Adam Ezra, Richard Ford, Bob Whear, and Me


This past Saturday night was filled with  karma, magic, and inspiration starting at around four thirty when Bob Whear and his wife, Sherry, checked in. They are fellow innkeepers from Northboro, Maine where they own the Mill Pond Inn on Damariscotta Lake.

Bob is a gregarious teller of tall tales with over thirty years of innkeeping under his belt. We were hungry for war stories and advice but he opened the evening with a classic tale of rock ’n roll debauchery. I could never retell the story as well as he does but let’s just say it involved a seventeen year old boy named Bob Whear who checked into Bob Weir’s room at the Holiday Inn in Providence. Yes, we are talking about The Other One, Bob Weir of the Grateful Dead. Gerry Garcia was there too, along with a table full of contraband and a ride with a roadie in an equipment van to Springfield for the next night’s show. If you ever find yourself traveling up the Maine coast you should spend a night at Bobby and Sherry’s place where you can get the full, unedited version of the story.

The Whears were in Norfolk to see Adam Ezra who was playing at Infinity Hall. Although a large percentage of our guests at the Inn are here to see shows, Rich and I had never been. Bob insisted we join them. “I’ll call and get you on the guest list.” Adam has stayed at his inn several times and they have become good friends.

What can I tell you about Adam Ezra if you’ve never heard his music?

What I immediately loved about him was he is a self-described Jewish hippie with a non-profit organization dedicated to inspiring communities to get involved in grassroots activism and organize socially conscious live music events. At Saturday night’s show everyone brought household goods and small kitchen appliances for the New England Center and Home for Veterans, because yes there are homeless vets in America. Hard to understand how this can be true but sadly it is.

Some of Adam’s music is flat out funny, as in The Devil Came Up To Boston, which is done in a wicked funny Boston accent to the tune of Charlie Daniel’s The Devil Came Down to Georgia with a dash of Dropkick Murphys.

Most of his tunes are honest and real, and his relationship with his fans is personal. The night we saw him he dedicated several songs to folks in the audience, including Hippie Girl for our new friend, Sherry Whear.

Late in the show he told a story about his upcoming 39th birthday and gave an honest assessment of how he feels about where he is in life and where he thought he would be at this point in time when he was a younger man first playing music in Chicago. I recognized the feelings because I wrote words like these that I gave to Sam Ryder in Life Is All This about “The life you hoped to have and the one you ended up living.” 

At the end of the show, Adam jokingly told us, “We’re too lazy to do encores. Ya know, walking off the stage, waiting for the applause, coming back to play again. So these next three songs are the encore.”

The band unplugged, moved close together at the center of the stage and sang three acoustic songs, the last of which was Free Falling by Tom Petty. We knew all the words and we all sounded great. It was a magical moment.

After the show, I had the chance to meet Adam, not in a backstage room with friends of the band but right out in the lobby where he meets with all his fans and sells his CD’s and T-shirts and bumper stickers for whatever you can afford to pay.

He’s embarking on a solo acoustic tour in January, doing a series of house parties. Saturday night I made him an offer I hope he can’t refuse and I’ve since been in touch by email. So stay tuned and let’s keep our fingers crossed.

The magic of the evening didn’t end with the show. On our short ride home, Sherry jokingly told us Bob knows everyone from Northboro to Boothbay and beyond.

Boothbay? Lately, ever since Life Is All This was compared to Richard Ford’s work in an Amazon review I received, I have been obsessed with Richard Ford. So far I have read the first two Bascombe novels, two of his collections of short stories, and just about every interview he’s ever done that I can find on Google. I know he lives in East Boothbay so I throw this out there.

“You don’t happen to know Richard Ford, do you?”

“Yeah, he’s been in my bar.” Besides innkeeping, Bob bartends at a local watering hole.

Later that night I had a hard time falling asleep, my mind racing with ideas on how to get to Boothbay and meet Richard Ford.

