August 2013

8 articles in August 2013

Yyou are my sunshine, my only sunshine,
You make me happy when skies are grey,
You’ll never know dear, how much I love you,
So please don’t take my sunshine away’
Jimmie Davis 1940

He lay in the road and squinted up at the sun. The tar surface was hot and soft to the touch, and he liked the smell of it. There were no cars on the road. Only three people in the whole street owned a car, and they were away somewhere, probably at work, he supposed. He closed his eyes, and the world became orange.

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Tthere I sat, with about 12 colleagues around an oval table, discussing education strategies. The meeting was moving along at a crisp pace but it was also getting a bit late. Because the time allotted for the meeting was running out my principal asked when we could meet again to continue our discussion.

At this point everyone around me pulled out either a leather-bound notebook calendar that had the days of the year broken up into hourly slots, or a black electronic organizer that came equipped with a little electronic pen whose job it was to inject times and dates into a tiny but powerful hard drive. After a brief mutter of conversation they were all ready to agree on a time and date for our next meeting. And then they all turned and looked at me.

I think it was because I was the only one in the group who did not have either a leather-bound notebook or Palm Pilot. I realized they were all waiting for me to put something on the table in front of me. All I could do was pull out my wallet, open it up and take out an old Hannaford’s receipt that had somehow found it way into my wallet from months ago, when I was asked by my wife to buy some chicken, and put it on the table in front of me.

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Mmy name is Anna Carlton. I’m almost nineteen, and four years ago, I had an abortion. I think about it all the time.

When my boyfriend and I were sophomores in high school, we had sex. It was the first time for both of us. He said he loved me and would never leave me. I believed him, but he was such a liar!

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Eevery now and then one has to get off the island: by island I mean away from York and all its beaches. This is a very difficult thing to do in the summer but a change of scenery is important.

So my wife and I decided to spend a night in Portsmouth with some very good friends from Kennebunk. We ate at a wonderful restaurant called the ‘Green Monkey’. We have eaten there before and have never had a mediocre meal. They were always remarkable and friendly. On this particular evening the food and the service was even better. The only problem with this particular establishment was it was difficult to get a reservation. My friend from Kennebunk made the arrangements and we had a wonderful time in a truly wonderful place.

After dinner we decided to go and find some music and after-dinner libations. This is difficult for people our age because most of the clubs of Portsmouth are filled with people who could easily be our sons and daughters. Hell, some of them could easily be our grand-children. In the past we always felt a bit uncomfortable because we felt more like chaperones then revelers. We tried to stay away from the clubs that tried to attract a younger clientele with loud music and multiple beers and drink specials.

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Iidon’t have to cut my lawn and the leaves are now totally off the trees. Tradition has it that every Sunday afternoon my friends and relatives meet in my basement, which I call “the hole” to eat chips and drink beer as we watch our mighty team beat up the oposition.

At least it used to be that way until the wives of my friends and relatives started to show up to enjoy the festivities. Actually they started to show us the way the festivities should be enjoyed. In the midst of cheese trays, pate balls, and vegetable trays, I used to remember a time when watching a football game was not as civil as it has become today. The boys used to show up around 11:00 in order to watch the pre-pre-pre-game reports on the upcoming game. Everyone brought a six-pack, or two, in a cooler that was always topped off with plenty of melted ice.

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Ii want to go back to a time when my biggest problem was worrying if my students understood what I had just taught them.

I want to go back to a time where my primary concern was putting up with a bad neighbor.

I want to go back to a time when I was more concerned with my weight and what I was going to wear on a Saturday night.

I want to go back to a time when I could be angry that George W. Bush stole the election.

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Ggod did us a great favor during the July 4th weekend. It was one of the best weather holiday weekends I can remember. Of course this meant we would have to suffer through a cold and rainy week but the clear air, warm temperatures and low humidity made us all want to hit the beach and enjoy the ocean like we are supposed to and I, of course was one of those people.

Even the tide along the New England coast came through by allowing most of the beach to be enjoyed by the thousands of people who visited our shores. Sitting in the midst of the crowds I broke away from conversations concerning what and where one was planning for the warm and clear nights the weathermen promised once the sun went down. The first thing I noticed was that I was part of a rather large circle of people on our particular part of the beach. Allowing my mind to transgress back into my past I remember when I went to the beach to join my friends and family we always made little circles in the sand.

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Eeveryone tells me that modern technology makes life more efficient.  The many technological gadgets available to us now are supposed to organize our lives to the point that little thought or concentration need be expended to take control of our brave new world.

The other day my wife and I hosted a holiday barbecue for our family. I had just purchased my third new grill in five years and I was convinced this would be the year I would show everyone that I could cook with the best. I even bought a little timer I could clip on my belt so I would know the exact moment to turn this, or remove that, from the grill. I also purchased a type of fork that not only could be used to turn steaks and chicken but it could also display the inside temperature of the meat. I loved technology on that day and I sincerely believed that technology started to love me.

My guests arrived early in the afternoon and set up little circles of conversation like they do at every party I have been to for the past 30 years. A group of uncles and nephews evolved into the playroom to watch the Red Sox surge to another disappointing season. Another group of aunts and nieces staked out on the deck to soak up as much ultra-violet radiation as possible so that they could look like grandmothers well before their time.

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