Tuesday, June 21, 2011


I took a late afternoon bike ride out to Sachuest Point today, which I gather is/was the first day of summer. What a beauty. And I was just taking a spin through the parking lot — I had no real intention of stopping — when I saw a familiar truck belonging to a friend. It's hard to miss (the truck, that is): classic black with assorted figures and flames on the side that I suppose represent speed and power.

Just what a truck ought to be: fast and powerful.

And cool (!).

Anyway, upon seeing the truck, I decided to disembark, lock my bike and head off in search of this friend (of the longtime variety) whom I know to be a fisherman. I assumed he was somewhere nearby, as Sachuest offers a wealth of spots, secret and otherwise, that are popular with those who enjoy casting about for whatever comes their way. Especially if it might provide dinner. I had no luck finding Fisherman Friend, however, so I just looked (fished?) around for whatever else struck me as marginally interesting on the Sakonnet side of the refuge: rocks, tidepools, seaweed and vines flowing/growing every which way, the usual stuff. Then I headed back to my bike but, just before hopping on, thought I'd take one last look on the other side: the side facing Second/Sachuest Beach. I headed down the trail a little way and ... there he was.

I picked my way over the rocks to where Fisherman Friend stood, and we exchanged pleasantries, after which he changed the subject by asking, "Want to see what I caught here three weeks ago?"

"Um, okay."

"Don't look too closely though ... "

But, of course, I did. I found it kinda pretty (in a prehistoric way): a sturgeon. The tail end, anyway. The rest of him/her had gotten a little, shall we say, old.

What Fisherman Friend was hoping to catch is striper, so we talked about that a bit, not that I know anything (at all) about fishing. Nor am I willing to do what it takes to get the job done, i.e., deal with the messy part; I just like to partake of the results. So, before long, I headed back to my bike and continued on my way.

And when I got home, I had a cell phone message from FF saying, "Just wanted you to know I caught one."

Must say, it made me smile ...

Tuesday, June 14, 2011


Must confess: I don't go to church. Not regularly anyway, though there are churches all around throughout the Historic Hill neighborhood (and throughout Newport), and that's really our truest claim to fame in these parts: freedom of religion. Massachusetts gets the credit. Rhode Island got it done. Anyway ...

Upon wandering through town earlier today, it seemed there was something going on at Trinity: construction cranes, blacked-out windows, substitute steeple (?), crunched VW bug (?). There's a movie being filmed, I'm told. Something involving Bruce Willis among others. Something called "Moonrise Kingdom."

I asked a policeman directing traffic along Spring Street if he'd seen Willis.

"Not yet, " he said.

Good to know (I hadn't missed it/him), though it was a little eerie looking up at blacked-out, taped-shut windows where the sun usually streams in ...

And having seen "Incendies" last night at the Pickens — which has nothing to do with anything although it has something to do with religion — all I can say is that I'm half-glad I don't feel any particular affiliation (while half-sure I'm missing out), as that can affect the way one looks at others of other affiliations. I like to think it's OK to harbor just a general/historical reverence for it all ...

But when I went back out again this evening — for a typical stroll down & around Washington Square and back home past Trinity — I saw it all in a different light, including the bug, now SQUISHED by the steeple.

I guess we'll have to wait to see "Moonrise Kingdom" to see exactly what transpired, and how, and why ...

Addendum: The stars are out! Click here (and here, and here) to see what I mean.

Sunday, June 12, 2011


Mr. Betty and I managed to see a lot today (Sunday), despite the glaring absence of the sun. We gassed up our little vessel to go out and watch other boats racing around beneath layer-upon-layer of gray skies: Optimists up toward the bridge and Naval War College, 420s off Goat Island, assorted classics farther north toward Prudence.

On top of everything else, this weekend marked the New York Yacht Club's Annual Regatta, thus there was plenty of activity on the bay.

OK, so the sun was lacking. Patience, patience — it'll return.

OK, so we were watching rather than participating. Sundays are supposed to be about resting rather than racing around like we do every other day of the week, right?

OK, so Sundays are about a few other things, too ...

Friday, June 10, 2011


Not knowing quite what to do with myself on a recent hot (hot!) afternoon, I joined the migration down Memorial, past Dunkin Donuts — iced coffee is de rigueur on such occasions — to First Beach.

Once there, I walked for a while, sipped for a while, watched girls little and big enjoy water and waves for a while. Then I plopped myself down on the sand (on a towel) and settled into some sort of semi-snooze state. Not even caffeine can keep me from drifting into that warm, semi-oblivious, where-does-the-time-go, quintessentially beachy state of mind ...

So I was half-asleep, with my ear to the sand, amid all the sights, sounds and don't forget smells of summer (ah, seaweed), when I heard the scrunch of footsteps not far from own feet and some sort of riveting conversation about seahorses. Red seahorses.

I opened my eyes just in time to see the seahorses in question walk past in the company of three (count 'em, three) pairs of short shorts. The seahorse-wearer was rising to the occasion of those teasing him by saying, "I have another pair. Light blue with green turtles. But they have a big hole in the crotch ... "

Excuse me?!? What a thing to say in mixed company.

Then again, I guess it's no big deal. One must relax (stay cool? go with the flow?) about such things. 'Tis the season ...

Monday, June 6, 2011


I was just minding my business — riding my bike on a sunny afternoon along that road (inexplicably called Lakeview) behind Belcourt Castle — when I stopped short at the sight of two animals: a raccoon and a cat. They were staring each other down. The cat sat with back to the castle and was looking rather proprietary about it. The 'coon, in the middle of the street, seemed to be weighing his/her options: approach or retreat. It was a tense moment ... broken when both critters were spooked by my squeaky brakes. The raccoon waddled (quickly!) to the nearest storm drain, into which he/she disappeared. The cat slipped behind a brick wall that had seen better days ...

The whole castle had seen better days, I now noticed, so I jumped off my bike for a closer look. I frequently jump off my bike for a closer look at nothing in particular, just whatever strikes my fancy, like fancy rooves, eaves, windows, window grates, door handles (of twisted snakes?). Or nothing fancy at all. Or to marvel at the joys of home/castle ownership and subsequent decay and how maintenance can eat you alive. It's no wonder I don't get too far ...

In any case, when I went to get back aboard my trusty vehicle, which I'd dumped by the side of the road, I couldn't do it, because there was the 'coon. The two of us stood for thirty seconds or so, staring each other down, pondering approach or retreat — at least that's what I was pondering — then he/she waddled off to the closest tree. Whereupon I hopped (quickly!) on my bike and was just starting to pedal away when I spied the cat. He'd come back. And was staring me down. At which point I was pretty creeped out ...