Good Men

For a few luxurious days, we’ve run away and are hiding in a bungalow on the shores of Martha’s Vineyard, an island seven miles off the coast of Cape Cod.

The population swells in the summer months, lured by beautiful New England beaches and an easy down home style. Generations of families share bungalows and beach houses, participating in lobster roll socials, riding rusty bicycles with baskets for toting groceries, and have little compunction taking a nap on a lazy afternoon with a tattered yellowed paperback like ‘Catcher in the Rye’, resting on a table beside them.

The best of the houses are weather beaten to a warm shingled silvery gray, with porches crowded with worn wicker chairs, a flag fluttering over the front stoop and a garden overflowing with brilliant blue hydrangeas.

Yesterday we crossed Narragansett Bay in a ferry encased in a cool, deep, fog.
The captain sounded a foghorn intermittently, a bleak call into the misty void, a warning and a plea.
Does the captain really know where we’re going?

Sometimes we realize how vulnerable we are. None of us can ever see what is up ahead, we just blunder forth, as if we can.

Anyway. The good captain led his sorry flock to shore, and now we’re a world away from the angst of work, commuting, power outages (again), and the day-to-day routine that sometimes blinds us to the goodness we’re surrounded with all the time.

I took a long walk this morning along West Chop where three infamous men, the best of friends and long time summer residents of Martha’s Vineyard, used to walk together and share many spirited conversations. I can only imagine the stories they shared, about their work, the state of the world, and the goodness and blessings of their long lives.

All three brilliant men, known to each other as ‘The Blues Brothers’, suffered from the darkness of soul wrenching depression, yet achieved more than most of us ever even imagine for ourselves.

Art Buchwald, the beloved satirist with the Washington Post, at one point was syndicated to 500 papers around the world and wrote 30 books.

Mike Wallace was a journalist known for his thought provoking commentary on the big topics of the day over many years with 60 Minutes.

William Styron, was a Pulitzer Prize winning author of ‘The Confessions of Nat Turner’, about a slave rebellion in the 1800’s. He’s probably best known for Sophie’s Choice, about a woman who survived Auschwitz. Clearly he was a man undeterred by tough subjects.

Three friends…on a similar intellectual trajectory. Sharing their way through the challenges and triumphs of life.
Life would be colorless without friends.

Last weekend, it was Jim’s turn to host the annual get together of the ‘Gusto Club’, three close friends from High School and College for a weekend of golf, good food, and scintillating conversation.

These four men, including my husband, are wildly successful, but more than that, they are good men, with bright, curious minds, a passion for people, our world, family, and honoring the bond of a friendship forged over decades of sharing in life’s triumphs and heart breaks, loves and losses.

When these men are together they speak of God, morals, society, cultures and peoples. They are alive to what is compelling about life and share an innate curiosity that is rare. If they met you, they would sincerely want to know what forces have sculpted you into who you are.

These are men who talk deep and long into the night, bonded by love, commitment, and verisimilitude.

A rarity, I know.

How much better life is if we are fortunate and dedicated enough to make the journey with life long friends.

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2 Responses to Good Men

  1. Natalie says:

    OMG, Perry, I am surprised our paths didn’t cross:-). I just came from MV:-). Have been spending most of my weekends this summer there…what a beautiful serene place…Love your bicycle and hydrangea comments, so true:-). You didn’t mention clunker cars, lol…So typical… My bike was from 50ties, but such a comfy seat, I must say… They don’t come that comfy anymore…Enjoy your stay and check out Love Cafe for breakfast, if you haven’t been there! Alchemy, Atlantic grill for lunch, dinner are great…Hope you get to sail to Chappy or around and motor boat…Big hug, N:-)

  2. alan says:

    Hi Perry. That was a touching commentary; I really stopped and had to think a bit, it made me smile thinking of friends talking long into the night. Thanks.

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