Tuesday, July 13, 2010

The Body on the Beach



I took an early morning walk along the beach this morning. The sun was just starting its climb into the sky in the east, making me squint as I headed in that direction. I was heading toward a jetty composed of piled up rocks which ushers boats into the adjoining harbor. Other than a man walking toward me at the very beginning of my walk I was alone on the beach.

So I thought! As I progressed further toward the jetty, squinting into the sun, I perceived a dark form laying in the remotest corner of the beach next to the jetty and right up at the dunes that mark the end of the beach. The sun was right in my eyes, but I caught a good glimpse of the form – it definitely appeared to be a human body!

I won't claim that my heart stood still, but it definitely skipped a beat at that realization. Had the man who passed me done some evil deed or had the previous night's high tide washed up the result of some tragic accident? The thoughts literally cascaded through my head: If this is a body, what will I do? Will I examine it for any signs of life? Shall I just ignore it? Shall I turn around and go for helps since I don't have my cell phone with me? Or shall I just pretend I never saw it?

All the while I was thinking these thoughts my feet kept moving me closer to the lifeless form. I finally decided that I could not ignore it completely, but I decided to confront the problem obliquely. That is, I pretended that I didn't see it yet and headed toward the jetty along the water's edge, well away from the dunes, hoping the body (now clearly identifiable) would get up or just move its head. I kept thinking: Move...move...damn it, move! Lo and behold, just as I was almost abreast of the “corpse,” the point where I would have been forced to make a decision as to what I would do next, it sat up and squinted at me as to say: What are you doing here this early in the morning?

The “corpse” was a young lady dressed in some kind of beach-going attire. I walked past her as if I didn't see her, chagrined at my earlier trepidations, stopped briefly at the jetty and then made my way back down the beach, quite relieved that I was not the discoverer of some unpleasantness. I wondered, though, what the reason was for her being there: Was she the remnant of an all night party at the beach, someone trying to get an early start on a sunburn or just someone like me who enjoys the solitude of the ocean early in the morning.

Lesson learned: Always be prepared for the worst and hope for the best and most importantly – always carry a cell phone.

Cape Cod Vacation – Only the Beginning



We travel to Cape Cod every summer to be with our children and their families. The cottage we have there serves as a base for our visits to our offspring and for a place for them to come and spend time with us. Cape Cod is a vacation paradise with beaches and amusements of all sorts. We love it...

We arrived on a Thursday afternoon, got car insurance, registered our Jeep which had been slumbering uninsured and unregistered over the winter in the garage at our cottage and in the process discovered that it had no brakes. Since it was getting late we shelved that problem and hurriedly laid in some supplies.

Bright and early the next morning I returned the rental car which we had used to drive to the Cape from Bangor, Maine, to the airport, walked to the bus terminal, arriving just in time to take a one hour bus ride back to our domicile and called AAA to have the Jeep towed to a garage for repairs, before our youngest daughter with two small children and a dog arrived at 11 A.M.

We didn't even have time to clean the cob webs out of the corners. More pressing was the setting up of the rubber swimming pool which had served us so well in the past couple of years by occupying the grandchildren. Unfortunately, as was the case last year, the pool had developed leaks over the winter. How that could be is a mystery to me, because this past winter I stored it in a cardboard box in the living room of the cottage rather than rolled up in a corner of the garage, as I had done the year before. This time the holes were tiny “pin prick” holes rather than the larger rodent-induced holes of the year before. Luckily our youngest daughter is very handy and almost singlehandedly patched the holes. Later on our oldest daughter with her two boys and her dog arrived thereby augmenting the turmoil. A stroke of good luck was that we got our Jeep back after a brake line was replaced.

The next day, Saturday, we discovered that overnight some more leaks had mysteriously appeared on our pool which kept two of us busy locating and plugging. Then our third daughter arrived at 9 A.M. with four children and two dogs. This daughter with her entourage only stayed for the day which was good because as the day progressed I was being torn several ways since I was detailed to take various grandchildren to the skate board park, to the go-cart track, to the mini-golf course and in between pumping up bicycle tires. I couldn't keep that up indefinitely.

Sunday was a real letdown from all the hectic activity of the day before because everybody but me and the remaining dogs went to the zoo in the morning, all I had to do was to go to the skateboard park practically all afternoon which is easy duty once you are there because you can sit and read a book, write or just daydream while the kids work off their energy on the “half pipe” or the “tabletop.”

On Monday (Memorial Day), our youngest daughter with two children and dog left early to avoid the traffic and our oldest daughter with two children and dog left shortly thereafter, also to avoid the feared “off-Cape” traffic after a long weekend.

After everyone had left, my friend and I just sat there enjoying the peace and quiet and went to bed early.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Book Announcement



Some time ago one of my granddaughters asked me to answer a few questions she needed to have answered for a report at school.  The questions were basically, where did your ancestors come from, when did they arrive in the US, etc.  I realized that not even my children could answer these questions accurately, so I decided to write a family history which my grandchildren can consult whenever they get around to being interested in where their ancestors came from.  This family history has taken a bit longer to complete than anticipated; therefore, I have decided to split it into five parts and to publish each part as it is finalized, instead of waiting until all of it is written, which may take a long time.

The five parts represent the five distinct phases in my life: My being born in the "Sudetenland," which is now part of the Czech Republic, during World War II, my years growing up in Bavaria after the war, my move to the United States in my teens, joining the US Air Force and making it a career, and the years after retiring from the US Air Force.

I call the series of volumes Recollections of my Five Lives and I am putting them out there for anyone who is so inclined to read them. The first of the five volumes can be obtained at http://www.lulu.com/.