The next morning Bob came down early and joined us in the kitchen. He offered tips to Rich on how to fix the griddle top on the big old stove we have, where to get materials for a new counter top, and how to make the best poached eggs. He also requested a signed copy of Life Is All This and is bringing it to his local bookstore. He gave me the owner’s email and I will be contacting her about a possible book reading. Together Bob and I are working on the Richard Ford thing. Again, keep your fingers crossed.

On Saturday night, Adam opened with a song that for me was so evocative of the novels I’ve written and the one I’m writing now about the small cities and towns out here in the Berkshires. It was melancholy, sprinkled with hope. There were open roads, and months and years that flash like fireflies, and miles to go because as long we’re alive we can still dream.

For all of you who still believe in dreams, and chance encounters with strangers, and time to gamble on the life we chase, this song’s for you.

Takin’ Off Today by Adam Ezra:

Walk Like a Robin: An Innkeeper’s Journal

China Cabinet

JUNE 2015: A man from Maine left an invoice in his room for the restoration of a Carroll Thayer Berry painting. While resting my feet, I Google the artist. He is an American painter who grew up in Maine and whose artwork is emblematic of New England, the seacoast in particular. I wonder how much this painting is worth because the repair bill cost $485.

I unpack three of fifty boxes. My Portmeirion tableware is now in the pantry and it looks as good as it did in the corner hutch on River Road. We always refer to the house in New Hampshire where we lived for twenty two years as River Road. My husband the dump picker found the china hutch on the side of the road in Portsmouth. When we sold the house we got a hundred fifty dollars for it at the yard sale. It was definitely one of his better finds, along with the claw foot tub he found on a sidewalk in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Unlike the character in my first novel, The Reverse Commute, I never did get to take a bath in that tub.

Folding sheets, my mind wanders and once again I break protocol. We start bickering.

“How many times have we gone over this? You need to follow the procedure.”

“What procedure? It’s only sheets.”

While making the beds we have another sheet argument. It takes us three tries to find a King sheet. The closets were a disorganized mess when we got here and I thought I had it all straightened out but nothing was labeled and I mistook a few Kings for Queens. Just a few.

Rich snaps a flat sheet over the bed. I reach for my end when he realizes the top of the sheet is at the bottom of the bed. He grabs it with an impatient, aggravated attitude. I ignore him. Apparently making beds is his least favorite chore.

The Inn is empty tonight. No breakfast tomorrow so we will be sleeping in.

I wake up feeling great. The best I’ve felt since my untimely meeting with a pothole. I was hoping for good news at my doctor’s appointment but Vinnie, the very handsome physician’s assistant, told me I had to wear the boot.

“Or would you rather be in a cast?“ he asked.

I opted for the boot. Defeated, I limped and clomped my way out of the office. Vinnie told me I have at least four more weeks of this misery.

Pulling into the driveway at the Inn, I am laid low by the thought of all the stairs. I was getting around so much better without the damn boot. I take it off, drop onto the couch, and ice my aching feet.

My daughter in Denver sends a text asking for some cash for essential things she needs such as Trader Joe’s facial cleanser. She is afraid she won’t find these things out here in the wilderness when she joins us for the summer, and she is right. I send her fifty dollars on my phone through Square Cash and receive a message asking to verify the transaction with the three digit number on the back of my debit card.

My pocketbook with the debit card is back in the kitchen, up three steps. The journey there seems to me like a trip across the Mojave. Rich has gone up to the second floor to shower. I just asked him for my cell phone and my laptop. My cell phone battery is on red. My laptop is at five percent. After I finish this financial transaction, I want to read the Kindle on my MAC and drift off to sleep. I feel like crying.

Rich checks our guests in. A man’s flight from Houston was delayed which caused a chain reaction so he won’t be here until eight. When he arrives Rich upgrades him to a larger room and gives him info for Mario’s Tuscany Grille, the only restaurant open until ten. I am exhausted and laid low by the day’s set back. The boot is kicking my ass.

The next day I am at the office desk, a bookkeeper once again. I need to balance five months worth of bank statements. Listening to Gregory Alan Isakov on Pandora I am reminded of Sam and Elizabeth in my third novel, Life Is All This.

That season came in quiet with the rain
Loving you was just like Raising Cain
It was strong and bound for glory
And cursed with a thousand stories

Like Sam and Elizabeth’s story, I think most marriages are cursed and blessed with a thousand stories.

