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Monday, October 29, 2012

Hurricane Sandy Approaches New Hampshire

"Brother Noah,
Brother Noah,
Can I come with you,
On the ark of the Lord,
'Cause it's gettin' very dark,
Gonna rain very hard,
Tra-la-loo, tra-la-loo,

No you can't Sir,
No you can't Sir.
No you can't come with me,
On the Ark of the Lord,
Though it's getting very dark,
Gonna rain very hard,
Tra-la-loo, tra-la-loo,

Go to Hell then.
Go to Hell then.
You can go to Hell
With your damned old scow,
'Cause it ain't a-gonna rain
Very hard anyhow!
Tra-la-loo, tra-la-loo,

Young fellow,
Young fellow,
It's the folly of youth
To deny the truth,
'Cause you know damned well
It's gonna rain like Hell!
Tra-la-loo, tra-la-loo,

Song sung to us by our father, Dugald S. McDougall, 1916-2007.  (Author unknown.)

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Eden was just like this.*

Covasinț, Județ Arad, Banat, Romania
21 October 2012. 05:31 A.M.

 I am in the home of Sebastian and Ileana Fera.  Seba is 75, and Ileana 68.  They are the parents of Mihaela (Miki) Fera DeMaggio and of Roxana Fera, both now living in New Hampshire, and the grandparents of Elena, Cayou, and Maria DeMaggio.  We met at our home in Campton almost a year ago, and now I am visiting their home.

Theirs is a wonderful home. 

On a hill some 18 Km to the northeast of Arad is Comuna Covasinț, and in it a village of the same name.  At the town hall (Primeria) in Covasinț, at about 1:20 PM yesterday, I met up with Ileana, who came down from their house in their white Dacia 1310 to pick me up.  I had driven that morning from Cluj in Alexandra Muțiu’s Renault Clio.  Ileana told me we would park it in the village at the home of their friends, and I should follow her there.  I was reluctant to leave a borrowed car anywhere, but I followed her to the spot.  Within the solidly gated yard of this retired teacher and his wife, I adjudged Clio to be quite safe, so I took my rucksack and computer case, loaded them and the flowers and wine I’d bought for the Feras into the trunk of the Dacia, and got in its front passenger seat.

Ileana’s route home soon convinced me of the wisdom of her decision to park my borrowed car in town.  We went to her house through a forest on a jeep road full of rocks and mud puddles, then climbed a steep hill to their gate.  Seba opened the gate, and after six or seven clutch-burning tries, Ileana succeeded in backing the Dacia up the steep roadbank and into its place in their yard, beneath a sheet of heavy once-clear plastic, suspended from trees, that protected it from the sun and rare rain.
Speaking of rain, this house, built largely by Sebastian years ago while Ileana covered his sports classes at Sibiu, is equipped with a 10,000 liter rain-water collection tank beneath the porch, which provides water for washing and bathing.  Brilliant.  Until this year, there has been no well, but now that the Feras have retired here and made this their home, a well of some 200 m depth has been drilled at the back of the property, and this next week its water will be tested by the state for purity.

I cannot well-express the efficiency and comfort of this place.  I can only say that I understand the Feras' peace here, and their love of it.  Shirl and I felt the same for our first home in New Hampshire, which we lived in when first married, and which served as a second home for our eight years in Westborough, Massachusetts, while I was teaching at Boston University.  This house feels similar.  It is simple, yet well-equipped.  It is quiet, the nights are jet black, the air is clean, the surroundings natural.  Deer and wild boar populate the adjacent woods, and sheep graze in the nearby fields.  Wild berries of many species provide vitamin-rich snacks as one walks the hills, and in the yard is a garden of vegetables and fruit trees that emulates Eden.
When I arrived, the three of us sat in the garden at a much-used table, and enjoyed a lunch of some ten dishes, most made from home-grown ingredients, including breaded mushrooms (ciuperci pane), cooked as one sizzles a schnitzel (snițel), home-made pickles (castraveț muraț), chicken thighs stewed with red bell peppers and onions (pulpa de pui cu arde rosu dulce și ceapa), etc., etc.  It was marvelous.  After a nap and a walk on the hill, all we needed for supper was the delicious honey-sweetened cake Ileana had baked, and a cup of tea made from the flowers and leaves of their garden.

* From the title of a song by Harry Belafonte.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Seriously Screwed

Two days after Alex's wedding on 6 October, our son Jamie left for his Florida home aboard the 1983 Suzuki GS1100E that I had just given him.  Big Red Suzi is not new, but he is running like a new motorcycle, thanks to the years of TLC that Matt Gordon at QBR in Littleton (Phone: 1 (603) 444-2359) and I have given him.

A couple of weeks earlier, I had equipped Suzi with a new Metzler rear tire, to keep my fine son Jamie, 35, who will become a father in March, from riding so far on a rather worn rear tire.

On the first day of his ride South, near Poughkeepsie, New York, at an estimated 60 MPH (~100 KPH), Jamie acquired the large Phillips Head screw seen here.

Thanks to his many years' experience, much spent in the uncertain traction of dirt riding, Jamie "saved" the heavily laden and surely squirrelly superbike from a crash.  With the help of a tow truck and Shirl's Internet research, he had a another new tire installed at a Poughkeepsie motorcycle dealer, and was back on the road that evening.

JJ is home now in Orlando.  Thank you, dear God!

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Alex and Yvonne are one!

Yesterday we welcomed Yvonne Wolfson into the Clan McDougall,  "Von" and our youngest son Alex were married in a beautiful lakeside ceremony in New Hampton, New Hampshire, followed by a lively reception held in Paul Wolfson's garden in Campton.  The party lasted late into the night, culminating with fireworks, and a bonfire.

Draga Yvonne şi Alexander, Casa de Piatra!

Friday, October 5, 2012

Big 6! October 6, 2012

Tomorrow, on Shirley's and my 39th wedding anniversary, our son Alexander Barclay McDougall will marry the smart and lovely Yvonne Wolfson of Plymouth, New Hampshire.  The ceremony will be held at Yvonne's grandparents' home in New Hampton, on the shore of Lake Winona.  It is a pastoral setting.  At this afternoon's rehearsal, the autumn leaves across the lake, glowing golden in the late afternoon sun, appeared again in reflections from the lake's surface, rippled by a family of mallard ducks swimming by.  On a raft a hundred meters out in the lake, a great blue heron basked in the sun's low-angled rays.

May tomorrow's wedding be glorious, and may these two fine kids also see a 39th anniversary together!

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

First: See Link in Adalino's E-Mail


My musical obsession... the tune I whistle most frequently, the song I sing most often to myself while driving, is "The Song from Moulin Rouge," aka "Where is Your Heart."  Last night, after an online chat with my MBA students, I started to whistle it, then stopped, and said to myself, "Something different tonight."  I sang "Unchained Melody" all the way home, then still more at home, until my off-key singing drove my wife to put in her ear-buds, and turn to her laptop.

This morning I watched your latest video, and believed again that "There are no coincidences."


Sent: Tuesday, October 2, 2012 7:26:19 AM
Subject: ~ ~ ~ Um copo de vinho tinto ~ ~ ~  A glass of red wine ~ ~ ~ SPF! ~ ~ ~Adalino ~

Watch until the end
.~~~Ver ate' ao fim.

A Glass of Red Wine.
 ~ ~ ~ Um copo de vinho tinto.

Sempre p'ra frente!