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Volume 40 Issue 21 • Sept 30 - mid-Nov., 2010, now in our 40th season

A Short Note About a Couple of Things

by Robert P.Barsanti

A sheet of paper had been placed in the center of a well-made double bed.  The Friday afternoon sun caught it and burnt it orange.  The note had been written in his crabbed, tight, precise script, where every capital letter fell back into a few degrees of the horizontal.  However, in spite of the blank sheet and the wild dips of his letters, the sentences aligned on an engineer’s songline.


Your mother and I are glad that you have taken a few days away from your work.  Must be nice.

As you have already seen, there is a six-pack of beer in the indoor refrigerator and a bottle of wine in the vegetable shelf where your mother thinks it is hidden.  Please replace whatever you drink.

I put a bottle opener on the wall near the trashcan.  You can leave the hammer in the shed this time.

You’ll have to start the hot water heater.  If the pilot light is out, I have left some old newspaper near the back door.  Remember to be quick.

If you bring a friend, remind her that the plumbing runs on “Boat rules.”

Your mother suggests that you might break a branch of bayberries and put it in the bathroom.  There is also a candle in there.  She knows you best.

There are sheets for yours and your brother’s bed in the hall closet.  I think one might be of Star Wars.  Don’t be ashamed of the boy you once were.

There are many things I prefer not to know.  Make sure that continues.

Your mother suggests that you should go out to the beach at night and see the stars.  Now that the fog is gone, she thinks it should be a good show.  You might pick up some of the fallen wood from the yard and burn it out on the beach.  The moon won’t mind.

The electric heat smells bad (like something died) when you turn it on.  Best to leave it off.  The blankets are in the hall closet.  They worked for your grandparents.

If it gets very cold, the woodstove is a wonder.  There are still some split pieces of cordwood left from the last time you cut it three years ago.

If you turn the water on, remember to turn it off and empty the pipes.  Most of the surprises winter leaves are wrapped in mildew and mold.

We took the coffee maker with us, but there is some Sanka on the top shelf.  I had some this summer.  It wasn’t bad.

I left the rods out in case you get the urge to throw a few out into the waves.  The stripers should be coming back down the coast about now and they are always hungry.  Cold water brings them to the surface and they like something flashy.  You should try just as the tide changes.  Or early in the morning.  Dinner swims by.

The lawnmower is in the shed.  The gas is next to it.  If you need a sparkplug, they are in the mason jar on top of the workbench.

Your mother has been trying to shape the holly bush into a heart.  Tell her it looks lovely when you call. She will appreciate the lie.

If you finish painting the east side, remember not to paint the windows shut this time.

Also, you should clean the storm windows before you hang them this year.

Your mother would like to tell you that the pile of seashells and rocks in the back yard aren’t trash but they form a sculpture.  She calls it “found art.”  One man’s trash is his wife’s treasure.

If there is any extra eel grass on the shore, the rose beds would appreciate it.

Please leave the sandals at the end of the path.  We still don’t know who they belong to.

Your mother asks you not to throw the bag full of paperbacks out.  She tore them in half so that she could share them with your aunt, but Melinda hasn’t returned her “halves” yet.  Too clever or too considerate.

The dump has some nice bargains this time of year.  If you find some lawn furniture, the house could use it. I’ll pay you for it later.

You’re welcome to anything in the freezer.  Indeed, It would be great if you ate all of it.  I have no idea what is in there, although there may be some frozen bluefish.  Be careful.

The Hibachi is under the porch.  No one cleans the dishes like Mother Nature.

Your mother has a pet gull that she feeds bread crusts.  It has a red mark on one foot.  Remember to tell her you fed it.  I am sure it can still eat on its own. 

There is 27.52 in change in the coffee jar under the sink.  You can use some of the quarters if you would like, but please write down how many you took.

Your mother would like you to finish the Jardin des Tuilleries jigsaw puzzle in the living room.  She has been having a hard time with the roses and she believes I have stolen some pieces.  I have often told her that she is missing a few.

I stopped the cable right after the Sox lost that doubleheader in Tampa.  The radio works well, especially on a clear night.  Your imagination works even better.

Your brother left us a wonderful set of candles.  If you light them, remember to blow them out.  Your children will thank you.

When you leave, remember to wedge all the windows shut and relock all of the doors.  I would rather the senior class partied in the woods.

On your last morning, please take the camera and walk up the beach to that log where we always have the fires.  Stand on the log and snap one picture.  Think about all of the sweat, talent, and good fortune that led you to that moment and to this weekend.  There may be a moment when you realize how fantastic it all was.  Let’s hope not..

Flush before you leave.”


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