In the afternoon we once again retire to our screened-in porch to veg out. We are exhausted. Robins skip across the yard eating worms, taking three or four hops, then stopping to lift their head, stretch their neck, look around, then hop, hop, hop, they start their dance all over again. I point this out to Rich.

“That’s what you need to do from now on. Walk like a robin, always on the lookout for trouble.”

I agree. From now I will walk like a robin.

Norfolk Porch

LAUNDRY: An Innkeeper’s Journal


JUNE 2015: At the same time each morning the former innkeeper drives past our kitchen window while Rich cooks up the apple smoked bacon or sausage.

“There goes Michael,” he says.

I feel like we are living in a sitcom, a sequel to the Bob Newhart show. What this really is though is the sequel to my first novel, The Reverse Commute. I am Sophie and Rich is Ray but we are not running a B&B in the Islands. The locals fondly refer to the town we live in as The Icebox of Connecticut.

The laundry room is filled with lots of things guests leave behind. One black stiletto shoe, a black bubble ski parka, two pairs of men’s suit pants, headphones for an IPod, a black lacy bra, a leopard print umbrella, and numerous orphaned socks. The suit pants are too large. The ski parka is too eighties. The lacy bra is too small. The headphones are just right so I keep them and the umbrella and chuck the rest.

I am skiing over moguls of white sheets and towels, swiveling from washer to dryer, aware of the possibility of rolling my ankles. The back door is open to a cool morning breeze which carries the hymns of baritones singing in the church across the street. As I fold towels and stack them in neat piles on top of the dryer the sound of voices raised in song is something like a meditation.

Rich tosses a soft red blanket onto the dirty pile of white sheets on the floor. It looks like a deer hunter’s fresh kill on newly fallen snow.

“Why are we washing that?”

“You know the couple in the Lincoln room? The wife was a babe? They didn’t sleep under the covers. They spread the throw over the comforter and slept on top of it.”

“How do you know that?”

“The bed was still made and there are some stains on the throw. I think they got some action last night.”

Eeeeww. I forgot about having to deal with that. Words that come to mind are fecal matter, shit stains, menstrual flow, pus, vaginal discharge, cum, jizz, urine.

I don’t look too close, just aim the Shout gun at the area, drenching it with stain remover. Almost everything comes out in the wash although the rag pile grows.
We provide two dark brown facecloths in each room along with packets of makeup remover and a note to our guests to please not use the white towels for removing makeup. Most people follow directions, although a good amount do not. Shout doesn’t always get the makeup off. There are a large amount of towels in the rag pile that are victims of foundation, bronzers, blush, and lipstick. If you have any cleaning tips, please send them my way.

We fold the laundry, still struggling with the sheet sizes because not all sheets are labeled. Former innkeepers have used an indelible marker to write a K or a Q on the washing instructions tag but the label is not always correct. We have learned to measure by wing span. Rich is a King. I am a Full. We have one full bed but we have several full sheets so we also use them on the two twins because the twins need College Xtra Long and we only have regular size twin sheets. Nothing is simple here at the Inn.

I am doing laundry like a Chinese washerwoman. Fourteen loads a day on a busy weekend. I find myself Googling Chinese laundries and come across a blog that tells the story of the history of laundry B.C., Before Chinese.

Despite Dr. Rich’s orders to rest my ankles, I help make beds. One of the rooms needs a new pillow.

“Check the matelasse closet,” I tell him.

“The what?”

“The matelasse closet. Those bedspreads I thought were mattress covers? It’s quilted bedding, all one color but the quilting gives the spread a raised design.”

“Hmm, matelasse.”

An image comes to mind. I see Rich behind the podium on Jeopardy. I share out loud my wandering thoughts.

“You’re playing against two other guys, and you answer a question about bedspreads. ‘What is matelasse, Alex?’ The other two guys look over thinking, who the hell is this guy?”

Rich picks right up on my train of thought. “Yeah, then I say, I’ll take Victorian bedding for one thousand, Alex.”

