Monday, October 15, 2012
Here I am again.
Here’s a quick rundown of some stuff we did on vacation:
1 – Saw Bob Newhart in concert.
2 – Got licked by a goat.
3 – Came face-to-face with close to a ton-and-a-half of angry pot roast.
4 – Transported a bug across state lines.
5 – Had oysters on the half shell for breakfast.
6 – Hit the lottery three times.
7 – Got lost in Amesbury.
8 – Had a stranger rub my naked body with oil.
9 – Took a subway to an island.
Ah, hell, I can’t think of a tenth thing right now, but the first nine are enough to whet your appetite, right? If not, you’re pretty damn jaded.
There will be some photos, but I can’t vouch for their quality. I’m a rotten photographer. Those that I steal from elsewhere will probably be decent.
MY WIFE may remember one or two things in a slightly different fashion than I do. In other words, she will remember them incorrectly. I will, however, offer her a chance to read the things I’ve written and I may insert her re-imaginings as I’m in the mood.
I will tell you about some of the things listed – those that I think I can squeeze a stand-alone 1500 words out of without need to prop them up with some other event - in the coming days. Right now, I’ll give you the general outline of where we went and what we did while we were there.
A week ago last Thursday, we started our vacation by driving to Portsmouth, New Hampshire. It’s a lovely little seaside community not too far over the northern border from Massachusetts. New Hampshire has the smallest amount of coastline of any of the states that HAS a coastline – eleven miles, as I recall. If it’s a bit more, my apologies to the tourism folks up there. In any case, you see the “Welcome To New Hampshire” sign, the person you’re driving with says, “Oh, look, there’s the ocean!”, and then you’re in Maine.
(If Maine and Massachusetts worked together, to purchase New Hampshire’s section of Route One, they could cut out the middleman. This would save some pot smokers from a whole bunch of confusion since the evil weed is decriminalized in those two states but not in the state whose motto is “Live Free Or Die”. As MY WIFE points out, Maine is the only one of the three that seems to have thought the whole thing through since they decriminalized dope and then slapped an extra tax onto snack foods. However, I digress, mightily, and I’m disgustingly stone-cold sober at the moment, oddly enough.)
We really like Portsmouth. It’s small enough to be totally accessible in every way, nothing is more than a mile from anything else, it has the sort of liberal atmosphere that even a crusty semi-conservative-libertarian such as myself can enjoy (tattoos cover more skin in Portsmouth than just about any other place in America, I think, and nobody would look askance at you if you strolled downtown wearing a mini-skirt, a shaven head, rattlesnake boots, and “I Like Ike” shaven into your chest hair while walking your pet ferret), yet is large enough and politically incorrect enough to attract old-timers such as Bob Newhart to perform there.
Bob is still a hoot at age 83. Except for one piece in his act where he pretends to be a driving instructor, he comes on stage and performs actual stand-up for about 90 minutes; that is to say, he’s on his feet for the entire show, which at his age is enough in itself to garner respect. He tells stories and jokes, of course, and then intersperses a few film clips from earlier in his career (along with live narration), and throws in a few bits of good-natured racism and sexism just to keep everyone on their toes, lest you start to slip into a mindset where you begin to think of him as some sort of harmless grandpa on stage. He still has some edge to his work, I’m happy to report. His only real concession to age is that he does very short tours. His entire itinerary for this jaunt consisted of Portsmouth, Boston, and then on to Vermont, where he is no doubt lionized beyond belief due to his one-time TV role as a somewhat incredulous and befuddled Vermont innkeeper. Seeing a living legend was a very enjoyable start to our vacation.
So, that takes care of number one on the list. I think I’ll tell you about number five next, then leave the other seven things to your imagination until tomorrow, the next day, and maybe the day after (although, knowing the sorts of things you’re capable of imagining, by the time I get around to really telling you about them, you will no doubt have made them into something entirely salacious and rude. If YOU told ME that you were licked by a goat, I’d do the same, so I can’t say that I blame you.)
The raw oysters for breakfast were part of a magnificent Sunday Brunch served at the amazingly swanky Wentworth-By-The-Sea.
As discussed earlier, New Hampshire has only so much seacoast. This huge joint takes up about half of it. Believe me, the photo doesn’t do the subject justice. It’s a very large old-fashioned resort hotel, festooned with tennis courts and gardens, with a golf course on the grounds and maybe a polo field out back, too, although I’m just making that up (I think.) There IS an outdoor wedding chapel, a slew of yachts are docked nearby, and no matter which road you use to approach the hotel you have to cross two bridges so it’s possibly on an island but it may just be an isthmus or perhaps a peninsula depending upon how much you’ve had to drink and which one you’re able to pronounce right at the moment.
The Sunday Brunch is the sort you would expect to find at such a grand old place, full of a wide selection of well-prepared comestibles served by obsequious wait staff. Even if you come into it with some sort of shitty attitude, you’ll be plied with however many mimosas it takes to get you in the right mood. They come with the meal, unlimited. That in itself is enough to sell the thing to most folks, but the buffet of oysters, prime rib, roast pork loin, various exotic vegetables in skillets, swordfish and salmon, the usual classic breakfast items such as bacon, sausage, stuffed French toast, freshly-prepared omelettes, and for all practical purposes an endless array of pastries, breads, tarts, pies, fresh fruit, muffins, bagels, and, uh… I don’t know what I was getting at when I began that sentence, but here we are and I’m hungry again. For what you receive, the cost is a ridiculously low $45 per person. Hell, anyone who hasn’t taken an AA pledge can easily make that up in the mimosas alone. The rest is gravy, except for the things I described above which aren’t.
Tomorrow I think I’ll tell you about the goat. Or maybe Bubba, the angry pot roast. Or maybe both. In any case, drink up and I’ll be back.
Soon, with more better stuff.