Thursday, May 27, 2010


I woke up in the middle of the night because it was raining. Pouring. And, no, the old man — being Mr. Betty, who is not particularly old — was not snoring. It was just really pouring.

I thought about getting up and running around to close windows, especially car windows that may or may not have been open — but didn't. And they weren't. Everything was okay, even dry, this morning. As if the rain had never happened. Unlike another morning during that last long stretch of gray wet weather when I ventured to the Cliff Walk ...

I like to start in the middle — at Forty Steps, or thereabouts — as the middle-to-the-end section is the most interesting (in my opinion). On this day, I even went down the steps. And something about their being wet steps made me see or focus a bit more than usual on the names of people represented. Some, but not all, were past-tense. One step said simply: To Our Employees. No mention of whose employees, though perhaps that's the point. Forty Steps is where the employees of the mansions that line the Cliff Walk used to gather after-hours; that's why the site was established in the first place. Another step said: Wm. Wiggy Brown. There are lots of Browns in these parts (given Brown University, etc.), but I'd never heard of Wiggy. I had heard of Louie ... not Brown, but Jagschitz. He's the man for whom the State Fishing Pier at the end of Long Wharf is named. A legendary local lobsterman.

Other writing was totally unintelligible ...

I thought about sitting (deep thoughts, I know) — but didn't. Everything was wet, and that stone wall looked pretty uncomfortable. I thought about walking — but didn't. Ruggles was a whole half-mile away, and the rain seemed to be intensifying. I just got back in my nice dry car and headed home.