“All across America guys are sitting in their recliners watching Jeopardy and saying who the fuck is this guy?”

“Alex says, ‘an embroidered round cloth found on bedside tables.’ I hit my buzzer first and answer, ‘What is a doily, Alex?’”

Days later if I think about this conversation, hysterical laughter is guaranteed to overcome me.

In the early afternoon, in the short amount of time between cleaning rooms and checking in guests, I retire to the screened-in porch to read a book. The back door to the laundry room is open and I can hear the sound of towels tumbling in the drier, the whirr of sheets spinning in the washing machine, the gush of the rinse cycle. Across the backyard the smell of clean laundry drifts my way.

Why Go Fund Me Matters

There has been a lot of action on the Internet regarding Go Fund Me. Talk of people abusing the system. Brides asking for money to help pay for their weddings but no wedding invitation is forthcoming. Other folks want to take a trip to Europe or buy a new car. Supposedly some people are receiving these requests on a daily basis.

According to a piece I read in the N.Y. Times the writer received the following plea from a woman who needed help with legal expenses for her divorce: “My life — the innocent, carefree life which I had known, and the blissful happy life of hopes and dreams shattered overnight. Instead of partaking of gourmet meals and donning my kalla/bridal trousseau, chaos and turmoil, sprinkled with vicious gossip became my daily food and clothing.”

Then there was the wealthy best-selling chick lit author married to some multimillionaire banking tycoon who set up a Kickstarter account to help fund her dream of writing a cookbook, Good Taste: Good Food. Good Life.


Maybe it’s the people I hang around with, or possibly the middle class life I lead in the 21st century where health costs have skyrocketed and pensions have disappeared, but I have never received a GoFundMe request like these. I am writing this blog in between serving breakfast and making beds and cleaning toilets at the Inn where my husband and I work and live for free because we are trying to reduce our monthly nut and possibly save some money to retire by seventy, if we live that long.

This has been my experience with GoFundMe:

The first request I received was from my daughter’s dear friend Robbie McCluskey’s family. He had been paralyzed from a skateboarding accident and was now a quadriplegic at the age of twenty one. I knew Robbie well. He hung around our house quite often during my daughter’s high school years. This is a young man who spent his summers working at a camp for kids with cancer.

Not long before his accident, I was in Denver visiting my daughter at college when Robbie passed through town on a road trip. While my daughter was in class, Robbie and I spent an afternoon watching back to back episodes of Sons of Anarchy, eating Kraft macaroni and cheese and chocolate chip cookies, and drinking a beer or two. I asked him what it was like working at the camp and he told me you learn a lot about life when you meet an eight year old who might not be returning next summer.

Robbie is a fighter and is now able to walk with the help of arm braces. He overcame what seemed to be the impossible but he has a long road ahead of him. Both his parents work full time and have health insurance which Robbie qualifies for because he is not yet twenty six. However, some of the most helpful therapies are not covered by his parents’ insurance. This is the world most of us live in, so they have set up a GoFundMe account which you can find here.

The second request I received came almost a year later from a friend I have known for years. We had drifted apart due to busy lives and distance until I ended up in a cubicle in her hometown, sitting for health insurance as I called it, working on having a nervous breakdown, and finding my way out of it by writing my first novel. We would occasionally meet for drinks, far less frequently than we should have looking back on it, and commiserated about life, love, and work. She had a job at a similar company but was a much more cheerful cubicle dweller than I ever was. Although, as we both agreed, the fact she had a window might have made a difference.

While I  was moving around from Florida then Connecticut to run the Inn we kept in touch on Facebook. One day I noticed I hadn’t seen her posts in awhile. I went to her page to check in and discovered she had been in the hospital for five weeks. On a beautiful summer day she found herself gasping for breath and was rushed to the hospital where after dozens of blood transfusions and tests they discovered she had a rare form of melanoma that was internal and was attacking her arm and shoulder. She underwent surgery to have the arm and shoulder amputated. She is now undergoing six weeks of radiation and kicking cancer’s ass.

