Sunday, July 30, 2006


I think I know how Demeter gets out of the pen now. I found her again on the top of the fence post, so she must be flying over the low end of the pen. Earlier I had discovered her out in the yard, so I went to get the camera. When I came back, she seemed to be telling the other chickens about her escape and they appeared to be listening to her. I like this picture of them talking through the fence.

She is easy to coax back through the gate, and there were no repercussions.

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Another Pastel and a Hot Day

Here's the latest in the pastel series. I love these works so much I can hardly take my eyes off them. I did this one with watercolor paper painted black that I mixed with my acrylic paints. I think I like the red ground better as a finished product, but it's more fun to work against the black.

I took the picture of the chickens from the porch. They are too small to see, but the green yard will remind me in winter what July looked like.

I actually spent this very hot and humid day moving all my bedroom furniture into the guest room and vice-versa. I couldn't wait until I had painted the room, as I had planned. Even with its old wallpaper and unfinished floor I am happy with it. In honor of the move, I made the bed up with my Egyptian cotton sheets. They are white, so I hate to have the dogs getting all over them, but if I don't, I will be leaving them to my children. I might as well use them and enjoy them. When I was done with my rearranging, I sprayed myself with cold water and took a tepid bath. Afterwards, I put on a white T-shirt that smelled of bleach, left my hair wet, and opened a new bottle of seltzer water (at prime fizziness). I feel almost decadent in my self-indulgence, but it couldn't be a more pleasing end to the afternoon. Posted by Picasa

Friday, July 28, 2006

White Kitchen

Although I still need to put more coats of paint on the cabinets over the stove, I now can see how the kitchen looks transformed. It used to be dark because of the wood cabinets and now it is bright and cheerful. I may even be able to put a curtain at the window now.

On the way back from seeing Alice I stopped at the hardware store and bought paint to do the floor of the deck outside, too. Now that I am in the groove, I may as well take advantage of my energy and get as much done as I can before lethargy overtakes me. There are times when I don't even want to sweep the floor, and others, like now, when I am full of ideas for projects. I have plans to paint the guest room and the bathroom, too, and possibly move into the guest room myself. It seems that I am always looking for change. A new arrangement of things gives me a boost of mood and a feeling of optimism. There is always a new start. Lisa told me that her little daughter Audrey sometimes tells her at bedtime that tomorrow she is going to "start all over again." New surroundings give me that feeling, temporarily. It is a kind of squaring of one's shoulders and facing the future with determination that things will go right this time.

 Posted by Picasa

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Walter Cronkite

A PBS special last night on the CBS news anchorman Walter Cronkite sent me on a trip through my past. For two hours I watched the major world events of my life parade by me. It was amazing how the reactions I had then were repeated in almost equal intensity to the real thing, albeit much more briefly. I relived the night Mike and I tried so hard to stay awake for the results of the Eisenhower-Stevenson election. Democrats all, my parents and grandmother were up all night, in those days prior to immediate tabulation by computers, agonizing over every report that came in from every state as the votes were counted. When I woke in the morning to a pervasive atmosphere of doom, I knew that the our country would not survive, that my life would be short, and that my end would come in the inferno of a nuclear blast.

As it was in my own experience, last night's show moved on to the relative prosperity of the fifties with images that could have come from "Father Knows Best," and "Leave it to Beaver." Everyone was happy and carefree. Although our family did not experience it, I still see it as the way life was then. I was so brainwashed by television and Look and Life magazines that I failed to notice that I was not part of the "fifties lifestyle." It was difficult to reconcile the apparently idyllic life on TV with the bi-monthly civil defense drills we had at shcool. At the sound of a teeth-shattering clanging bell we were taught to dive under our desks, or sometimes to walk in a quiet and orderly fashion to the bomb shelter in the basement of the school. The conflicting views of our times cancelled each other out to the point where I was mostly numb to it all. I focused on my Roy Rogers ranch set and had nightmares of death.

Then Walter Cronkite moved into the "Turbulent 60's." I define the sixties by the assassinations that took place and by my first, and possibly only, love. Both took place in 1963. My political awakening took place during Kennedy's campaign. I was an avid, vocal supporter. I still had my straw hat and Kennedy poster until a few years ago. When he was killed I was glued to the televsion for three days, watching the assassination over and over again. I was there when Oswald was shot by Jack Ruby. I saw it live. I watched the funeral procession, the black horse with backwards boots in the stirrups of his empty saddle. I saw John-John salute the casket. I saw the lighting of the eternal flame (which significantly blew out a few hours later and had to be re-lit). I saw it all over and over again and still couldn't get enough.

