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Yarmouth Port, Massachusetts, United States

Monday, December 27, 2010

Christmas in New York

Immediately upon arrival, we hied up to Lincoln Center
To see what we could score on tickets.
Success with The Nutcracker by the New York City Ballet;
The Magic Flute was sold out for Christmas Eve.
Joined for dinner at Basso56, our neighborhood favorite,
Were daughters Wynne Anne, Wendy, her husband John.

Up early on the twenty-third for a vigorous day.
Which began inauspiciously, when the MetroCard machine
Ate my twenty dollar bill and refused to give it back,
Thus requiring a written complaint to secure a refund.

Down to the Imperial Theater to get good seats for
That evening's performance of Billy Elliot, the musical.
Over to Rockefeller Center to photograph the tree
Which was lit again by Turtle and Hughes, the Millards' company.

A quiet, brief celebration of Holy Eucharist
In the chantry chapel of St. Thomas.
Then down the street to the Museum of Modern Art,
A scheduled destination, to better acquaint Patrick
With the masters of contemporary art, including
My favorite, Vasily Kandinsky, renowned of line and form.
Lunch at The Modern, a truly in cafe at the museum.

Billy Elliot was Barbara's delight, and
A fitting complement to a ballet holiday.
Having nothing planned for the morning of Christmas Eve,
We sampled some of the exhibits
At the American Museum of Natural History,
Highlighted by Whoopi Goldberg's narration
Of the Journey to the Stars, in the new planetarium.

Having never seen The Nutcracker in live performance,
I was enchanted by the version by the New York City Ballet.
We thought we would call it a day after
An early dinner at P.J. Clarke's across from Lincoln Center.

When a well-dressed woman seated next to us,
Out of the blue, asked us if we would like to see the opera.
She had balcony tickets, but couldn't use them,
As her husband's father was being taken to the hospital.

So this dear lady from Mt. Kisco,
Made it possible for us to fulfil our original intent.
Back to the Met for the holiday version of The Magic Flute,
Thus completing the circle of cultural effusion. 

To Old Greenwich for a huge family Christmas
At the Millards, with twenty in attendance.
The youngest, a year and a half, and the oldest,
Well, who else would it be?

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Facebook Revisited

Facebook is evil; that's what it is.
It purports to bring people together;
Instead it drives them apart
By glorifying the singularity of the individual.

One's profile presents a billboard
Of pseudo accomplishments as well as
Personal preferences that vary in tone from
From kitschy to smarmy to perverse.

Not only can a viewer not be sure
That whatever is posted is factual.
The possibility arises that a curriculum vitae
May be intentionally fanciful or entirely bogus.

Sex, age, and other personal data
May be deliberately false,
Designed to lure innocents
Into a labyrinth of specious promises.

At best, Facebook might be considered
A harmless exercise in narcissism.
But why should anyone care about
Another person's daily comings and goings?

The falsity of Facebook lies in the
Premise that a community can be organized
To further worthwhile ends
Devoid of personal contact among participants.

Such benificence doesn't happen.
The individual on Facebook listens only to oneself.
Sure that his/her activities generate interest
And admiration from his so-called friends.

Worse yet is the notion
That having someone as a Facebook friend
Entitles one to demand special favors
From persons they have never met.

Facebook should remain a plaything
Of tweens and silly game players.
Now also a medium of commercial promotion
And organizational aggrandizement.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Christmas 2010

We are blessed to continue to live in our big, beautiful house,
Thanks to an army of cleaners, landscapers, and painters.
The General Contractor continued his work this year by
Supervising installation of a variety of improvements.

Such as a ceramic cooktop, a microwave/convection oven,
An upright freezer, an attic fan, a wrought iron handrail,
And soon, gutter helmets on all 150 feet of the
Two and three story gutters surrounding the house.

Barbara continues to serve on the acquisitions committee
Of the Cape Cod Museum of Art, as a lifetime trustee.
Patrick leads a klatch of old ladies, plus one other old guy
In discussion of Eugene Peterson’s opus on “spiritural theology.”

In the spring, we took a dream cruise to the Adriatic and Aegean.
Spending days in Venice, and making port calls at
Split, Corfu, Mykonos, Dubrovnik, Crete, Athens, and Ephesus.
Followed by land tours in Florence and Rome.

We are avid patrons of the arts, on Cape Cod and in New York,
Enjoying the HD Met Opera broadcasts at the local art cinema
And the concerts of our own symphony orchestra,
Where we met in adjacent seats two years ago.

Health is always a matter of concern at eighty plus,
But so far we manage to ignore the usual aches and pains.
We thank the Good Lord for letting us keep our marbles, mostly,
And delight in one another’s company.

Blessings to you and yours,

Barbara and Patrick

Monday, November 1, 2010

I Used to Climb Mountains

"Sure, you did" was the unspoken comment of
Technicians at a stress test, and
The cardiologist at an annual checkup.
"What mountains?" they asked in bored tones.

