Tuesday, August 23, 2011

My heart is wrapped in ice

Meadow Island

I’m away in Massachusetts, which allows all of my habits to drift away—good in some ways, bad in the others. Whenever I’m spending time with family I have this tendency to allow guilt to settle down around my shoulders, to believe that I should be doing more for them, with them. It’s mainly guilt that I live so far away from the people I love. There’s also an element of feeling like I’m back to civilization. There are restaurants and stores on every block, sometimes two restaurants in one mini-mall. In the County, I have to drive 24 miles for the nearest egg roll, and fifteen for a diner.

So today we stopped for lobster bisque, and if you’re ever along the southern edge of the Cape, you absolutely must stop for the world’s greatest bisque, at Vell’s. Each bite is like heaven on the spoon. So much lobster is in each bowl, that legend has it the meat from an entire claw was once found at the bottom. I haven’t lived here in years, and not very long then, but parts of it still feel like home—the broiled schrod and stuffed seafood casserole on the menu, the Keno, the cranberry bogs stretching out along the highway.

There are the good parts of civilization, and then the bad. The bad is cable television, so tonight I’m catching up on my Anthony Bourdain, and oddly enough, his feature is Maine. It’s funny how some place looks so much more authentic on television, even when I’ve been living in it for six months now. The people look sexier, the food more delicious, the destinations exotic.

Bourdain featured a restaurant outside of Portland, down east, where everything they serve comes from animals and vegetables grown right on site. They slaughter their hogs and use everything, nose to tail. It looks delicious, and is exactly the kind of thing I’d like to be capable of doing (in ten years). But even that carries the gloss of the screen, when I know the reality is much less sexy, much more hard work. I guess it’s good to be able to look through the eyes of an outsider every once in a while, whether here or there.

7 comments:

wfrenn said...

test

wfrenn said...

Dear Melissa,
As Hurricane Irene bears down on the Bahamas, I know your thoughts must go to Secret and the time you spent on Crooked/Aiklin Islands. Some of your best pictures and posts came from your description of the people there. I know you are glad you got Secret out in time, though it is no down a mixed feeling.
I hope the lovely Atlantic coastal houses "K" worked on installing SS rigging porch railings remain intact.
Do you have any thoughts to share?

The Capt'n

Melissa said...

My thoughts and prayers definitely were with Crooked Island over these last days--especially after I heard the eye went directly over Landrail Point. I have emails out to my Bahamian friends, but I haven't heard word of Secret yet. Her buyer, however, doubts that she made it through the storm. Last night I dreamt of a schooner sinking into the ocean--make of that what you will.

wfrenn said...

I thought the buyer--a Norwegian, I believe--had removed Secret from the Bahamas. Was Secret located in the Bahamas during Hurricane Irene? I hope not. . . .

The Capt'n

Melissa said...

The buyer was Norwegian, but he left Secret in the Bahamas as a place to get away and sail in the Caribbean. I haven't heard any word from the island as of yet.

wfrenn said...

Melissa,
Please let us know when you hear how Secret did in Hurricane Irene. She forms a strong bookend to your blog.

The Capt'n

Melissa said...

Hi Capt'n,

I haven't heard anything definitive yet. The buyer is supposed to be heading down soon, but I don't think anyone's actually been down to French Wells where the boat was anchored. Our Bahamian friend had his fishing boat on land and it was driven across the road into his lawn, so that doesn't bode well, and it doesn't bode well for anyone getting down there soon. I'm trying not to act as if Secret is the most important thing, either. I'd love to have news, but the homes and livelihood of my friends there are a higher priority.

I'll let you know as soon as I hear something for sure...

M.