Sunday, July 29, 2012
I have wanted to see Niagra Falls for a few years now. I love the Marilyn Monroe film "Niagra," and I saw a television special about people who have tried to "conquer the Falls" that was really interesting. While I thought that the would-be conquerers were pretty stupid, what I did appreciate was the Falls themselves; so powerful, so wild, so...unstoppable. Nature at it's beautiful best.
Of course long ago, humans came around, saw the Falls, and thought, hey, we could build towns here and make some money offa this! So, on both the Canadian and American sides of Niagra Falls, commercialism was born. Stairs and concrete scenic vistas and boat docks were built, to bring people as close a possible to the magic. My favorite thing about the experience was a trip aboard the "Maid of the Mist," where you don a rain slicker, climb on a boat, and get as close to the Falls as is humanly possible. At one exciting point in the ride, when the captain has brought you almost under the Falls, all you hear is a roaring and thundering of water, all you see is falling water and mist and spray, and you can feel the Falls in your own heartbeat, like when the bass of a good sound system is really cranked up.
My mother-in-law said to me, "I remember thinking, even now that I'm back home, the Falls is still there, still falling. Never stopping." Now that I've been there, I know what she means. it's reassuring. A beautiful destination (we stayed on the Canadian side, which I recommend), a great trip. I won't ever forget it.
Thursday, July 5, 2012
The tall ships were amazing. I saw them in Baltimore in 1976, which prompted me to say to my dad, "What's the job that gets you on one of those ships?" He answered, "Merchant Marine." I said, "Then that is what I'm doing for a career." And for two or three years, I meant it. In fact, whenever I got in trouble, I'd think, "You'll miss me when I'm a merchant marine, folks. You'll wish you hadn't been so tough about my sneaking a peek at "Love American Style" while you were at your bridge party, when I'm in Asia or Europe on one of the tall ships."
My dream career as a merchant marine had displaced my former dream of dolphin trainer, where the thought was, "OK folks, you'll miss me when I'm in a lagoon in Florida, putting sonar tracking devices on dolphins (I read a lot about dolphins back then). Was flushing my sea monkeys down the toilet so bad, worthy of grounding, people? They were practically invisible, and definitely did not wear crowns."
So, no one was surprised when I ended up in New Mexico for college, and Boston for my life. The best part? A great family - both the family I grew up with, and the family I made - to keep me safe and happy while I live it.
Next week, Niagra Falls with my sweetie...I'll be reporting from the edge.
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