Friday, May 30, 2014

"Out on the edge . . . " on Martha's Vineyard: PART II

If you haven't already read "'Out on the edge . . . ' on Martha's Vineyard: Part I," now might be a good time to get caught up: click HERE.

Okay, now you can read on.

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While researching The Single Father’s Guide to Life, Cooking and Baseball and the manuscript for its sequel, Dating, Relationships, Sex and the Single Father, (which is not yet in print), I discovered there are roughly 154,000 widower single fathers (WSF) in the U.S., of which I am one. Assuming there are a few more than 300 million people who call the Nifty Fifty their home, only five one-hundredths of one percent of American citizens are WSFs. Exclusive club, huh?

A WSF typically has full custody of his children, so his days either directly or indirectly revolve around his children. He is almost literally on-duty as a parent every minute of every day of the year. That doesn’t leave much time just for himself. If the WSF works outside of the home and has a professional caregiver for his kids, at least a thread of his energy and attention is still directed toward their safety and well-being. If he’s “lucky” enough to work at a home office or business, then he may be even more directly involved in his children’s lives including anything from organizing playgroups to volunteering in PTA’s.

The latter situation is the one which I’d chose for my family.

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Even though I brought cereal, I also brought eggs and bacon. So, when I finally woke up after eight o'clock on Saturday morning, I started to cook. It wasn't long before the smell of bacon rousted the sleepier heads. Upon connecting with the savory aroma from the kitchen, the Second Beautiful Daughter boasted to her friend Shannon, "My dad makes the best scrambled eggs."

Inland pond near the west side of Martha's Vineyard

We really took our time getting up and out of the house for a lot of reasons, not the least of which was
John Belushi: "I'm a dancer!"
The Favorite Son's discovery of the existence of Netflix among several other on-demand movie and television services. So, it was probably after Noon when the four of us finally dislodged ourselves, literally, and began to enjoy some of what the island offered. We hopped in the car and drove west on North Road toward the actual center of Chilmark where North, Middle, and South Roads intersect. We stopped a couple times to get cell phone photos of some unique and beautiful views before we serendipitously found ourselves at Lobsterville Beach.

TFS "representing" on Lucy Vincent Beach
We only stayed at Lobsterville Beach for a little while because we weren't sure of the beach access rules. I later learned that beach permits would not be required until May 1, which was still weeks away, we needn't have worried. Still, all but The Favorite Son dipped our toes in the cold Vineyard Sound water.

Beach combers?
After a tour of the island, which involved a stop to pay my respect to my all-time favorite comic actor, John Belushi, a stop at a charming little general store in West Tisbury, a visit to the Stop ‘n’ Shop in Vineyard Haven for snacks, and a nap, I was in the mood for some exercise. (Before anyone gets their panties in a twist about me posing next to Belushi's headstone, he's not interred there. It's not even a headstone; it's a monument. Belushi is actually buried elsewhere to prevent assholes like me from posing next to his headstone). Even though I was moderately familiar with MV’s geography, I didn’t walk far from the house as dusk began to fall. I probably hadn’t trekked two miles down the unpaved road from Lauren’s house to North Road and then down Tabor House Road. Just past the driveway where a crudely painted, non-flowery/non-cute-animal sign read, “SIMON” and a peace sign, I turned back and made a healthy dinner including pan fried chicken breast and brussel sprouts, which were a big hit among my fellow travelers. After dinner, the four of us watched the quasi-classic movie, 48 Hours with Eddie Murphy and Nick Nolte, some entertaining editorial commentary and witty conversation.
Healthy cooking.

The Second Beautiful Daughter at Lucy Vincent Beach

When the movie ended, all but the fourth grader went to bed. The Favorite Son stayed up to watch, get this, The Walking Dead. Readers of the Favorite Son Saga already know he’s fascinated by what he believes is the inevitable zombie apocalypse.

We were slightly more organized on Sunday morning, although we didn’t rush right of the house. Breakfast for the kids was TOTAL Raisin Bran while I had a couple of soft-boiled eggs. After a call to Lauren to clarify the off-season beach rules and a great long walk that included rectangle including North Road, Tabor House Road, Middle Road through Chilmark, down Menemsha Road and back to North Road, I drove to Lucy Vincent Beach (LVB). LVB is southward facing and has incredible formations consisting of both giant ocean stones and eroded beach bluff. The waves rolling up from the Atlantic Ocean are beautiful. We spent several hours exploring the beach, sometimes together and sometimes by ourselves. The Favorite Son built little formations of sand and wave-worn stones.
Shan-Apps, K-Mats, & me, T-Mats, at Lucy Vincent Beach

When we finally left LVB, I drove to Edgartown, where every home in the delightful little village is painted white with black accents. We wanted to grab a sandwich and ice cream, but the shops wouldn’t be open until the tourist season, so it was back to Vineyard Haven and Stop ‘n’ Shop. In addition to a few healthy things to eat, I bought four boxes of Klondike Bars, which were on-sale two for five dollars. The kids had already cleaned out Lauren’s freezer of the popsicles and ice cream sandwiches, so I thought it would only have been mannerly to restock a little.

By Sunday night, after having enjoyed a great walk, LVB, and a couple of fun days out of my routine with two of my kids, I’d regained some peace of mind. Frankly, I was conflicted about returning to the Hudson Valley. On one hand, the kids were off school for the week for spring break and, for me, there really wasn’t anything that couldn’t wait for another day or two. As I’ve already mentioned, WSF’s are on duty full-time times three, including weekends and no overtime pay. I missed my First Beautiful Daughter and, in spite of the fact she’s a responsible and intelligent nearly seventeen year old, I worried about her. (Of course, she doesn’t want to know that because she’s a young woman, but it is what it is). She’s spent the weekend with trusted friends, but she’d planned to sleep at our house alone that night and I didn’t want that to become a habit. We’d head back on Monday.
Eastward at Lucy Vincent Beach

Good fences make good neighbors
After another good night’s sleep far from the edge at a beautiful contemporary home in woods of Chilmark, Massachusetts on Martha’s Vineyard, I woke up, enjoyed another high-protein breakfast before undertaking my seven-plus mile walk. By the time we showered, packed, clean-up and “turned-off” the house, and reached the ferry, it was early afternoon. Even with a stop at McDonald’s, we beat the greater Boston area traffic by an hour or so and returned to Warwick, New York by early evening, quite a bit more relaxed and a little bit more refreshed than I was three days earlier.

The time wasn’t all mine, but that’s okay. I’ve gotten used to that. It’s the hand I'm playing even if Fate sometimes deals from the bottom of the deck. Besides, it’s nice to see my kids relax and enjoy themselves a little, too. I won’t have this time with them forever, as evidenced by The First Beautiful Daughter’s choice not to join us.  I’ll enjoy it while I can, on the edge, in the middle, and everywhere in between.

Beautiful view of a Chilmark pasture and Atlantic Ocean in the distance from Middle Road

Thank you, Lauren.

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Lauren has exchanged a career in Corporate America for a career as a successful real estate agent which provides her with more flexibility to be with her family. For information about both homes and other property for sale or rent on Martha's Vineyard or on Cape Cod, please call friend Lauren Dubuc at 774-219-9297 and visit Lauren's page for great listings!

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