Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Closing Galehead Hut, 1986

In 1986, I was at Galehead Hut on the Appalachian Trail in the White Mountains of New Hampshire when it closed for the season. That year Columbus Day fell on Monday, October 13, and the hut was scheduled to close that day, weather permitting. I made that outing into a three-day adventure, staying at the hut for the last two nights it was open. Late in the afternoon of Sunday, October 12, I returned from a memorable day of hiking up on North Twin and South Twin Mountains to find a group of people, along with the hut master, listening to a baseball game on a small radio that was set by a window in the kitchen of the hut, the only place where the radio could receive that channel. It was the Red Sox and Angels as they met in Game 5 of the ALCS playoffs. Losing to the Angels, and down to their final strike, the Red Sox rallied as Dave Henderson hit a dramatic home run to put the Bosox ahead in the top of the ninth. In a flash, a variety of liquors and wines, cheeses and appetizers appeared on the kitchen counter, a veritable bounty pulled from the backpacks of the assembled guests. Incredibly, the Angels tied it in the bottom of the ninth, and the game went into extra innings. There were no scout groups with kids present, no families with fussy children to contend with or cater to, just the right group of adults thrown together at the right time. Although we were in a high hut in the White Mountains, for a brief while, we were as loud and raucous (men and women alike) as any sports bar in the city of Boston, and that mood continued into the night after Boston finally sealed the victory.

This story appears at:

Link to Closing Galehead


Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Paul Bowles, The Sheltering Sky

Paul Bowles: icon, historical figure, friend and destination for many around the world, died in November 1999, in Tangier, Morocco, at the age of 88. The expatriate writer, composer, and traveler, became part of Gertrude Stein’s artistic circle in 1931, and during that year, he made his first visit to Tangier with the great American composer, Aaron Copeland. In 1947, he moved to Tangier permanently, where he received such varied quests as Truman Capote, Tennessee Williams, Gore Vidal, Allen Ginsburg, William S. Burroughs, and the Rolling Stones.

When Paul Bowles died, I had just finished reading “The Sheltering Sky”, and my paperback showed many turned-over corners that I used to mark interesting passages or prose. On everyone’s list of the 100 Greatest English Novels, it is an engaging and hypnotizing view of the edge of civilization in North Africa, set in the period just after World War II, as seen through the eyes of a world-weary and disenchanted American couple and their friend. That period in Europe and North Africa following World War II is such fertile ground for expression and is rich soil to plant a seed in; the post-war despair amid the growing tide of nihilism in regards to all things human. There is the life we know, and the life out there in the desert, just beyond our horizon and experience, the one in which all things are possible. As for the life out there, (in which we may find the meaning of ourselves, or in which we may lose everything), that life awaits us if we seek it. As for the life we know, that is moving inexorably to its end, along with us and our possibilities, as we head for our cosmic end and the ironies beyond.

“How many more times will you remember a certain afternoon of your childhood, some afternoon that's so deeply a part of your being that you can't even conceive of your life without it? Perhaps four or five times more. Perhaps not even that. How many more times will you watch the full moon rise? Perhaps twenty. And yet it all seems limitless.”

Paul Bowles, “The Sheltering Sky”

Monday, February 4, 2008

Super Bowl 2008 is a Hit

How exciting was that game? Incredible! Anyone who watched it was treated to a titanic struggle and, even though it was low scoring, it was a game for the ages. To see Brady lead the Patriots to a late game score was not unexpected, to see Eli come back and win it in the waning moments in such dramatic fashion was quite unexpected.

Fox Network tried to ruin it with their unending self-promotion, at least the 'American Idol' star did a great job with the anthem. And to be honest, I have to admit that Aikman and Buck are a capable pair of announcers and work well together. I guess we have to be grateful that it wasn't shown on ABC, then we would have had to endure a 'Dancing with the Stars' themed show.

Tom Petty put everything on the line and the result was great show at half-time. I'm surprised that more people don't have a higher opinion of Tom, his band, and his musicianship. He toured the world for a couple years with Bob Dylan (with the Heartbreakers playing playing the role of 'The Band'), and when Rick Rubin produced those classic Johnny Cash songs toward the end of Johnny's life, it was Tom Petty that Rick sought out to work with him on the project. And don't forget the 'Traveling Wilburys'.

Peyton Manning was a class guy, sitting in the back corner of the box so as not to be too prominent, yet rooting unabashedly for his brother.

It was a great game and, here in California, we had a great time along the way. Shirley and I had a small gathering at our house where we drank Margaritas and barbecued ribs outside on the Weber. To make everything sweeter, I won a yearly Super Bowl bet made with a friend back in Connecticut. Later in the evening, we toasted the Giants victory with a glass of Fonseca Port.

It was a fine end to a wonderful day.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Red Flannel Hash

Red flannel hash, I made it for dinner tonight in Los Angeles. It was a cold and damp night in Southern California, and I was searching the cupboards for dinner fixings, something to make that was easy and hot, and perhaps a meal a little out of the ordinary that might surprise Shirley. When the idea came, the memories came as well, and I was transported back across the years to those times spent in New Hampshire.

I remember camping on the the Kancamaugus Highway in the White Mountains of New Hampshire, having corned beef hash for breakfast, and driving to Conway for Red Flannel Hash, or corned beef hash with sweet beets. And I remember Jim Olkovikas making Red Flannel Hash from scratch one night in the late 1980s.

Read the story by following the link below.

Red Flannel Hash