"Oh, the White Mountains, Adirondacks, Catskills."
And left it at that as their attention turned elsewhere.
Memory takes me to the top of Mount Washington,
Reached twice from Mount Adams on a traverse of peaks.

Two long, slow slogs up Mount Marcy in New York;
The first from Johns Brook Lodge,
The second from the weather station near the Adirondack Loj
That my Mohican Chapter donated to the Adirondack Club.

Two presidential traverses in the White Mountains.
Including Adams, Madison, Eisenhower, et al.
Thirty of the Adirondack forty-six 4000 footers.
Some reached from a base camp deep in the wilderness.

All of the 35 Catskill mountains over 3500 feet.
Each about 3000 feet in elevation gain.
Half of them on snowshoes.
Number 350 in the Catskill 3500 Club

Almost forgot Killington in the Green Mountains
On a three day trek along Vermont's Long Trail.
Not to mention days and days of hiking up
The Ramapo "mountains" in Harriman Park.

Now a little hill on a local trail is a daunting prospect.
I stop at the top of each to catch my breath
And remember the fabled "mountain high"
At the scaling of another new peak.

Thursday, October 14, 2010


There is something puzzling about Facebook.
The recent movie about its founding
Has engendered critical reviews and
Questions about its place in social discourse.

As the initial function of informing "friends"
About one's current actions and activities
Has been largely replaced by Twitter,
A variety of uses have sprung up in Facebook.

Most harmless are the silly games,
Except that one's prowess at each
Is a bore to read in daily postings
For those totally uninterested.

Also tedious to be burdened with
Are the postings of young people
That are meaningless to others
Outside the group that they belong to.

More sinister are the solicitations
From nubile young women one does not know
To become their "friends"
For purposes unspecified.

Who befriends whom is a matter of conjecture
As to why one befriends someone else,
And why the rest of us should care,
When we don't know the potential friend at all.

Simply because one person is a friend of our friend,
Why are we invited to befriend him or her?
What then, does being a Facebook friend really mean?
What privileges and obligations does friendship entail?

Facebook has announced a plan
To enable members to form inner and outer groups of friends,
Which will perhaps remove some of the clutter
But leave open the question of what a Facebook friend is.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Autumn in New York

Thursday, the local train from Old Greenwich to Grand Central,
Passing all the old haunts along Long Island Sound.
Fixed a little dinner for grandniece Daisy Millard,
A new student at the School of Visual Arts.

Friday morning at the Metropolitan Museum
To see the Rockefeller primitive collection
And the massive Egyptian wing.
Lunch at the American Wing Cafe.

A little rest in the afternoon, then
Dinner at Basso56, which David introduced to us.
Walked down to the Gershwin Theater on 51st St.
To see a long-anticipated performance of "Wicked."

Did we like it? Well, yes and no.
The cast is lively, enthusiastic ... and young.
We couldn't understand the lyrics or the dialogue;
Nor can we yet figure out the plot.

Every musical number was sung at top volume,
With the words swallowed, as do all contemporary singers.
But the huge audiences raved and shouted.
So they must have appreciated what we missed.

A Saturday matinee at the Metropolitan Opera
Of "Les Contes d'Hoffman," one of my favorites.
I had seen the current production as an HD live broadcast,
But nothing compares with a live performance.

When Barbara found out the the New York City Ballet
Has a fall season at Lincoln Center,
We had to squeeze that into our schedule
On Saturday evening, a few hours later.

Fortified by P.J. Clarke's across Columbus Avenue,
And this time in the newly refurbished Koch Theater.
We saw two classical ballets by Balanchine,
And a modern dance by Jerome Robbins.

Having never seen this company before,
I was enchanted by the quality of the perfomances.
Maybe we will be able to see their "Nutcracker,"
When we are back in town over Christmas.

On Sunday, the main event at the Riverside Yacht Club,
Celebrating with a huge crowd of guests,
The Fiftieth Anniversary party for Sue and Frank Millard.
Barbara was the only attending bridesmaid.

We are fortunate to be able to use the Millard's
Little apartment off Columbus Circle.
After all the years we worked and studied there,
New York calls us back to enjoy her pleasures.

Thursday, August 19, 2010


It is true that "manners" is an archaic concept.
It is also true that satisfactory social intercourse
Is impossible without "good" manners.
Lack of same poisons the well of understanding.

Manners have to be taught to children by parents.
No other agency can transmit the idea
That good manners assure acceptance in
Any decent level of society, anywhere, anytime.

Good manners start with the dictum:
"Such things are simply not done!"
Which sounds elitist when heard for the first time,
Then becomes a search for what things are not to be done.

