It was 3:20 AM. Ahhhh… I had an hour left, but I couldn’t risk oversleeping. After some futile mental tug of war, I got up at 4:15 and jumped in the shower, fidgeted with the hotel coffee maker, and went through all the other prerequisite motions before we hopped in the car at 4:45. Linda “Need for Speed” Angier was at the wheel, so thank God all the cops were still in bed. And yet somehow, we still almost missed the start of the race. This all was no different from how PMC race day usually starts for me, but this year was different: I had just recovered from a brutal 7-week bout with pneumonia, and I wouldn’t be riding. Read more…
It was a crisp, clear Saturday morning in January when my roommate dragged me to the Middlebury Snow Bowl, determined to force me into a hot new trend called “skiing.” He told me that a ski run was good for the soul, and I needed as much soul-saving as I could get. But my new Fisher Pioneers were taller than me with fully extended arms, which couldn’t bode well, and the line was painfully slow. As my crew explained how to “ride” the rope, I watched said rope go from the edge of the parking lot to the top of a hill that was… Read more…
My son Lucas
Picture by Tanner Hall, 2019
Justin Mortimer, Family Dollar (2009)
Courtesy of the Artist and Master Piper, London. Photograph by Anna Arca.
Like many of us, I spent a good deal of my young life pursuing dates, and once upon a time I was even able to get them (references upon request). Today networking “services” like Tinder attempt to expedite the dating process, but since I’m over 30 I did it all the old-fashioned way: white-knuckle cold calls, making sure my fly was zipped before nervously ringing the doorbell, the follow-up, and the several phases of awkwardness, delight and/or grief that came next.
My ex-wife’s brother in law, Jack, recently passed away. His memorial service, which he of course planned in advance, was in a very small white church in Tuftonboro, NH. After a stroke and many wheelchair bound years, he died peacefully in his sleep after bidding his caregivers good night and announcing he loved his family (and especially his wife). I was surprised to learn that in the days leading up, he also asked his staff and wife multiple times about me. Read more…
I’ve been obsessed with bike riding since I was 6 years old. Even then, nothing compared to the sense of freedom I discovered when I rode. One year in, my first crash left a chain guard gash in my arm that required stitches and a trip to the ER; I remember crystal clearly how I stood still l as the bike fell over, taking me with it. Yet it was blood and tears but no sweat, and I kept at it – there were other fall-over moments, lots of road rash, two broken helmets, and a separated shoulder, but nothing so serious as to stop me chasing how magical it felt.
And nothing’s changed – my bike is my #1 endurance, exercise and mental health tool. Spring, summer and fall, it comes everywhere with me (forget winter – I’m not that tough). It’s more than a hobby, it feels like a fulfillment, and it has since I was a kid. That’s half of the reason I train every year for the PMC, 190 miles in 2 days to raise money for Dana Farber’s cancer initiatives. As a survivor, I also ride to help those who have been stricken and are too weak to pedal, as I once was.
Last fall, a check was given to the Farber for $51 million, raised by 5,000 riders – the lofty goal had been 48. In the past 38 years, the PMC has raised a grand total of $598 million. The ride is one of the best things I do with my energy, spirit, time, and life because it makes me, as well as others, healthy. PMC’s mantra is “closer by the mile” and every year, it manages to feel more meaningful; as we wheel into the finish line people are applauding and cheering, and for a moment, I’m a rock star. In that instant, it all feels like a collective miracle… one big, living proof that we can beat the odds.
TO GIVE: http://profile.pmc.org/JA0091
This past Mother’s day weekend, my sons were both home in Cambridge (a rare event). On one beautiful, sun-filled morning, we all decided that it was a great day for a burial. We chose an Evergreen spruce as our stately monument, and everyone did their part to help: the mulch bed was laid, the hole was dug, and the deceased was wrapped in a lovely white pillowcase shroud. My wife got out her prayer book and read the Kaddish, or the Jewish prayer for the dead; it was a perfect ceremony, and I know he was looking down and smiling, despite the fact that I was there. I am of course talking about… Read more…
Spring is finally in the air and I’m back in my garden, reviewing my defenses. As discussed last year, woodchucks are the “Taliban” of my garden’s existence (and mine), ruthlessly pillaging whatever I grow. My backyard could be an exercise yard at a high security prison, save the lack of Concertina wire. And as I unraveled last summer, I decided to try a substitute. The short version of that story is my loose vegetable wire “cages” have surprisingly been 95% successful.