This is a woman who has a good job and health insurance although I am not sure of the status of either at this point in time. She’s been through a rough couple of months and she has a battle ahead of her but her optimism and fighting spirit is an inspiration to all who know her. Her friends and family have set up a GoFundMe account which you can find here.

It’s unfortunate some people have taken to the World Wide Web to raise money for vacations or a new house or a cookbook they could afford to finance on their own, either that or try to live within their means which is what most of us do. I don’t know these people. The people I know and have supported through GoFundMe were embarrassed to ask for help but their fight for the decent healthcare they need made them swallow their pride.

They too would like to return to their blissful happy lives of hopes and dreams that were shattered overnight. They work hard. They are not takers, they don’t drive pink Cadillacs, or buy expensive seafood with food stamps as some people would have you believe.

My experience with GoFundMe has led me to understand it is a community of people whose country’s safety net has failed them. I don’t know what your experience is. You either know what I’m talking about or you’ve never walked down this road in these shoes, in which case you might not give a shit. There are a lot of things on the Internet we all ignore. Pop-ups, cookies, endless emails to buy something or Vote for Me. Possibly even the challenge to pour a bucket of ice over your head.

The problem here is that people who use this fundraising tool to further their own discretionary hopes and dreams are distracting us from the real problem. Why is it that in the land of plenty there are thousands of hard working people who need help paying their medical bills? That should be the topic we are discussing. That is the blog that needs to go viral. And in the meantime, when you receive a request like this from a friend or a friend of a trusted friend , don’t ignore it because some day it might be you who needs a helping hand. Or as others like to say, there but for the grace of God go I.

Tomato Omelets: An Innkeepers Journal

June 2015: Late last night we were waiting for our last guest to check in. I was on the couch reading the New York Times on my laptop. Florence Welch of the British rock band Florence and the Machine broke her foot last month when she jumped into the crowd at the Coachella Music Festival. She currently performs sitting on a stool singing her hit song….The dog days are over/The dog days are gone.

“I would have preferred to maybe not break my foot,” Florence said. Me too.

I have a feeling our dog days have just begun. I am trying to run an inn with two broken feet: changing rooms, making breakfast, cleaning the dirty kitchen, managing loads and loads of laundry, and unpacking my things so I can finally feel at home. The only thing I can do sitting on a stool is fold sheets. Rich hands me one end, walks backwards from the stool where I sit perched, and we tighten and fold in half and half again, remembering to reverse direction on the fitted sheet.

Tonight’s temperature is forecast to reach thirty degrees. It’s fucking June!! Two and a half years in Florida and we rarely thought about the weather. We put on sandals and headed out the door. Now I don’t own enough sweaters. I thought I wouldn’t have to worry about my wardrobe until September.

Francoise arrives at ten. He is from a small town in France and on a college tour with his son who attends a private school in the area. Yale. Harvard. MIT. Dartmouth. They are all on his list.

“You have a smart one,” Rich says.

“Oui, but it is not without its consequences.”

The moon is sinking below the hundred forty foot hemlocks in the backyard outside our bedroom window. We’re not sure if the temperature has reached thirty degrees but the bed is warm and the sheets are soft.

I am whining. My feet really hurt. I tell Rich I think I am experiencing further damage, that possibly cracks are spreading up my leg bones.

“Yes, that is what happens,” he says. “Cracks begin to spread all along your bones and eventually your bones explode.” He makes a sound like an explosion.

I laugh and ask what kind of omelet he is making tomorrow.

“I don’t know.”

“You should use those tomatoes in the vegetable drawer.”

“I hate tomato omelets.”

“You’re not eating them.” I tell this to the man who once told a customer who wanted to paint her front door purple that she should choose another color because her Christmas wreath wouldn’t look good on a purple door. He convinced her to try burgundy. She hated it and asked him to paint it again. ‘So you had to paint the door twice?” I asked one Saturday when he had to return to her house to repaint the door. I drove by that house often on my way to do bookkeeping for a Portuguese lady who made her own bottled hot pepper sauce and Madeira wine from grapes that grew on an archway over her long driveway. At Christmas time, I noticed Rich’s customer had a purple bow on the wreath on her purple door.

“Why is a tomato a vegetable?“ he asks.

