Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Well? What do you do in Riverhead while your car is being serviced?

The answer is simple. You leave the Toyota dealership and cross the road, taking your life in your hands as this involves five lanes of aggressive and uneducated traffic (well, it is Riverhead,) vainly pressing the buttons on crossing signals. Then if you reach the far side without being mown down by a 1989 something-or-other (and there are a lot of those in Riverhead,) you have to clamber up a grass bank, cross two hundred feet of parking lot (you may now gather that in this part of Riverhead the pedestrian is not really catered for) and eventually reach the safe haven that is Borders. There, saying a brief prayer to the patron saint(s) of books and good coffee, you order a large cappuccino, find that table by the window, and think.

It has been an interesting week, and to think that it is only Tuesday. The news on Sunday that Stuyvesant Wainwright had died came as no great surprise, but nevertheless filled me with much quiet sadness. I have gentle memories of his Wainscott home. Of lengthy conversations on his terrace; the infamous Wednesday luncheon club; quieter lunches art which ancient Bordeaux wines would sneak in; books; politics; baptizing his grand-child in his garden under a willow tree overlooking the creek off Georgica Pond; wondering just how many pairs of Nantucket red pants hung in his closet, and wishing that all Congressmen, serving and retired, could be as gentlemanly as this man. Stuyvesant died a week shy of his 89th birthday. Rest in peace, my friend. I will miss you. I have the honor of burying your remains on Saturday. I promise to be punctual, quick, and true to your wishes - without any unnecessary show of emotion. Well, we'll see.

For most of the weekend we have been preoccupied by a large cardboard triptych, which is a project board. Not to mention the glue, paper, laminating sheets and other stuff. Also enough glass paraphernalia to conduct experiments about the speed of solubility of popular brand-name painkillers. You know, Advil, Aleve, and the others. Yes, it was time again for the annual school Science Fair. We have joked in years past about how well many parents have done in this task, but this year, for the Lewis family, there was no such humor. From the start Kate, through disappointments and successes, produced her own study. Of course we helped her glue some of it together, and I assisted on Sunday afternoon by assuring that the distilled water being used was of a constant temperature ... but doesn't a sous chef do what the chef tells him to do?

Kate's piece de resistance was a power-point display that was all her own creation and design. And I describe this as a proud father, for she took 8th Grade First Place.

It is a sunny late afternoon in Riverhead and, come to think of it, the last time I sat at this table by the window it was a similar day. Except then the leaves were changing color and there was autumn in the air. Time for walkabout, and then hopefully the car will be ready. And if any of you need a supply of painkillers you really need to drop me a line ...

No comments: