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Thursday, April 28, 2011


Everyone is talking about the Royal Wedding and by the time this gets read, the big event will have happened.
This takes me back to when I got married (not married anymore) on another Friday way long ago, in mid-summer.
The ceremony was happening at 7:00PM and everyone was hanging about my parents' house, bridesmaids dresses in the corner and all the groomsmen elsewhere waiting for the limo.
The phone rang.
Now bear in mind this was an age prior to the internet or cell phones or anything else of that sort.
My mother picked up the phone and shot a peculiar look into my eyes. "It's for you," she said, and handed over the receiver.
I was in a robe with my cousins playing with my hair and the makeup wasn't on just yet.
Who was it, I asked? My mother answered, "It is Ralph."
Ralph was one of those guys who used to call me all the time trying to figure out what I was doing that weekend in hopes he might catch up to me. On that night, the voice on the other end of the phone was typical.
"Hey! You busy?" he said.
"Yes, Ralph, very."
"Ralph, I can't talk much now. I've got plans."
"Really? What?"
"Ralph, I'm getting married."
Dead silence at the other end of the phone.
"Married?" he snorted. "When?"
"Ralph, in about two hours."
More dead silence. A breath, and then realization.
"So I guess you are busy tonight."
"Yep. Sorry, Ralph."
Dead silence at the other end of the phone, again.
"I guess I should let you go," he said.
"Yep. Sorry, Ralph."
He hung up. My mother gave me a funny look and all of the people in my house started to guffaw.
Poor Ralph.
I suppose somewhere out there someone who once dated Kate is having a similar reaction.
Amen, and pass the mustard.

Monday, April 25, 2011


A little while ago I was sorting through the stuff in my pantry and happened upon one of the "Magic Coffee Pots" I inherited from my father.
Anyone who knew my dad, or ever visited my house when I was growing up, probably was treated to a taste of this incredible concoction. Some lived to tell the tale.
The caffeine level was through the roof, as was the amount of sugar contained in what was the equivalent of a shot glass, only hot, very hot. Papi didn't believe in serving coffee unless it was likely to burn your gullet on the way down.
Making it was a production -- he did not use a real coffee maker, but instead boiled water in a beat up metal cup, added copious amounts of sugar to the water then strained in boatloads -- and I mean boatloads -- of coffee grounds using "the sock."
"The sock" was made out of a wire hanger around which Papi had carefully sewn pristine white flannel in the shape of a cone. A mysterious amount of grounds were spooned into "the sock," and then the boiled sugar water was poured into it, straining the whole shebang into individual cups.
You had to drink it right away. I mean, seconds later. Seconds. Anything else and you were a serious wimp.
My father (right) and his brother one Saturday afternoon, post coffee.
On Saturday afternoons, especially if one of my uncles was visiting, the coffee was a family ritual.
After the coffee they would sit around and chat or try to beat each other shooting dice.
My father and his brothers and sisters somehow could do shots of that stuff the way some people drink water. They slept soundly whether they drank it morning, noon, or before bedtime.
I'd give anything to wake up tomorrow to that same scent, but that's not possible these days. 
Amen, and somebody pass me some Cuban coffee.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Cayman I Miss You

A friend of mine sent me this photo early this morning.

It's shot from the water somewhere off Seven Mile Beach in Grand Cayman, a gorgeous Caribbean island where I lived for some time.

I live in New England now, where the spring months  present you with a couple of warmish days and maybe some sunny skies here and there. Almost, but not quite.

This photograph, whilst gorgeous, represents a bit of torture.

I mean, look at that clear water, look at that sky.  It is like living in a postcard.

While I adore my home state of Rhode Island, soon as I saw this photograph I took a deep breath and held it.

I could feel the warm water on my knees, the hot breeze on my shoulders, my eyes squinting from the turquoise glare off the sea.

Thanks for the reminders of what I fell in love with, my friends. Caymanians often say 'soon come' -- a curious statement about the islands that time forgot but I cannot.

Amen, Cayman, I soon come, and pass the turtle stew.