I think I should just give up and go back to a typewriter, or better yet, a pen and quill. It would better suit my lifestyle. (I can hear some thinking!)
It is the second Monday of August and people seem to be feeling the end of summer looming in a way they once did not until the end of the month. Schools open earlier, but everyone, impacted by that calendar or not, feels the crunch. Already I have heard references to the season’s end and wanted to scream, “It’s only the start of August!”
It is the end of an only-in-Rhode-Island three-day weekend and the usual rhetoric is on the radio, this inane justification of celebrating victory over Japan — and only over Japan — not even a victory over the Axis Powers, a triad alliance to which Japan was the late comer, and not an end to the hostilities. The holiday in November is now officially Veterans Day, but it remains on the Armistice, Nov. 11, when the guns of WWI, the Great War to end all others, fell silent.
The fill-in talk show host finally offers his own take (which has long been my own): no one is going to give up a summer holiday. There is a fill-in host because, in the ultimate irony, the person who is generally ranting about the disproportionate power of the unions got the day off, just like the state and municipal workers he makes a career of criticizing.
It is not even a widely observed holiday, anymore, beyond state and municipal offices. Another absurdity, last year my visually impaired niece landed at T.F. Green Airport armed with a bus schedule aligned to get her to Galilee and the boat to Block Island. She found RIPTA was on a weekend schedule, which boggles the mind. Fewer busses, especially to South County beaches, on a holiday! I’m surprised they do not close the state beaches!
She is resourceful, my niece who has navigated the public transport systems of Boston, New York City and Ann Arbor, Michigan, and she found she had to re-route, through Providence then back to Wakefield and, finally, Galilee.
A later host defends the holiday with all the requisite lest-we-forget points, excepting that niggling little “detail” of the participation of Europe, the usual “We’d all be speaking German but for...” forgotten on this day. When I was little, that war was not so far behind us and parents still talked of V-E Day; I am not sure I would even know it was — and remains in Europe — in May and not July but for looking it up an August or two ago.
It is, though, yet another beautiful summer day. The dog plays in the yard with the tatters of the discarded rug that was one of her first great finds. She would stick her head through a hole and prance around the yard like a kid with a makeshift Superman cape. The long braid came undone and separated into several pieces, but still she manages to entertain herself with it, dragging the treasure into the house when the door is open. I still get up and go to see whatever it is my noisy girl has hauled in, realizing at the last second it is her tangle of synthetic rope and that she has fooled me yet again.
There are days I have gone up to the Mansion to check on the number of cars; the last time it was, for the first time ever, so badly crowded I was unable to count. Today might well have been another of those days; I met 15 cars coming out on my way back in just before 5 o’clock. The number surely would have been higher but someone pulled over to let me pass, a neighbor I presumed, until I saw not only the car but more importantly the license plate was unfamiliar.
In the short time that driver paused, two more fell in line behind him. I half expected one of them to pass and create a tangle.
But these people were going home, there was none of that frenetic air that surrounds them coming in, rushing to get to that last parking space. The behavior is engrained from the rest of their lives spent on the mainland and there is little point in stopping and telling them “no one can get ahead of you, this is the only way in!”
Nor is there any point in telling people who insist in pulling off Corn Neck Road while I am there waiting to exit that “it’s not a two lane road!” The neighbor drives his big loud truck down the middle but my vehicle is neither high nor noisy and I do not want to get hit [again] so I stick to the right, and hope for the best.
Perhaps I do not find the traffic in town menacing for having run the gauntlet of the Mansion and Neck Road before hitting the mystery of Bridgegate Square.
The grass is getting brown after an oddly long stretch of staying green despite little rain. It is supposed to storm tomorrow, at least according to the weather sites, but it is New England weather; it could all change in a heartbeat.
The flowers of summer are in profusion, the black-eyed Susans falling over the walk are plentiful and the Queen Anne’s Lace continues to line the road. The roads are dusty, in town all the places where too many people walk on the grass are dirt, usually strewn with cigarette butts.
Here, under the trees it is green and a golden dog plays with a tangle of old braid. Here, it is still summertime.