“I don’t know. It’s a plant. Fruit grows on trees. It should be a vegetable, don’t you think?”

He doesn’t hear my answer. He is already snoring.

The next morning breakfast is a whirlwind but the former managers, a brother/sister duo, are a huge help. We are lacking in our prep skills. Mushrooms shrink. How did we forget this? Halfway through breakfast we run out of them and Holly suggests a tomato omelet. Rich stubbornly makes a spinach and feta.

Three ladies from Brooklyn are here on a girls weekend. Two of the women want yogurt parfaits with no honey, just a sprinkle of granola, and fruit on the side. Rich comes through the swinging kitchen door slowly as it is about to fall off its hinge and is on his to-do-list. He gives me their order as I am in charge of yogurt parfaits and adds, “They’re a couple of Meg Ryans.” We have watched When Harry Met Sally at least a hundred times so I know what he is talking about.

After the breakfast rush is over, he asks Mike and Holly if they want something to eat. They both order tomato omelets and tell us a story of their most demanding guest.

“He was pulling an Art Garfunkel,” Rich says, ignoring the fact that he just made a tomato omelet.

Angels: An Innkeeper’s Journal

Memorial Day Weekend: A week before the holiday the former innkeeper’s wife, a spiritual medium, hosted a seance at the Inn. We left to visit friends on Cape Cod. When we returned she told us the event was a huge success and the house was now full of good angels.

Another tribe of angels are arriving tonight. Not seance angels but good angels nonetheless. They are biker angels, the bicycle kind of bikers, participating in a bike-a-thon for Paul Newman’s Hole in the Wall camp.

A group of motorcycle bikers did call later in the afternoon to ask if we had four rooms available. I have only one room, the room a girl from Manhattan just released because she couldn’t work out transportation to the Inn. I suggest they try the only other inn in the area that I am aware of. A half hour later, a German woman who runs a different inn across town calls and tells me the bikers are at her place now and must have TV.

“They can’t live without TV for one night. Can you imagine?” She lowers her voice and says in an ominous tone, “They are driving Harleys.” I tell her I just spoke to them and I have no TVs in my rooms either.

The Hole In The Wall angels arrive with teenagers who need air mattresses. Rich runs around blowing them up.

Saturday morning the angels are out the door early. The driveway alarm that alerts us to the comings and goings of our guests starts ringing at six a.m. Rich promised three women yogurt parfaits so he heads downstairs. Normally we do not offer breakfast before eight thirty so last night we set up a help yourself breakfast for the angels in the small lounge where guests can have a glass of wine in the evening. Cereal, granola bars, apples, and bananas. Still Rich is getting up early to make yogurt parfaits.

“I have to stop offering things people don’t even ask for,” he says. “I’m offering to make fires and yogurt parfaits before they even think of it.”

The boot sends a stabbing pain up the back of my calf. I move much better with just an ace bandage. I know I’m not doing what the doctor ordered but I have decided to listen to my body and my screaming calf muscle which is shouting, “Get me the hell out of this thing.”

Rich helps me down the stairs each morning. I hold onto the railing with one hand and his arm with the other, stepping lightly and cautiously. Over on the Inn side of the house the large, ornate staircase makes a turn and the stairs narrow to my left so two thirds of the way down we switch places, square dancing our way to the living room. All around your left hand lady. Veer left. Veer right. Bow to your partner.

Tuesday’s guests are from Brazil. The morning they check out, I am caught resting my feet on the couch in the main room. Thinking nothing of it they sit down and join me. We discuss New England weather, my unfortunate mishap, and my daughter who is coming to help this summer. She is a hospitality management major at Johnson & Wales University in Denver. The older woman tells me she and her husband are hospitality professors at a university in Sao Paulo. Strange coincidences like this often happen to me. Unimaginative negative reviewers on Amazon would say it is contrived. I say you can’t make this shit up.

Mrs. Hospitality Prof says, “Your daughter will be able to help you with easy tricks of the trade but the hospitality, you and your husband are already very good at it. You are naturals.”