The objective is to avoid offending someone else,
Requiring effort to discern where that person is in life.
Absent tradition and conventions in our culture,
One is required to metaphorically "walk in his shoes."

"What will people say?" leads to self-preservation.
Simple answers prevent one from committing serious errors,
If you want people to have a good opinion of you,
And of your children, as a parent.

If, as a maverick or rebel, you don't care what people say,
Then you are doomed to be a reject or an outcast.
By conducting yourself in a "manner" which is acceptable,
You earn the approbation of family, friends, and strangers.

It is also true that the positions of "lady" and "gentleman"
Are extinct, but they can be imitated.
The highest compliment one can receive
Is to be referred to as one, simply by the way you conduct yourself.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Small Ball

They don't hit many home runs in the Cape Cod League.
The players are college stars, used to aluminum bats.
They come from all over the country to show what they can do
In something approaching professional league conditions.

The atmosphere at the Cape League ballparks
Is very much like the old days of town teams.
Each of the teams is sponsored by a local town or village.
The parks are owned by the towns and maintained by non-profit groups.

We turn out to cheer for whomever is representing our town this summer.
The players are selected from recommendations by college coaches.
Subject to NCAA rules, they are not paid for playing baseball,
Although many find part time jobs to earn a little money.

Each team has a sponsoring group to raise money, to pay for
Salaries of managers, coaches, umpires, groundskeepers, etc.
And to find, encourage, and support the host families
Who put up ball players in their homes for the summer.

At the ball park, some sit in the little tin bleachers.
Most of the older folks sit in sling chairs on the sidelines.
Kids with mitts play in the outskirts
And race to grab a foul ball hit in their vicinity.

The concession stand is jammed during the entire game.
We have a 50-50 raffle with a variety of sponsors' prizes.
Families spread blankets and picnic with their progeny.
We cheer at all good plays by either side.

Yesterday, the score was tied 1-1 between Chatham and Yarmouth-Dennis.
In the bottom of the eighth inning, the Chatham pitcher walked two
And was lifted for a relief pitcher, who got the second out, then
Gave up a single that brought in the Y-D runner on second base.

Next, the catcher dropped a pitch, and in the scramble,
Allowed the second runner to advance to third.
Then that runner scored on a passed ball,
And the stands erupted with cheers for the home team.

I score the games; Barbara knits.
I like a tight game -- a real pitchers' duel.
She likes lots of hits, as do most fans.
Doesn't matter who wins, we enjoy the summer at the ball park!

Friday, June 11, 2010

Cruising the Eastern Mediterranean Part III

Off the ship and bussed to Florence, heart of Tuscany,
Which we both had explored in previous visits.
Time for only a half-day expedition led us to the Medici Chapel
To see Michaelangelo's sculptures commissioned by the Grand Dukes.

Then to Rome to have a Chinese dinner near the hotel.
Next day, a long walking tour on a hot day
All over the Colisseum and up through the Forum
To visualize the citizens of the mighty empire at work and play.

Modern Rome is obviously a city in trouble.
Traffic chokes the streets; cars park double and on sidewalks.
Graffiti defaces all the fine old buildings.
Commerce and residence are mixed indiscriminately.

Athens is worse, with little distinctive architecture.
Both cities are capitals of their respective countries.
Grand plans for civic improvement
Are jeopardized by perilous debt in each.

By contrast, we were pleasantly surprised at the
Beauty and order of Izmir in Turkey.
Well laid-out boulevards pass between rows of
Handsome apartment buildings in residential areas.

A dinner out at a little cellar trattoria in Rome,
Followed by an illumination tour and a visit to the fabled
Trevi fountain, where we each threw a coin
Over the left shoulder to assure a return to Rome.

So that two American college students will meet on a
Tour to Italy in 2035, he a geeky blond English major, she
An art student who reminds her family of her wild great aunt,
Barbara; both will wonder what drew them together.

At St. Peter's Basilica and the Sistine Chapel, amidst all the
Renaissance art and churchly opulence, one wonders how
The authorities would react to the presence of an itinerant
Preacher who proclaims: "Blessed are the humble in spirit."

Cruising the Eastern Mediterranean Part II

Watched the ascent of Santorini Island by fellow passengers
By bus, cable car, mule, or on foot up to the town.
Admired the scattering of white stucco houses
Across the island of Myknonos.

Almost every home had a small chapel and mausoleum on site.
Ancient windmills ground corn, like those on Cape Cod.
Admired a startling Baroque church in the middle of a monastery,
Adjacent to a shopping mall where we were served ouzo and sea delicacties.

Back to Venice for a day to take on new passengers.
Boated into Piazza San Marco to visit the Duomo.
Took a special trip on the vaporetto to Santa Maria dei Frari
To see Titian's famous "Assumption of Mary into Heaven."

Dubrovnik lived up to its billing as an
Enchanted walled town with its Renaissance charm intact,
Perched on a cliff overlooking the Adriatic Sea,
Surviving earthquakes and wars over the centuries.