When Martin luther King was assassinated, I was relatively unimpressed, though I must say that the constant replaying of his "I have a Dream" speech finally reduced me to tears. Bobby Kennedy's death left me shell-shocked and bitter and my idealism slid away, never to return. But that was later, and the other part of 1963 found me madly in love and happy. My senior year of High School, contrary to every other school year of my life, was full of social and socially acceptable events and behaviors. Ball games, dances, movies, parking in the dark and making out until the early hours of the morning--these were my nods to conventionality. The war in Viet Nam, the race riots, symbols of the 60's, did not move me much except in retrospect. The images shown on the nightly news were registered in my brain despite my indifference, to be replayed many times over in later years.

The seventies were my years of marriage and childbirth, my hazy existence in Hartford, my remote life in a lonely farmhouse in Newburgh. Life outside myself barely existed. My first notice of the world beyond took place in 1987 when we all oved to Bangor again. I was in time for Jesse's childhood illness and the accident of the Challenger spacecraft. The show about Walter Cronkite ended before then, though, when the space program was still appropriate and wonderful--a source of pride of accomplishment. Our competitive race against the Russians was almost a game then, one for them, one for us.

So, I lived all of those years again last night, in fast forward. I ran up the roach infested starway to our apartment in Portsmouth to watch "Superman." I saw Alan Shepherd circle the earth, glancing up from a book I was reading while babysitting on Ohio St. I sat at the litchen table and listened, of course, to a younger Walter Crinkite announcing the death of the president. I cried over Kennedy, sitting in a recliner pulled up in front of the TV on Boynton Street. I smiled and cheered Armstrong, the first man on the moon. I watched, transfixed, the repeated images of the challenger spacecraft blowing up, the horrified looks of the on-lookers as we all imagined the same thing--the unimaginable end of the astronauts on board.

Those horrified looks are so familiar now. Human beings reacting to disaster after disaster blend into one great picture of life. How can we help but feel hopeless? Well, I do it right now by looking at blueberry fields.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Art Day

This is the pastel I did today from one of the photos I posted yesterday. This time I used watercolor paper painted with red acrylic. I like the look of the red underpainting, though I think it's not as dramatic as the black. I'm happy with the results I got and look forward to doing more of the pictures of Epping Road.

I was so engrossed in my work that I forgot to go to the gallery to relieve June at four o'clock as I had promised. By the time I realized the time, it was almost four thirty, so I didn't bother to go. This is quite irresponsible of me, but it is good to be so excited about what I'm doing that I lose track of everything else. I look forward to doing another pastel tomorrow when I get together with Diana and David. We are planning a special art day for just the three of us since Diana has been so busy with other company.

Since my life has been so leisurely this week, I have been painting the kitchen cabinets. My kitchen is becoming brighter as I get rid of the dark wood under several coats of off-white enamel. Being a different person than I used to be, I am doing this piecemeal. It is a restful experience to tackle a job without feeling that I have to get it done in one session. Posted by Picasa

Potential Paintings

Last week I took a wrong turn looking for a detour Alice told me about and discovered some gorgeous scenery. Today I went back there to photograph the area with the idea of doing pastel paintings from the pictures. These are four of the fifty seven pictures I took. It seemed to me that every turn provided a better and better view. The area is quite isolated, though it is right off route 1, and I feel as if I have found a wonderful secret paradise.

The land is rough and harsh in a way, but so beautiful in the rugged way that speaks of eternity. You would think that nothing could ever hurt it, yet we human beings are in the process of destroying everything in our path. I feel priviledged to have found a place that looks relatively pristine, even though I know that our influence on the planet is eating away unseen. The air and rain so full of polutants is surely doing its damage, even here.

Despite my pessimism about its future, I wallowed in the illusion of the land's isolation and imperturbability. I had been given a gift and I didn't want to analyze or diminish my good fortune. I drove up and down the roads without seeing another human being, stopping often to get out and put my feet on this earth. I thought I would never see anything that rivaled the beauty of the ocean for me, but now I have. I thought for a minute that I would like to live there, but realized that if I did my presense would alter and ruin it. I would need a shelter of some kind, and my dwelling would intrude.

