Saturday, February 26, 2011

O CAPTAIN, MY CAPTAIN: OUR BROTHER GEORDIE

I am having many adventures here on the coast of New Hampshire, my childhood home that I'm visiting from L.A. My hotel was out of quarters for the washing machine this morning. Gas is $3.21 a gallon. I have attended Mass at Immaculate Conception.

IMMACULATE CONCEPTION CHURCH
SUMMER STREET, PORTSMOUTH
The sun came up in Bethel, Maine the other morning.


I was in Bethel visiting my friend Ellen, who lives in Cape Elizabeth, outside Portland, and has an annual one-week time-share up in Bethel. She took me for a drive along Sunday River to the old paper mill town of Rumford.

COVERED BRIDGE OVER SUNDAY RIVER
WINTER TEMPERATURES IN MAINE ARE SO LOW
THAT SOUTHERN CALIFORNIANS 
HAVE BEEN KNOWN TO PERISH INSTANTLY
UPON ALIGHTING FROM THEIR CARS
THE SUNDAY RIVER
PENNACOOK FALLS,  COMING INTO RUMFORD
I WOULD NOT HAVE BEEN SURPRISED TO SEE A HARDY "DOWN-EASTER" IN THERE, 
BREAKING THE ICE OF THE ANDROSCOGGIN RIVER HEAD-FIRST
AND TAKING A REFRESHING DIP

RUMFORD
WE WENT TO CARLISLE'S AND ELLEN BOUGHT A TURTLENECK
ADORABLE BARBEQUE SHACK, BETHEL
WE HAD SALMON FOR DINNER
Now I'm back in Portsmouth. Yesterday I took my mother, who has Alzheimer's, to Petey's Seafood for lunch. First I drove her past the cemetery where my father is buried, the house where we lived for 40 years, and the elementary school that all eight of her kids attended, but none of it much registered. She enjoyed the ride anyway--"Isn't the water blue!"--and the lunch, and on the way back to Dover, we met up with my brother Geordie who'd stopped into the Café Kilim in Portsmouth for a coffee.

IS THIS NOT A FINE FIGURE OF A MAN?
Geordie's a commercial fisherman who runs his boat out of the Portsmouth Pier and in some insane, vicarious pride-of-place, I had been loitering about down there for days looking for him: lurking forlornly around his boat, the Ocean Pride III; pestering the other fishermen. We'd been playing phone tag since I arrived, but hadn't yet met up, so to lay eyes on my beloved sibling was a thrill.

Like all my siblings, he is super funny, and a great story-teller, and he also knows more back roads than practically anyone. Yesterday morning it was snowing and he stopped by my hotel, picked me up, and took me for a drive along the coast and around Portsmouth.

THE WENTWORTH, AN OLD-TIME RESORT HOTEL
OFF THE COAST OF NEWCASTLE
THE OLD PORTSMOUTH NAVAL PRISON
LOBSTER TRAPS IN THE SNOW
ONE OF PORTSMOUTH'S ZILLION BEAUTIFULLY
PRESERVED HISTORIC HOMES


THE CAP'N IN FRONT OF HIS FISHING VESSEL,
THE OCEAN PRIDE III
Fishing is a dangerous, and to my mind noble, job. Several years ago, Geordie lost his former boat, the Seawitch, to a rogue wave. Now that really is an adventure.

Here's an NPR story I did at the time that I hope gets something across of how glad we all are that he is still with us.

6 comments:

  1. Beautiful photographs, and as always, beautiful words.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Wonderful, Heather.
    The story you read over at NPR sounded like
    love. It was warm, charitable, tender and harrowing at the same time.
    I know memoir is your choice or writing,
    but you could do a book of wonderful short stories.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I may live in Southern California for now, but by soul resides in the northeast. Our Lord has gifted me a fine cottage on an island off the coast of Portland. I see there is snow but I know that, where there is love, it is never cold. Thanks for sharing your photos of our little corner of heaven on earth.

    Helen

    ReplyDelete
  4. Helen, nice!--a cottage on an island off the coast of Portland...I have always thought that if I had the money, I would love to spend summers on the coast of NH/Maine and winters in L.A. (or maybe Crete or Sicily or the Pyrenees...) There is something about that part of the country that gets in your blood and thankfully stays there no matter where in the world you may be...I hope Owen's tip helped and/or that you're able to spring for a new pair of lenses. But at least it seems you are able to see the photos...thank you...

    ReplyDelete
  5. No longer able to afford a bi-coastal lifestyle, I hope to soon retreat to my island home in Maine. You are welcome to visit when I do. Hot coffee and an old rocking chair await.

    Helen

    PS-Owens tip works great!

    ReplyDelete
  6. Thanks, Helena, I just may you up on that. The Lord knows I love a rocking chair. And I just tried to Ctrl + thing, too--magic!

    ReplyDelete

I WELCOME your comments!!!