Realized a goal of a lifetime
In seeing the Parthenon on the Acropolis in Athens.
The new museum at the foot offers a splendid panorama
And displays the original artifacts that adorned the temple.

The ruins of Ephesus, near Izmir, Turkey
Combine the heritage of ancient Greece, the glory of Rome,
And the flowering of Christianity,
Where John lived and Paul preached.

Too worn out from clambering Ephesus
To make a visit to Nafplion,
We viewed and photographed
This jewel of a resort from the comfort of the ship.

Cruising the Eastern Mediterranean Part I

Venezia! What a joy! Beginning with
A mad speedboat ride to the Grand Canal.
A walk through the Jewish Ghetto, no longer
Locked at night to keep in the ghost of Shylock.

A tour of the Rialto and the Piazza San Marco.
Respite in the cool, subdued confines of
The Peggy Guggenheim Collection of modern art,
Its garden courtyard, museum cafe, and buried dogs.

Dinner at our Hotel Principe
With candlelight, music, and sights of the canal.
Boat ride to Murano to see glass blowing,
Fabulous and expensive glass objects for sale.

On board the Norwegian Gem on Saturday,
An immense floating hotel for 2,400 guests.
First shore excursion to Split, in Croatia,
An ancient resort on the Dalmatian coast.

The tour centered on the palace erected by the
Roman Emperor Diocletian in the third century,
Now containing a tiny Orthodox cathedral,
Restored vaults, and modern apartments.

Next a drive in Corfu, a seedy and rundown island,
Past dealers for every car and motorcycle on the planet,
To visit a late nineteenth century palace built by
A deeply neurotic Austrian Empress who was bored in Vienna.

She was whacked by an anarchist in 1898.
The palace was then bought and occupied by the German Kaiser.
None of which we much cared about, except for photographing
The gardens and the statuary surrounding the palace.

Friday, May 7, 2010

We're Not Old Enough

We're not old enough for the senior center.
We joined the "friends" for the travel club,
Securing a bus ride and admission to
The MFA and its annual "Art in Bloom."

We had to meet with the travel coordinator
At the Yarmouth Senior Center
To pay the bill and make reservations
For future trips to Newport and Providence.

What a dismal experience!
The lobby and corridors are reminiscent of
A seedy nursing home or a fleabag motel
With ancient, bored volunteers at the desk.

Bulletin boards everywhere are replete
With medical advice for every known disease,
And announcements of services for those unable
To perform life's basic tasks.

The internal decor varies from dirty beige
To dirty brown, in places where it may be viewed.
Otherwise, the fluorescent lights turn everything to
Looking like accoutrements for an emergency room.

In the side rooms are very old people
Playing pinochle or mah jongg, or something,
Looking like they had been dumped there
By their caregivers for the day.

But there are all sorts of more lively activities,
Ranging from bridge to line dancing to yoga.
My favorite is exercise from your wheelchair.
Don't forget daily lunches for two dollars.

The whole scene reminds me of the clubhouse
At a vast retirement community in Florida,
Where the purpose of life is simply to waste time
Between doctor's appointments and the inevitable end.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

My Grandparents

You know about William C. from "Oshkosh."
Add that he was deaf like his son and grandson.
We know so little about his wife, Katharine
Other than she died young in 1911.

According to the 1880 census
She was called Katie; had six siblings.
Her parents were from Prussia, or so they said.
Katie was born in 1868, married at twenty

To a man ten years her senior.
Bore two sons quickly, none thereafter.
Was a pillar of local society, elegantly dressed.
Bequeathed a long, thin face to future generations.

A greater mystery is Eugene F. Cooney.
Father born in Ireland, mother in Illinois.
Mom said he was at the Chicago Board of Trade
When trading grain futures was the whole business.

Eugene married Mary Costello in 1899
When she was already twenty-four;
The only Costello daughter to marry.
Marie Eugenie arrived the same year.

They were a family for the 1910 census
But separated some time later.
Gram said she became a milliner;
Owned her shop in Chicago.

My mother said that her father
Drowned in Lake Michigan near the dunes
While on an outing with friends.
She never saw him after her parents separated.

Gram, or Mame, as she was called
Was my only living grandparent.
Married again to a cigar manufacturer
She was a delight to visit, with matchless Irish humor.

Monday, March 8, 2010

The Irish Catholic

Jean Cooney Kimball

She was named Eugenie, after her father, Eugene,
But dropped that for Jean, which was easier to handle.
Maybe it was after the Empress,
Marie Eugenie of France.

Anyway, when her parents separated,
Her mother moved back in with the Costellos.
That would be the matriarch, Ellen Darcy Costello,
Four aunts and an uncle, living on the West Side.