So, I know where it is and I can go back whenever I want to. I can memorialize it by painting it, though no painting could ever be more than a fuzzy memory of the real thing. It's wonderful to know that there are still things to discover that are unlike anything you have ever known before, and they can be just slightly out of view, just behind the tree line of route 1. Posted by Picasa

Sunday, July 23, 2006

You Gotta Love Marmalade....

It's a big job, but it's worth it if you really like orange marmalade the way I do. Actually, I would have bought a jar at the IGA if I'd had the money, but I've spent everything I had. I did have, however, some oranges that had been in the refrigerator for about a month and some lemons David left me when he went to Florida in June. Add sugar and the fruit pectin left over from my pepper jelly and I had it made, literally. I dumped out some old relish and some bread and butter pickles to use their jars, though I know they won't reseal. I eat the stuff so fast I don't have to worry about it spoiling in the refrigerator.

So that was my Sunday, along with a redecorating job in the kitchen. I took the doors off the cupboards over the sink and painted out the wood color that had surrounded them. Then I arranged my dishes (attractively, I think) on the open shelves. This meant that I had to find other places for the less attractive cans of vegetables, boxes of rice and pasta, and cellophane bags of dry soup mix the doors had once concealed. It's amazing how limitless are the possibilities of reorganization.
Other activities were a walk with the dogs (I read on a web site that Lhasa Apsos need 20 minutes of exercise a day), and framing my newest pastel painting of the farm in Fall. I gave Patrick a haircut while I was talking with Mike on the phone, good boy that he is, and now he matches Lytton who was shorn a few days ago. It was another one of those precious days with no appointments and nothing specific to do.

The play last night was really great and I was again taken by the talent in our small community. It was a musical, so the actors sang to the accompaniment of local musicians. Just like the gallery, which mimics the galleries of big cities on a smaller scale, the community theater is as ambitous as any New York company. Within the microcosm of this little town, we have our own opening nights, and I have no doubt that we enjoy them as much as any Broadway theater goer. We have as much as New Yorkers, but they don't have as much as we do.

I walked out onto the back deck to check on the plants that are summering there and noticed Demeter perched atop one of the fence posts of the pen. The diameter of those posts is no more than two inches, so her feet were entwined like roots. She may have been feeling trapped, since she didn't move as I approached her, and I had to pick her up and drop her onto the ground. I hope she remembers that before she decides to fly up there again, but it is my experience that the memories of chickens is very short unless food is involved. Posted by Picasa

Saturday, July 22, 2006

More Pastel

Today's efforts produced this painting. I tried covering watercolor paper with acrylic paint and using that as a ground. It works perfectly well, which makes me feel good about what I will be able to do. It was easier to keep from blending too much too, because the surface is hard and resists smootching. For this image I copied an old photograph I took many years ago on my way to visit Janet in Dexter. I painted it in oil once--I liked that one, too.

I haven't even put clothes on today. It's soothing to spend my time alone with the dogs. The day will finish by going to the play tonight. A social event after a quiet day makes for a fine Saturday. Posted by Picasa

Friday, July 21, 2006

Esther's Death Revisited

I heard from my neighbor today about the day the dogs got out. She didn't know how it happened, but she said her grandson Joseph was upset about it and wanted to try to catch them. She told him to leave them alone. It bothered me to think that she didn't help when she could have. As bad as that was the fact that she saw Esther out of her pen for hours and didn't act on that either. Even if she didn't want to get involved with the chickens herself, her kids would have gladly rescued Esther without fear of harm to themselves.

Since I now had some information on Esther's end, the dreaded mental image of her appeared in my mind, an image of her being attacked and killed by a raccoon or a dog while wandering around lost. Somehow I had been able to dismiss the episode when I could think of it as a mysterious disappearance with no details, but that small piece of reality changed everything. I went into the field behind the chicken house and searched again, calling and calling, hoping to undo what had been done. I believed there was a possibility that it could all be changed, that I would find her hiding under a bush or in the tall grass, that I would be telling the story of of her amazing survival to all my friends. I thought I heard her moving or clucking several times and turned toward the sound, seeing nothing. Gradually the futility of my search seeped into my consciousness, and though I continued to stagger through the tangled weeds I knew she was gone.

