Happy post-Turkey Time! It’s me, Ollie, James’ Old English Sheepdog sending you greetings from New York City (okay, full disclosure, I didn’t get to go, so we’re doing this telepathically – how we always do it).
I’m not going to joke about it here, but I was a little worried about James being in Time Square over Thanksgiving. He told me he’s seen the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade “live and in person,” so he wouldn’t be hanging out on a street corner to see it. Besides, James says the best part of the parade is seeing the balloons being blown up along the streets of the Upper West Side. (Of course none of this makes any sense to me since I’ve never seen it, and I told him this, and I’m sure it might not make any sense to you either – did he really type all of that – he did – oh, he’s so good to me.) To explain, James said that my favorite balloon, Snoopy, is inflated for several hours on one of the side streets along the parade route, beginning on the West Side. (That makes it a little clearer, so I’ll roll with it.)
While I’m in a kennel having so much fun with my buds and babes, James is seeing a bunch of Broadway shows. Sitting in a seat in a dark theatre while other people strut their stuff up on a stage is, well, not for us dogs. But James loves it. This week alone he’s seen Keira Knightly in her Broadway debut, in the adaptation by Helen Edmundson of Emile Zola’s Therese Raquin, with a stellar Judith Light; Clive Owen in a steamy revival of Harold Pinter’s Old Times; the Joe Mantello directed, outstanding ensemble cast, The Humans by Stephen Karam (Tony and Pulitzer nods), which is moving to Broadway in February because it is awesome (a must see); and the immeasurable Laurie Metcalf (Tony nod for sure) and Bruce Willis in Stephen King’s Misery; and the Deaf West Theatre’s revival of Steven Sater’s (book) and Duncan Sheik’s (music) Spring Awakening. James also saw Arthur Miller’s incomparable A View from the Bridge with Mark Strong (Tony nod and possible win) (where James tells me he made his Broadway debut – sort of – because he had a seat on the stage during the performance – I’m so proud of him); and the exceptionally well written, staged and acted play, Mike Bartlett’s King Charles III that won the 2015 Olivier Award (James tells me that’s London’s equivalent of a Tony) for Best New Play. All of these shows have been exquisitely written, directed and performed. Of course, it’s the words that make up the stories that James loves. There was a time he wanted to be an actor, but … (okay, I’ll stop there, sorry to bring up past disappointments – James can be so touchy).
James had Thanksgiving with 17 people hosted by his dear friends Barry and Elyn Rosenthal. I have yet to meet them, but James says they are like family. I’m not sure what that means, as James has told me his family is kind of odd, so …. (Okay, he’s stopped me again, but at some point you’d think I’d learn what his family is all about. Oh, he says you can read his memoir, World’s Fair, and find out – but that still doesn’t help me.) Back to Thanksgiving, James has spent this holiday with a select group of people through the years; people who mean more to him than anything. (I asked if that excluded me and he said, “Of course not.” I’m so happy and can’t wait for him to get home.)
Anyway, James and I discussed it and thought this poem of his was appropriate for the season. It features Trek (you may remember him from an earlier post – he’s my older brother whose gone to dog heaven) instead of me, but that’s okay. Of course, the harvest time in Vermont took place over a month ago, but I thought it fitting. It’s from his Pleasures & Seasons of Vermont collection of poetry. We hope you enjoy it.
My dog, Trek, sits patiently watching me as
I scurry about,
ensuring that the seedlings
are safe from a late frost
as the planting time of year unfolds.
I plow the vegetable patch with a
neighbor’s tiller, borrowed after a casual exchange
where on is mentioned as being needed.
It’s with the assistance of neighbors
both edible and not
There are times these same people spot me
in the plot and stop to chew the fat.
Soon they are beside me weeding and
admiring, like the bees,
the flowers that each plant displays which will
provide the desired nourishment.
All summer we chat about the progress,
anticipating the precise moment to
pick and plush; for the Vermont harvest suddenly
arrives with an overabundance of wealth
such that we are all sated,
for a little while.
Beginning with the prepping for planting
through to the harvest
we are aided by others.
These same people
share in each successive bounty.
The getting of help and
the giving of produce
also harvests friendships along the way.
while not put up or canned,
remain fresh and true.
Such are the pleasures of a Vermont harvest.
We hope you liked the poem. Oh, and be sure and let me know if you did, or if you have any questions for me (or for James).
Until next week,
Sir Oliver of Skygate Farm (you can call me Ollie)
Paw Prints courtesy of www.pawsitivelyloved.com
Time Square photo © 2015 James Stack
Harvest photo from pixabay.com
“Harvest” poem © 2013 James Stack