They never had anything to do with the Cooneys,
Which was a pity, because the Cooneys
Were willing to pay for her education
And for her brother, Ed.

As it was, she had to quit the Catholic high school
After her second year, to get a job.
She took a brief secretarial course
And was hired by the Old Ben Coal Corporation.

She heard about their star salesman, Charlie Kimball,
And made up her mind to size him up.
He proposed to her on their first date;
They were married when she was still eighteen.

Charlie, known always to her as "Kim,"
Was drafted in 1918 and sent to Camp Grant, Illinois.
For about nine months of service.
In the Quartermaster Corps.

They lived in various flats on the South Side of Chicago
Until moving to Lake Forest, where they built
A beautiful Tudor style home on Ahwanee Road,
Designed by their friend, Stanley Anderson.

They lost the house in the Depression,
Dad was reduced to half pay,
And sent to Kansas City as regional sales manager,
Where they spent eleven years.

Mom was largely self-educated and transformed herself
Into a formidable society figure in Kansas City.
She became expert in interior design, amassing
A collection of antiques in the thirties for next to nothing.

She led a bond drive during World War II
Which culminated in a huge performance in the Royal Arena.
The high point was meeting the featured speaker, Bette Davis.
Talked to her for hours; they were much alike.

When they moved back to Chicago,
Dad became a coal buyer for the Quartermaster Depot.
They lived in a luxurious apartment for $100 per month
In a high rise building on the Gold Coast.

But the war years were difficult,
With three sons off to service in various years.
Eau Claire was better, because they made older friends.
It was her idea to move to Florida, when Dad retired.

She moved back to the Chicago area when he died,
Living in a little apartment in Lake Bluff, and
Working some in a local store, as she had in Clearwater.
She died of a stroke in 1970, at the age of seventy.

The Skipper

Charles Henry Kimball

Norman graduated from Cornell University,
But his younger brother, Charles, spent only
Two years at the University of Wisconsin,
Ostensibly studying forestry.

He joined the Phi Delta Theta fraternity
And had a wonderful time, sailing and partying.
His father told him to get a job
After his second year.

The Skipper worked for the Old Ben Coal Company
For forty-six years, or so I thought.
My brother, Charles, said that he and another
Salesman started the Eastern Star Coal Company.

That was either bought out by Old Ben,
Or didn't last long; he never mentioned it.
He knew the owners of Old Ben from age twenty,
Probably from sailing DeWitt Buchanan's A boat.

That was his passion in his younger days:
Sailing class boats on Lake Winnebago.
An old-timer described him as Skipper Kimball,
And that became his nickname for us forever.

Aunt Day, DeWitt's aunt, took care of him at their
Summer home in Oconomowoc, Wisconsin,
When he developed rheumatic fever,
That began lifelong heart problems.

Sue and I visited the Buchanans there
Before we were married, staying at the local
Hotel where "After the Ball is Over" was written.
And seeing "The Chocolate Soldier" with Aunt Day.

The Skipper loved show business; while on the road,
He always took in the local vaudeville.
He had met or seen all the popular entertainers
Who later became radio and movie stars.

He was a crack bridge player;
Could easily have been a life master.
But he didn't like tournaments, and preferred
To play for low stakes at his club.

Mom and Dad moved to Clearwater Beach, Florida,
From Eau Claire, Wisconsin, for a few years.
Charles and I visited them there for his
Seventieth birthday, and he died that year.

Sunday, March 7, 2010


Caroline Howe Kimball

When this picture was taken
Carrie looked rather more formidable
Than she was reputed to be, but then
She had a position to maintain in Oshkosh.

The town fathers recognized that Carrie
Had quite a refined education;
Much more than the rough-hewn pioneers
Of a frontier town in Wisconsin.

So they asked her to start a high school;
She hired and in some cases trained the teachers.
The doors opened in 1869, and is now known
As Oshkosh West High School.


Lillian Kimball Stewart graduated at nineteen
From Vassar College in Poughkeepsie, New York.
She taught English at her mother's school, then
At the normal school, now the U. of Wisconsin in Oshkosh.

She was always referred to by her nephews as "Tante."
Norman and Charles were close to her personally.
Tante wed old Frank Stewart late in life;
Immensely pleased to be a married woman.

Ma and Pa Kimball

Charles William Kimball didn't like his name,
So he rearranged it to William C. Kimball.
Became a court reporter when that post was
Much more than stenography.

He read for the law and was admitted to the
Bar of Winnebago County in 1888.
My son, Steven the lawyer, has the certificate
Hanging in his office in Sacramento.

Among the personal memories of my father
Was the sight of Winnebago Indians sleeping
Next to the furnace of their home in Oshkosh.
William C. was their agent to the government.

His wife, Katharine Kitz, came from a German family.
My uncle, Norman, remembered that the uncles spoke German.
The name must be a shortening of a longer Deutsche Namen,
Following the introductory, "Kitz."