Coming back to the house I started to cry the tears that didn't happen before. I had not ceased to care, as I thought, but just postponed my response to her death. Every little living thing has worth and I couldn't deny Esther her small mourning period after all.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Finished picture

Here's the painting after I worked more on the buildings, put color in the rocks,etc. Posted by Picasa

Pastel Painting, Esther, and Dogs on the Loose

After the fourth of July and all its hoop-la, after the pie sale was over, after David's opening, I turned my creative thoughts to pastels. I have been trying to use them for about three years, but wasn't able to get far. I had trouble with values, not to mention tecnique. Last week when I was in Bangor for my physical exam (yuk), I bought some black paper, convinced that it would solve my problems. There are two new gallery members who do pastel, and though I was not inspired by their work per se, I was inspired by my own competitiveness. I could not accept the fact that I wasn't able to do what they could do. These three paintings are the results of my efforts so far. The top one is not done, as I haven't worked on the buildings at the bottom, but I am feeling good about my efforts.

The middle picture is more like the tecnique I thnk I would like to cultivate, since it is more painterly. The two skies, I felt, had to be blended to get the softness I wanted, but I may learn how to accomplish that without using my fingers eventually. I'm enjoying my efforts in any case. I am the eternal student, always in love with the idea of learning something new. That is my nemesis, too, because usually once I get to the point where I know I could become accomplished, I skip the follow through. The rest is not a new challenge, only the drudgery of practice.

Luckily I feel that I have a lot of learning to do, and am quite anxious to continue. These paintings are very small: 9x12. Before I am done, I will have to buy some expensive large paper. Before I do, I have to feel that I am up to the task. I need to be confident that I will not waste the paper.

Not the least of happenings of late has been the disappearance of Esther. She seems to have simply vanished. I spent about an hour looking for her last evening when I realized she was gone, but she was nowhere to be found. I try not to think of what happened. The night before there was a big thunderstorm and when I came home from Judy's I found that the door to the henhouse had blown shut. It was almost dark and all the chickens had been closed inside except a very wet Hannah, or so I thought. I opened the door to let her in and left them for the night. The next morning I found Mary out in the yard clucking for her breakfast. I had not seen her the night before and she had spent a wet night outside. It is my recollection that when I opened the door and let the other chickens out they were all there except Demeter, who often stays in the little nesting house in the mornings to lay her egg. But when I went to put them to bed last night, Esther was not there. Either she got out during the day, or she was actually not there that morning at all. She may have been out as Mary was and escaped. In any case, since she did not reappear this morning, I am certain that she has met an unfortunate end somewhere in the neighborhood. Whatever it was, I don't want to know.

The dogs also mysteriously got out of the house the other day while I was visiting Sydney. I came home to two frantic boys barking and wanting to get into the house. Benny was inside, but Lytton and Patrick must have had a great adventure. They were hot and panting, covered with burdocks and full of mats. The doors to the house were all closed and no windows were open from the bottom, so I can't imagine how they got out unless somebody opened the door. My suspicion is that one of the people visiting Diana this week for the painting non-workshop came by to see me. When I didn't answer the door, perhaps they innocently opened it to call to me, thereby allowing the dogs to sreak past them. Evidently Benny was not on the ball, or he would have been gone, too. I asked everybody if they had been to my house and all pleaded innocent, but since I can imagine no other scenario, my guess is that the guilty party kept quiet. I would have had I been in that position and I hope that is the case. If not, it remains a mystery that I need to solve.

It is amazing that I have become somewhat callous about chicken death. Hannah and Demeter are special to me as individuals, but the others seem to just round out the group, adding little more than their numbers. I am sad about Esther, and I hate thinking about how she died, but that is the extent of the impact on me. I'm sorry to say that I didn't shed a tear. Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Mushroom Crop

Here is the firstof my home-grown mushrooms. Sabrina and Jesse sent me a kit many weeks ago and I postponed starting them until after the trip when I would have time to tend them. This one is about three inches across and David and I ate it one night mixed with some inferior store-bought ones. It was delicious, though I can't say I would have known the difference had I not cared for it lovingly for two weeks. Posted by Picasa

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Back from the Trip with Memories lV

Finally I'm at the end of the saga, though the last chapter is not without interest. As we turned onto route 9 toward Washington County and home, we congratulated ourselves on the good time we were making. We saw ourselves arriving in time for a good dinner with the people who waited for us. Then, as we started up a hill in Amherst the car refused to respond to Lisa's foot on the gas pedal and coasted to a stop. We looked at each other with silent resignation. Attempts to coax the car into moving failed and we had to accept the fact that we were stranded, not in the middle of nowhere, but close to it. After raising the hood and looking at the engine as if we could find the problem, we turned our attention to our surroundings and spotted a small house a short distance away. We walked up the driveway and peered into the open door where an older woman and a young boy were going about their routine of TV and housework. The woman let us use her phone and we made several calls to Will, David, and AAA. Many false starts concerning our rescue necessitated the use of the phone until the battery ran down. Details....complicated and a little boring at this point.

