Summer Kitchen

Below is a beautiful poem by Donald Hall called Summer Kitchen which he wrote after the death of his wife Jane. It reminds me of my childhood, particularly my mother’s place in it. She, too, saw miracles in the ordinary.

In June’s high light she stood at the sink
With a glass of wine,
And listened for the bobolink,
And crushed garlic in late sunshine.

I watched her cooking, from my chair.
She pressed her lips
Together, reached for kitchenware,
And tasted sauce from her fingertips.

“It’s ready now. Come on,” she said.
“You light the candle.”
We ate, and talked, and went to bed,
And slept. It was a miracle.

40 Before 40: Go One Month Without Drinking Alcohol

When my dad and I were in London a couple months ago I mentioned that I was thinking about taking July off from drinking and he actually started laughing at me.

"You don't think I can do it?" I asked.

"No," he replied.

Well daddio, you were wrong.

For 31 days in July (and, for good measure, a couple at the end of June) I didn't consume any alcohol, not a single drop. In all fairness to my dad, however, even I thought I would have to put this particular 40 Before 40 goal off until the bitter end (like age 39 and eleven months-ish) but the moment he told me he didn't think I could do it I had no other choice but to try and prove him wrong as quickly as I possibly could.

So thank you Dad, for not believing in me.

The no drinking thing wasn't actually as tough as I thought it would be. In fact, there were only a couple of occasions during those 33 days when I wished I had a drink in my hand, once at a 4th of July BBQ and once during every single second of every single brunch.

Instead of drinking/staying out late/being hung over I spent July sleeping more than I usually do, reading a lot and probably running myself into early knee replacement surgery (I logged a little over 115 miles including four half marathons over consecutive Saturdays).

Even though I won't be continuing my boozelessness into August (Micky’s in town from Chicago tonight and I'll be in Provincetown next week), I'm happy I did it and, I will admit, a little bit proud of myself.