My father never spoke of his mother.
I gather she was a strict disciplinarian.
He did say that she died in his arms in 1911,
When he was only twenty-one.

Mantheno Crosby Kimball moved to Grand Rapids, Michigan.
Dying young in 1895; he was a "railroad man."
His line continues in the Grand Rapids area,
From a son named Richard, the most common Kimball name.

Friday, March 5, 2010

On Wisconsin

After six generations, we now enter the land of living memory.
Mary Moore, wife of Nehemiah Dean Kimball
Was born in 1795 in Maine, and died in Wisconsin in 1887.
Tante (Lillian Kimball Stewart) talked about her to me in 1943.

Mary was the pipe-smoking grandmother, and a trial to all.
Mary and Dean had eight children, one of whom died at age five
From scalding when she fell into a tub of boiling water.
Both Tante and my father related this tragic accident to me.

Dean Kimball was a cooper, lumberjack, sawyer and farmer.
He served in 1814 in the local militia
Which drove off a British landing party at Topsham.
Firing solid shot from a six-pounder, mounted on the bluff.

Lumbering was Dean's game, as well as for his sons.
When their leases ran out in Maine in 1849,
The entire family, save Sophia, moved to Neenah, Wisconsin
To take up lumbering in lands confiscated from the Indians.

Their third child, and second son, was Charles Dean Kimball.
Charles had little formal education but developed great woods sense
In the forests around his home in Skowhegan, Maine.
He and a Penobscot friend would spend days camped in the forest.

Other families moved from Maine to Wisconsin as
The railroad and the steamship made travel a matter of days.
Charles met Caroline Howe in Maine
And saw her again on her visit to relatives in Wisconsin.

When they married in 1857, Caroline had completed her studies
At Hampden Academy, comparable to a community college today.
When they traveled to Superior, Wisconsin, they bought items
Still in possession of the Kimball family today.

Charles was the "Pioneer of Old Superior" in a book
Written by his daughter, Lillian, and privately printed.
He had become a prospecting geologist, as well as
A surveyor and builder of roads in the new city of Superior.

Three children arrived in quick succession:
Charles William, Lillian Gertrude, and Mantheno.
Devastation struck when Charles drowned on a prospecting trip,
Leaving Carrie no choice but to move in with relatives in Oshkosh.

Farming and Living

Our next two generations of Kimballs in North America
Led quiet and unassuming lives.
Only the usual records indicate their births, deaths,
Marriages and children.

Richard, the son of Richard the Emigrant,
Must have received a land grant in Wenham
Just down the road a piece from Ipswich
Where he lived and died, as wheelwright and farmer.

He married Mary Cooley, of parts unknown;
Their youngest child was Caleb, also of Wenham.
Caleb is described as mason and farmer, wife of Sarah Safford
Who both lived and died in Wenham.

Interestingly, a New Hampshire connection arises
As Caleb left land in Exeter to his three sons.
Exeter, New Hampshire, would have been
A two day drive from Wenham in those days.

We do know that his son John settled in Exeter
John Kimball was a ship carpenter and farmer
Who served under Captain Folsom of Exeter.
In capturing a French fort on Lake Champlain in 1755.

John lived to be eighty-five, a rarity for the times.
His son Joseph, also a carpenter and farmer
Married three times, siring ten children.
In 1778, he served briefly in a New Hampshire regiment.

Joseph's first wife was Mary Sanborn.
The poor girl had only one child, then died at age 23.
She was lost to the genealogical record until traced
Through the Sanborn family to Peter Sanborn Kimball.

This feckless fellow could not cope with the death of his wife
In Brunswick, Maine, while on the road to Lisbon.
He left his five small children with strangers in Brunswick
And apparently never provided for them again.

Peter Sanborn Kimball is described as a cooper and farmer.
At seventeen, he fought in the climactic battle of Saratoga in 1777.
He and his wife, Abigail Dean, were first cousins.
Sharing John and Abigail Lyford Kimball as grandparents.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Settling In

The families first settled in Watertown, near Boston.
They had to live in hovels built by the earliest settlers
Who had since moved up to more spacious quarters.
So they kept looking for suitable land for permanent homes.

Richard and his companions were soon engaged in building houses.
Both Richard and his son, Richard, were wheelwrights
Which meant that they knew something of carpentry
And the use of simple mathematics in construction.

They are said to have built, or helped to build
Two elegant homes that are still standing:
The house at Cogwell's Grant in Essex, and
The Whipple House in Ipswich.

Both belie the notion that Puritan tastes were primitive.
Perhaps it was their work on the latter that led to an
Invitation to practice their wheelwright trade in the town of Ipswich,
And the grant of two home sites in town, plus a forty acre farm nearby.

