It was surprisingly quiet for a weekend day and the forest seemed so peaceful. After a quick glance around, I decided a trip to the information center was my best bet. The lovely lady working the desk as I entered greeted me […]

Continue Reading →

Out Of The Gate
Box

Out of the Gate As I race toward 40, here is the plan. Stay in motion. Stay in the air. Live deliberately. Drink consciously. Eat compassionately. Love deeply. Explore. So in that spirit it’s finally time to break the seal on this adventure. I’m actually in the air as I type. Somewhere north of Florida. I’m just coming off a weekend with my brother near St.Augustine. We had such a good time and I was glad to have been there, but in the back of my mind, I was nervous. Nervous about getting out of the gate and getting this adventure underway. I land at LGA at 5:30 this afternoon and will be in a mad scramble to get home, swap dirty clothes for clean, and race off to Newark. After these last few weeks of sorting through pics, making travel plans and getting some work shifts covered in the city, it looks like I’m taking the 8:50 red-eye to London tonight. I’d hoped to make it for the Manchester flight at 7:30 instead, but that is looking less and less likely. The incomparable MPM is attending that flight and there’s nothing like being plied with sparkling wine by a best friend all the way to Europe. But alas, London seems to be my path. There I’m picking up a rental car and heading north, if possible, as far as Keswick. Hopefully staying on the right side of the road. And of course by “right” I mean left. I’ll have […]

Continue Reading →