We need to buy a dryer today. We have a three hundred dollar budget. At thirty loads on a busy weekend we are concerned the dryer will only last a year. The owner of the Inn says that’s not true. The thirty loads part. I wait in the car and talk to a friend while Rich goes into Lowe’s. Riding the cart at BJ’s was fun but I don’t feel the need to navigate the aisles of a big box home improvement store with the additional hazard of forklifts and their backup alarms beep beeping.

Late in the afternoon, in another parking lot at the Stop & Shop, my car key won’t work. I just want to get in the car and drive home after limping my way down the aisles of the unfamiliar grocery store searching for honey. Why do some stores put honey in the peanut butter aisle and others have it with the Bisquick and maple syrup? There are no answers to these questions.

My feet ache and I need to sit down. The pain shooting up my right calf is back again. My left foot with the torn metatarsal creates the sensation I am walking across broken glass. Rich is asking someone for a ride back to the Inn so he can get the other set of keys. The guy says he’s not going that way but he’s had this happen to him before and he advises Rich to just keep trying, which he does and it finally works. I can’t help wondering about the seance and the angels who now inhabit the Inn. Is this the way angels work?

Exhausted, we sleep in our bed in our own room for the first time. We haven’t found our pillows yet so we grab some from a linen closet. I am freezing again. “Come on over to the furnace,” Rich mumbles, so I burrow into him and sleep like a child.

Morning Voices: An Innkeeper’s Journal

May 2015

At breakfast a guest tells me about Art Garfunkel and his rules for last night’s evening of entertainment. The theater usually serves drinks and dinner just before the show starts. The concertgoers are always “very respectful”, she said. “No one is loud or obnoxious but Art Garfunkel banned us from eating and drinking.They sent an email prior to the show to let us know no one was allowed to leave their seats, not even to go to the bathroom.”

A cell phone rang during Sounds of Silence. An embarrassed elderly man apologized for his forgetfulness but despite that Art Garfunkel “had a hissy fit and walked off the stage only to quickly return and lecture the audience on the fact there should be nothing more important than listening to the music he was sharing,” my guest said. “He humiliated that poor old guy. So I got up and went to the bathroom.”

“Did you leave after that?” I asked.

“No, of course not. I mean I understand the whole cell phone thing but he can’t make bathroom rules like that. Besides, he should have handled the cell phone thing a little more tactfully. I hope they mention his pompous attitude in the Hartford Courant review.”

I like her feisty attitude and notice she is reading a book by Sue Monk Kidd, a writer in my genre, so I pitch my latest novel, Life Is All This, then give her my card and she tells me she will Like me on Facebook.

Back in the kitchen, Rich says, “You have to learn to use your morning voice.” I tell him I don’t think enthusiasm is a bad thing, especially for an innkeeper and a writer trying to sell one book at a time.

A fly fisherman and his friend, here to fish the Farmington River, check in late in the afternoon. After bringing their bags to their room, Rich joins them on the front porch and they share their beers with him. An hour later, he returns to our side of the house to tell me their story.

“They’ve played semi-pro all over the world. Basketball,” then caught himself using that broken English French Canadians use, mixing up their nouns and verbs, so he repeated it because he loves the way it sounds. This time he makes it one sentence and puts the emphasis on “ket”.

“They played all over the world bas-ket-ball.”

In the morning they are the first ones down to breakfast and Rich tells them about Art Garfunkel.

“Unbelievable!” the basketball player turned fisherman shouts. “I kinda thought he was like that. He’s nobody without Paul Simon, you know what I mean? NO BODY. UN-BE-LIEVABLE.”

When Rich returns to the kitchen to make the guy’s mushroom spinach omelet, I say,
“Wow, that guy is loud. I should be married to him, then I wouldn’t have to learn to use my morning voice. We could just shout and laugh all day.”

Last night some of our clothes made it into our closets. Toiletries found their way to our bathroom. My skin is crying out for moisturizer.

My feet are dark blue and I am getting nervous about my appointment on Tuesday and what the doctor will tell me. Last week when I asked if we would see improvement next week, he said, “No, we are looking for no further damage.” So I sit on one office chair on wheels and put my ice covered feet on another, hoping they don’t roll apart.