Richard spent the rest of his life in Ipswich,
Practicing his trade and participating in town business.
After Ursula died, he married Margaret Dow.
In his will, and other records, he signed his name, "Richard Kimball."

This is odd, because that spelling of the name does not appear
In England, nor was it used by Henry or anyone else in the colonies.
Records of the ancestral line starts with one Thomas Kembold
Who was born in 1396 and lived in Hitcham, Suffolk.

The name literally means: "The bold Welshman,"
Being a combination of "bold" and "Cym" for Wales.
Perhaps the first Kembold did some noble deed in battle,
Resulting in a coat of arms, now generally regarded as spurious.

Richard's brother, Henry, preferred Kemball.
His slender line gradually changed it to Kimbell.
That name may also have been changed from Kimball
By Southerners during the Civil War, to emphasize their secession.

There is no doubt, however, that anyone with the name "Kimball"
Is directly descended from Richard the Emigrant.
Therefore we are all cousins of a sort
Greeting each other as such whenever we meet.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

An Immigrant

The families talked about leaving for a year or more.
They were unhappy with their life in the mother country
For a number or reasons, and saw a deliverance
From the stifling requirements of life at home.

The king's rule was absolute, and his actions
Were sometimes arbitrary and capricious.
Whether or not you were religious,
You had to belong to the prescribed church.

A rebellion was brewing from the dissidents
Which later led to civil war and death of the king.
Some of the malcontents left in a small ship
Years before to settle in a savage, unknown land.

You could become a free man in the king's realm,
But you could not rise above your station in life.
The trade or occupation you followed
Was simply passed down from father to son.

The families did not own their homes,
Being perpetual tenants on land that
The old king seized from the church and
Gave to his supporters a century before.

It was the promise of land that did it.
Some developers came back from the new country
And recruited new settlers with the promise
Of owning land for homes and farms.

Richard was reluctant, his wife Ursula even more so.
It was her brother Tom that championed the move.
What do do with their widowed mother was
Solved by Martha's decision to go with them.

So they signed on to a voyage on the Elizabeth,
Left their home in Rattlesden, Suffolk, England,
To sail to Boston in 1634, with their five children,
Tom Scott, Richard's brother Henry, and their families.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

An Old Folks' Guide to Solvency

No one can successfully predict the future.
There are too many variables in the financial picture
To be resolved in easy steps.
For the older investor, long term is short term.

The big boys down at the pool room
Have time-honored rules that are generally helpful.
"Hold your gains; sell your losses."
"Don't sell into a panic."

"Don't double down your losing investment."
"Don't try to time the market."
"Maintain a diversified portfolio."
"Rebalance periodically."

The sophisticated investor violates all those rules.
He/she reads Section C of the Wall Street Journal,
Absorbs all the conflicting news,
Plots trends in his/her head, and acts on gut feel.

Both the dotcom bubble and the housing bubble
Were foreseen months ahead and duly reported.
Anyone who paid attention to the financial news
Could avoid being trapped by either.

Current financial dangers are a run on the dollar
Together with galloping inflation.
Both threaten the value of our fixed investments.
But there is not much we can do about it as investors.

Don't buy gold or some other nutty dodge.
Have faith that the ship of state will right itself.
Congress is too scared to pursue bold steps now;
We are always better off when Congress does nothing.

If you have sufficient means for long-term care
And something more; spend it while you can
And enjoy life as much as possible.
That's what my children tell me.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Master Chef

She has a new cooktop, at enormous expense;
The latest Jenn-Air model, with electronic controls.
Does everything but put the dishes on the table;
Makes the kitchen look truly professional, which it is.

One of the joys of my second marriage
Is consuming the culinary creations of a master chef.
A fabulous recipe is often our evening plat du jour.
Even the familiar dishes receive an unusual touch.

I function as sous chef and scullery maid.
When the pace is fast, I jump to obey barked orders
To hunt, fetch, hold, stir, whatever is needed;
Often to find exotic items stored in obscure places.

For we have a large pantry, a full length cupboard,
Cabinets and drawers, a side by side fridge,
A deep, deep freezer, all containing enough
Items to carry us through natural disasters.

To the outsider, this might seem odd.
Who needs over one hundred spices?
But you have to understand the philosophy
Of my queen of the kitchen.

She thinks and acts like a professional chef.
When she sees an attractive recipe, she expects
To have all or most of the ingredients on hand.
We shop at food markets only about twice a month.

Lately, we have been sampling Julia Child's
"Mastering the Art of French Cooking," and
Ginette Mathiot's "I Know How to Cook,"
The French counterpart of "The Joy of Cooking."

When the cooking results in a lot of pots and pans,
I do not mind cleaning up afterward.
We are in culinary paradise;
The chef takes a well-earned toes-up on the couch!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Cruisin' in 2010

We have been considering for some time
A cruise in the Adriatic from Venice.
Norwegian Cruise Lines is the only large
Operator of same with frequent departures.