Eventually a tow truck arrived and loaded the car. Lisa and I rode in the cab with the driver and we returned to Brewer, which we had left earlier in the afternoon. At the garage we lounged around the office, and then the waiting room, until Will arrived after a two and a half drive from Eastport in his mother's car. Lisa spoke with him en route several times to guide him to our remote location. He communicated by the cell phone he had borrowed from his son.

Around eleven o'clock we finally pulled up in front of my house, where we unloaded my stuff and said cheerful good-byes. I was greeted by Sabrina, who helped carry luggage in, and her mother whom I had never met. The dogs were running and jumping happily, and I was thrilled to see them. Evidence of my absense was everywhere, mostly in the form of pee- and poop- covered newspapers and the paraphenalia of people living temporarily in a strange house that doesn't belong to them. My bedroom, where the dogs had spent a lot of time, was a shambles. My foam rubber mattress pad was torn to shreds and spread throughout the room, along with my sheets and pillows. Again, the room had been used by them as a bathroom. It took me about an hour to clean up enough to crawl into bed and fall gratefuly asleep with my little boys around me. I was glad to be home. Posted by Picasa

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Back from the Trip with Memories lll

My computer has been out of commission for several days while I switched back to Verizon, having the usual problems I seem to encounter when making changes. Anyway, back to the trip:

Lisa and I left Elizabeth's early Sunday morning and drove uneventfully to New Hampshire. I remembered the way to Thelma's and we arrived there around 10:30. Thelma greeted us warmly, supported by her walker and tethered to her oxygen tank. Despite the encumbrances, she looked the same as always, though smaller. She has lost a lot of weight. We showed her our paintings from the workshop, which she appreciated in a way that no one else will. Her experience with the workshop and Betty Lou gives her special insight into their creation. I gave Lisa a tour of the condo to show her the extensive collection of paintings Thelma has. Lisa went for a walk while Thelma and I visited, we had lunch, and shortly thereafter waved good-bye as we took off for Carrie and Gabe's. I wish I could have spent more time. I'm wondering when I will see Thelma again, and if our days of painting together may be over. I don't want to think that is the case. Those days, those experiences, are so precious to me. I have spent so many hours in the passenger seat of Thelma's car, happily talking and watching the scenery, on our way to some painting spot, or some restaurant, or some beautiful view. Those have been times of pure contentment when I ceased to have a care in the world. Thelma was my trusted and loved companion and all was right with the world.

A short time later we arrived at Carrie's house, missing the reportedly obvious intersection where we were to turn left the first time through. Realizing our mistake fairly quickly, we turned around and corrected the mistake. I recognized the house from a picture I had seen once. It's a very nice split level kind of place on a beautiful lot in suburbia. I felt a little awed by the fact that my daughter lived in a place I had come to expect from my somewhat well-to-do friends.

After showing us around and introducing us to their five cats, Carrie and Gabe opened the very belated Christmas presents I had brought. We sat at the old Parkview Avenue dining table and talked for a few hours and then went out to eat at a Thai restaurant. It was a delicious meal and they treated us. I feel self-consciously grateful at times like that. It seems that I should be treating them, but Carrie sloughed that idea off by saying, "You took care of me for 23 years." There could never be a sweeter person than she is.

The next morning we had breakfast before they had to go to work and Carrie gave us cinnamon rolls she had made to take along when we left. They were a lot like the ones I used to make for her and Jesse. As we talked at the kitchen table, Carrie showed me and then Lisa, a booklet she had made for one of her classes at school about her family life and current events that influenced her as she grew up. If I had been alone, I would have cried when I read it. As it was, it was all I could do to stay dry-eyed. It was a beautiful piece of art, for one thing, and for another it showed me her view of her own life in a way I could never have imagined. It is a priceless piece. My mind crowded with memories of the baby on the delivery table, blinking in the bright light she had never seen before, the pony-tailed little girl climbing the steps of the schoolbus, the beautiful teen-ager ready for the senior prom, the woman smiling from her wedding picture. I saw her holding the teddy bear and balloons I sent her for her graduation from graduate school. The documents that define her life marched through my brain: birth certificate to master's degree. For both of us it has been an amazing journey.

