Big news week here! In deference to the federal government’s recent shut-down, Chappy has also suspended all government activities. All employees have been furloughed until further notice. This will hit the seagulls particularly hard as they depend on their weekly paycheck for dropping mollusks on the hoods of Mercedes. But we must all do our part.
I hesitate to mention this next observation as, being a friend to the fauna, I am loathe to announce their presence to those that might wish them harm ... but I saw 13 deer on the golf course this past Sunday at dusk. That’s a big family even by Chappy standards (but perhaps even deer aren’t immune to the drop-by relatives). I saw them before they saw me, so I was able to eavesdrop on their gathering before they discovered the interloper. They all did, however, scatter into the woods after some deer squinting revealed my form on the hill above them — all but one (I call him Peter). Peter was a buck (even a non-hunter like myself knows enough that antlers betray the sex), and not the most responsible male figure of the group. He remained, head down, chewing on something, long after family and friends had vanished into the woods. Eventually, three deer emerged from the edge of the brush (“pssst, Peter. Hey, Peter. PETER!), and Peter, suddenly realizing that he was all alone with just his thoughts, bolted to join his hidden comrades. I suspect that Peter may be the new dad that forgets his kid in the stroller at the coffee shop as he merrily strolls down Main street with his to-go latte. Oh, Peter.
Chappy is a quiet place by most estimations, which allows for a fair amount of reflection. Untethered to the mental demands of dodging traffic or determining exactly who ate your yogurt from the office fridge, one has ample time to let one’s thoughts wander the corridors of mind and memory. This is mostly great. But sometimes this opportunity for idle reflection can become burdensome for those with whom one resides. Memories that roll in like the tide may be fascinating to oneself, but less so to the person next to you on the couch. So what does one do with all this excess thought when the immediate audience has lost interest in this marvelous minutiae? One takes his show on the road! And over the years, and the past few weeks, I have often been the fortunate recipient of these unsolicited stories. I guess I just happen to be in the right place at the right time. Plus, I must exude from my being that I will not turn away from any conversation — be it from neighbor or homeless person at Columbus Circle. But, in sincerity, there is a real fortune in listening to these unexpected tales. What may be old hat to the grandkids or spouse, most times are intriguing and thought provoking to these virgin ears. The largest population of my personal storytellers are aged north of 60, so there is some real breadth and depth of experience in those memories. And usually, they’ve distilled this experience into four or five really good and memorable stories. So I’m the benefactor of this editing — getting only the best of the best. This is not to paint myself as the most patient soul up on Chappy — I clearly am not — but I’ve found that forcing myself to listen enriches both the storyteller and me.
Finally, I would like to encourage all comers to participate in this Sunday’s Crow Cup at the Royal and Ancient Chappaquiddick Links. The fabled and much-coveted Cup is up for grabs, though I highly doubt that there is sufficient skill in the golfing population to wrest it from these owner’s hands. The tournament starts at 2 p.m. Refreshments will be served with a small ceremony to follow at the Big Camp. Is it free? Of course not! But it won’t cost you much more than a sea bass with a fennel and sparrow marrow balsamic reduction. And this may be the very last chance ever to possess the Cup. You may respond to my email at firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested. Game on.