So I've been flirting with what they offer
Until we decided to get serious.
Our original idea was to spend a few days
Exploring Venice before the cruise.

So that would involve booking air travel,
Hotel in Venice, and the the cruise.
Not a difficult project, but time-consuming
As it was on our trip to Tuscany in 2009.

Just idling around the internet,
I happened to hit the Grand Circle Travel
Website, which I had used before,
And what do you suppose I found?!

GCT has framed the NCL cruises in the Adriatic
With brief stays in Venice and Rome.
At a significantly attractive price
Including air travel and transfers.

That solved all the booking problems
And puts us in a managed group,
Which is a significant help to people
Of a certain age like us.

The trip is still not inexpensive,
But it fulfils the dictum of my offspring:
"Do it while you can, Dad,
Spend your money on yourselves!"

We will be leaving May 19th,
And returning June 9th, three weeks in all.
More on the itinerary later,
As we do research on the destinations.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Met HD Opera Telecasts

This new production was widely panned;
Particularly for the stark brick set instead
Of the opulence of old Rome.
Tosca was a poor role for Mattila.
She lacked the passion and the fire,
And kept her head down, looking away.
Too bad, because she has a powerful
Presence in Salome, and was full of
Gritty determination in Fidelio.

We missed Aida; that was the weekend of the
Tenafly high school reunion.
Barbara had never seen Aida, and was sorry
To miss it; so I bought her a DVD with
Pavarotti singing Radames, in San Francisco.
Aida is static, almost an oratorio; but the SF
Version was spiced up with dances, including
The perky little ballerinas in sheer tops.

Turandot is static, too, that is the characters
Simply move around a little and sing.
The star of the show was the fabulous setting
By Franco Zeffirelli, thus making a clear
Contrast with the new, and less expensive,
Settings of the old warhorses.
We miss the former, but we must get used to
Contemporary ways of looking at things.

For example, the new production of
Les Contes D'Hoffman envisions all the action
Taking place inside Hoffman's head, while
He regales the crowd at Luther's with his stories.
If you were informed of this beforehand,
You might be able to fathom the goings-on.
Otherwise, the scenes seem like a hopeless
Jumble of sets from one scene to another.
A new star arose in the role of Nicklausse
And the muse: Kate Lindsey.

Everyone and everything about
Der Rosenkavalier was superb.
All the singers have performed these roles
Over and over again.
They inhabited their characters.
The trio of the three sopranos at the climax
Was breathtaking.
One wonders what it would be like if a
Countertenor sang the role of Octavian.

Barbara and I agreed that this was the
Best performance of Carmen
That we had ever seen.
Besides displaying a remarkable voice, Garanca
Acted the part, danced the flamenco,
Wrestled with Alagna in the final scene.
Critics were unanimous in praise of them,
And all the other performers.

This ends our subscription series, but we may
See one or more of the remaining operas in
Sunday encore broadcasts.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Art Exhibitions

Barbara's retrospective at the
Cape Cod Museum of Art
Was a smash hit!
Many people told us that
They saw it, and were impressed.

Few seemed to know
That she could paint so well,
Including the museum director.
The curator, who hung the paintings,
Remarked on her ability to use
Different media in a variety of styles.

The Cape Cod Cultural Center
Asked her to contribute two works
To their first annual exhibition.
Barbara's was the only figure painting
Among eighty or so on display.

The Cape Cod Arts Foundation
Sent two visitors to select
A single painting for a
Comprehensive showing by
Professional artists on Cape Cod.

Their mounting included a
Description of the genesis of
"Clothesline," which we
Noticed was carefully inspected
By the artsy crowd in attendance.

As Barbara's agent and business manager,
I am open to expressions of interest
In the paintings hanging or stored in our house.
The total was sixty when last we counted.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

My Cardiologist was Sacked

Cardiology is a big business on Cape Cod
Where the demographics are skewed to medicare patients.
Two big groups of heart care specialists
Vie for the business of senior citizens.

A letter from the head of my service arrived recently
Announcing the departure of my latest, and third cardiologist.
The first two departed to Boston and more prestigious posts.
The latest has no known destination, according to the letter.

This is strange from an additional viewpoint:
When a physician leaves a stable of patients,
He/she usually writes a personal letter to them
With assurances that they will be well cared for by someone else.

I can only conclude that he was sacked.
What for, remains a mystery.
He was (is) an odd duck, looking and dressed like
A software programmer from Silicon Valley.

During the first visit, he asked for my forecast of the stock market,
Offering no particular comments on my heart condition.
In the second, he bristled at my questions on the safety of statins,
Asking me if I wanted to die of clogged arteries.

Now someone else "will be chosen for me."
Who can be exchanged for a physician of my choice.
Does it really make any difference?
Nothing more of significance can be done for me.

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