Again, I was reluctant to leave, but it was our goal to get home by dinnertime, so we packed up and set out for Maine. Already nostalgic for our adventures, we focused on the future and anticipation filled the air as we rolled up the ramp onto 95 and the Piscataqua Bridge. Posted by Picasa

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Back from the Trip with Memories II

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The next morning Lisa and I got up early and set out for Cape Cod. I had printed directions from the computer, but much of the information was missing because the black ink on Lorraine’s computer had run out. Elizabeth had given me directions over the phone as well, so we felt confident about being able to find her place easily. As it turned out, we did fine through Boston, across the bridge, and down the central Cape highway. Then we missed an exit, turned around, and lost our sense of direction. We ended up in the wrong town, looking for the illusive Tar Kiln Road which was to take us to Elizabeth’s. For a few tense moments I could feel Lisa’s good humor draining as she refused to believe we were on the wrong road and drove up and down according to the directions given to us by a fireman who evidently didn’t know the area or was simply pulling our leg. Finally we found some kind-hearted people in a general store who mapped out our route for us, and with soothing candy bars in hand and revived spirits, we headed out again.
Just as we turned onto the longed-for side road, we met Elizabeth driving toward us. She had waited as long as she could, but had to take her dogs to the kennel before noon. We followed her back to her house, then rode with her to the kennel. Kate, the Golden Retriever I had once held as a new puppy, sat beside me as an old dog with a pure white face. She needed a ramp to get out of the car. It seemed impossible that so many years had passed, but I was glad to see her again, glad that the separation from Elizabeth had not gone so long as to outlive Katie. I petted her and she looked content, with huge liquid eyes full of experience and life. Somehow I felt that she remembered me.
I can’t say all that went on inside my head during our visit. It was so complicated, full of thoughts half thought and feelings interrupted, memories partly remembered and overwhelming nostalgia. I could have seen her yesterday for the influence the years had on our meeting again. I was acutely aware that I had toughened myself against missing her, that I had made myself forget what she was to me. Elizabeth, my one and only friend. This may seem a strange thing to say because I have many good friends now, friends without whom I would suffer great loss in the quality of my life. But she and I came together at the right time, in the right place, to form a bond that is nothing short of extraordinary. It’s in the past now, and I mourn the loss of it, but seeing her again lets me know that it is still in the air, a raging potential like distant thunder and a constant comfort like waves lapping the shore.

Friday, July 07, 2006

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Back from the Trip with Memories

I have been unable to make my internet server work since I returned from my trip, so here I sit at the gallery computer, making a start at catching up. I have gone crawling back to Verizon, so I should be back on line soon, but until then I must type furiously when I get the chance.

The workshop ended at Lane's cove, which is a place I have always loved to paint. Though Betty Lou began a demonstration there under cloudy skies, the rain did not hold off and soon her painting was washed away before our eyes. We students stuck with her, crowched under jackets or, if we were lucky enough to have one, an umbrella. She ignored the weather as I have seen her do so many times, continuing to paint and talk until there was nothing left on her paper. Lisa and I headed for the studio, but braver souls remained at the site and were rewarded by a clearing, then sunny day. I was glad to get the chance to do a still life, and so was Lisa. We spent the day in comfort, sitting at our tables and snacking on the remains of the party two nights before.

The day ended with a critique of the week's work, well over a hundred painings. Then followed the ritual good-byes, the exchange of names and addresses that will never be used, the hugs and waves, the hopeful and optimistic sound of "See you next year!" filling the air. Betty Lou accepted the usual acolades and thank-yous with her usual vague and indifferent smile. Then we were in the car and gone.

It had been our plan to go directly from Rockport to Cape Cod. We had packed our things that morning and left Lorraine's ready to travel. As we whirled around Blackburn Circle and onto 128, though, it began to rain heavily. Traffic was heavy and it was very difficult to see. Then we heard on the radio that there were flash flood warnings for route 93, where we were headed, and that some exits from 128 were closing. After some deliberation we made the uncommonly sensible decision to return to Lorraine's apartment for the night. She had left for Maine to see her brother, but her landlady opened the door for us. We dragged enough things in from the car to get through another night and made ourselves at home.

With the rain punding outside we opened Lorraine's best bottle of wine, toasted ourselves, and had a wonderful dinner of left-over spaghetti, salad, and frozen garlic bread we found in the freezer. After the dishes were done, we fell gratefully into what had become our accustomed beds and fell asleep.