Once on Montauk Highway we flew like eagles until we reached the Ponquogue Beach. He stepped out of the car into what appeared to be his kind of Cathedral. I too, could feel an aura of peace there. After pulling on a pair of a rubberized “waders” and donning a cap he looked like a military officer in full dress uniform. Ceremoniously, he’d open his tackle box, examine its strange contents of lures, floats, hooks, knives and bait. Rod and reel assembled he entered into what appeared to be the sanctuary of the sea .I made sand castles, hunted for sea shells, performed cartwheels on the beach and thought that I was with the King of the World.
He loved Hampton Bays, when he discovered it in the early 50’s. Everything that he ever needed or wanted was here…surf, sand, a simpler way of life. I wonder, today, what he would have thought of the progress in town like the King Kullen shopping center, or the Rumba Restaurant on his beloved Shinnecock Bay. I know that he never ventured into the charming Hampton Maid Inn on a Sunday morning to have breakfast like I do sometime. Why? Well he was a frugal, simple man who was most content with people and places that weren’t fussy or showy.
Out in my backyard stands a memorial to happy times in younger days. It’s a vintage Air Stream camper that he lived in while building this house on weekends in the 1950’s. The interior is knotty pine wood. It has a bedroom, kitchen, bathroom complete with toilet and shower as well as small seating area. A little musty now, it no longer has the tropical aromas of the Florida Keys, where he and Aunt Mae fished. “ Did you know that your Aunt Mae won the Rupert Beer Company award for the biggest Tarpon fish hauled in one year?” He would proudly tell me.
Mae was truly a real life ‘Auntie Mame’. She lived life fully “in the moment” before anyone coined that phrase. Her zest for a full adventurous life combined with that of my mother’s allowed me to morph into a version of ‘The Unsinkable Molly Brown’.
Oops, ouch! There I went and did it. I pulled the tooth out. No surprise to me that there isn’t a space left as I have filled it over the span of some 76 years. Mine has been a life filled with triumph, tragedy, hope, despair, betrayal and in the end joy.
Maybe you’d like to hear about it someday…
Pages: 1 2