Yet I stumbled on the attached AP clipping, where one man’s attempt to do in his own whistlepig got out of hand. This story hit too close to home, and shows the desperate lengths us “gardeners” go to defend our territory. Mr. Monmouth let them get to him and it seems he finally reached the edge. I’m not quite there yet, but let’s see how this summer goes…
At this time of year, I always think of the visit I made to the American Military Cemetery at Thiaucourt, France, Southeast of Paris. The cemetery is in the center of where the Saint-Mihiel salient battle occurred in World War I.
The mist hangs low and quiet on a ragged line of hills
There’s a whispering of wind across the flat;
You’d be feeling kind of lonesome if it wasn’t for one thing–
The patter of the raindrops on your old tin hat.
An’ you just can’t help a-figuring–sitting here alone–
About this war and hero stuff and that,
And you wonder if they haven’t sort of got things twisted up,
While the rain keeps up its patter on your old tin hat.
When you step off with the outfit to do your little bit,
You’re simply doing what you’re s’posed to do–
And you don’t take time to figure what you gain or what you lose,
It’s the spirit of the game that brings you through.
But back at home she’s waiting, writing cheerful little notes,
And every night she offers up a prayer
And just keeps on a-hoping that her soldier boy is safe–
The mother of the boy who’s over there.
And, fellows, she’s the hero of this great big ugly war,
And her prayer is on that wind across the flat.
And don’t you reckon maybe it’s her tears, and not the rain,
That’s keeping up the patter on your old tin hat?
2Lt. LIEUT. J. H. WICKERSHAM
American 89th Division
Written at the battle front in France and sent to his mother the night before he was KIA September 12, 1918
Les Gouttes de Pluie sur ton Vieux Casque
La brume suspendue en silence sur les collines échancrées
Passe le souffle du vent a travers le plat
On pourrait se sentir seul, si ce n’était pour une chose,
Le crépitement des gouttes de pluie sur ton vieux casque
Tu ne peux pas t’empêcher d’être là assis seul,
Pensant à cette guerre et à ces trucs de hero et puis,
Tu t’interroges, s’ils avaient emmêlés ces choses,
Pendant que la pluie continue à crépiter sur ton vieux casque.
Quand tu sors avec ton uniforme pour faire ta part des choses,
Tu fais simplement ce que tu es suppose faire,
Et tu ne prends pas le temps de chiffrer ce que tu as perdu ou gagné
C’est l’espirit du jeu qui t’aide à t’en sortir.
Mais là-bas à la maison, elle attend, écrivant des petits mots pour t’encourager
Et chaque nuit elle offer une prière,
Et elle espère juste que son soldat de fils reste en vie,
La mère du soldat qui est là-bas.
Et les gars, c’est elle le hero de cette grande et affreuse guerre,
Et le vent transporte sa prière sur le plat,
Et, ne reconnais-tu pas ses larmes, et non pas la pluie,
Qui continue à crépiter sur ton vieux casque ?
2Lt. J Hunter WICKERSHAM, né le 3 Février, 1890
écrit la nuit avant qu’il ne trouve la mort sur le champ d’honneur
le 12 septembre, 1918
Il repose dans ce cimetière Plot B – Rangée 19 – Tombe 12
After 16 years of “Odd Fellow” companionship and sharing live crickets, Diego, my sidekick, stretched out and took his hibernation into a deep and final siesta to the Bearded Dragon Lizard Elysian Fields. He was a silent companion, an excellent listener, and quite frankly, an extremely handsome dude. Read more…
The burning question to round out 2016: what will be the outcome under president-elect Mr. Trump? More specifically, what will the net effect of his election be on the real estate market? Read more…
Thank you to my Spirit Riders who raised $12,400 towards this mind-boggling amount.
Another year, another victory!!!
There is a slaughter being waged in my backyard.
“Umbilical cord” phone charger, meant to represent people’s dependence on their iPhones
Iizawa Mio, 2016
… on graduation (condensed to fit your screen).
By Tucker Angier, my son, Middlebury ’16
We are graduating at the tail-end of a transition year in Middlebury’s history, leaving to enter a world that is changing and challenging. Read more…
It’s time we stop, hey, what’s that sound
Everybody look what’s going down…
Anyone else remember this?? No??? Okay. But this Buffalo Springfield jam is possibly my main association with my college graduation… Read more…
Daniel Arsham (2007)
@ Gallerie Perrotin