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Edie at home in her kitchen.

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The View from Mary's Farm

Cable Free

October 1, 2003

October 2003

I suppose that Red Sox fans are nationally famous Ė maybe even internationally famous. (And maybe even infamous.) Perhaps it is my contrary nature or the fact that all my ancestors came from New York but Iím not a Red Sox fan. There. Itís been said. I grew up in New Jersey, rooting for Mickey Mantle and Roger Maris and, to some degree, this love Ė and I think thatís what it is Ė has never left me.
But I canít watch their games on television. Up here on the hill, the word ďneverĒ is used when we inquire when we might be able to hook into cable. Of course, that leaves us with the option of the ďdish,Ē but Iím not a big television fan and I canít justify the expense. I putter along with the weak reception of a small antenna. Iím able to get the three basic networks which offer adequate options. I donít really k now why anyone would need more. Except when it comes time for the World Series. In 1986, on a small black and white television (fine tuned with rabbit ears), I watched Bill Buckner let the hopes of all of New England roll between his legs. But times have changed and those of us without cable are now locked out of this All-American drama. In fact, it seems unAmerican to me that not all of us are able to watch these late fall athletic dramas.
A couple of years ago, when the Yankees were poised to go up against the Arizona Diamondbacks, I had to find a way to watch the games. I could have gone to a sports bar but that would require a lot of time spent in an unfamiliar environment. That would also require me to sit among a lot of Red Sox fans. Not a pretty thought. I also thought about renting a motel room so that I could watch in private. But by the time the Series was over, the price of the room might equal the cost of a dish plus a year of viewing. So, perhaps I could impose on a few friends? Well, if you can imagine trying to find a friend who would endure watching the Yankees do anything but lie down and die at the hands of the Red Sox, then you have a very generous imagination. At last, I remembered friends from Boston who have a summer place here in town Ė with cable connection. I mustered my courage and asked if I could use their house to watch the Series. Yes, of course, they graciously said, and they sent me their key.
A thrill raced through me. On the night of the first game, I drove over to the dark, deserted house. I let myself in. The house was colder than outdoors. I found a blanket, wrapped it around my shoulders and settled on the couch in front of the big screen. To my amazement, the Yankees won. The next night, I returned, dressed more warmly. It seemed even colder and so, again, I sat wrapped like a mummy, eyes glued to the tube. The competition teetered one way and then the other, the Diamondbacks inching ahead, then the Yankees triumphing. When Scott Brosius hit his last minute, game-saving home run in the 11th inning, I leapt to my feet, threw the blanket off and, in the quiet stillness of my friendsí house, I cheered like a lunatic. On the screen, the noise from the fans was deafening. I felt part of something distant, unquantifiable, and thrilling, which I guess is what being a fan is all about. At last, I silenced the television, snapped off the lights and went back outside into the cold October midnight. On the way home, I didnít see a single light on, anywhere. I realized as I drove along the darkened roads, I had likely been the only one in town to watch the Yankees win. In another heartbreaking game, they lost the Series. That news was buried on the last page of the recalcitrant local paper, apparently unwilling to print anything that does not have to do with the home team. But I had seen it happen and remembered every delicious run.

Selected Works

Articles
In 1992, the Bishop of Worcester condemned St. Joseph's Catholic Church and ordered it closed. The parishioners refused to leave, sleeping on cots and on the hard pews. For thirteen months this was their life. In July of 1993, they were removed by the police. In many ways this was the blossoming of their faith. Originally published in Yankee Magazine in November 1993.
Growing up, nothing I could do seemed to please my mother and nothing she said made sense to me. But when my mother, on the threshold of death, came to live with me, I found what seemed to have been lost forever. Originally published in Yankee Magazine, May 1995
(The follow-up article to Miracle at St. Joseph's.) The Bishop turned to them and said, "Your prayers have been answered, the hard hearts have softened." Originally published in Yankee Magazine, December 1996
A reflection on the power of cooking and friendship and the concept of family. Originally published in Yankee Magazine, November/December 2007
Memorial Day, Harrisville, New Hampshire 1995. Originally published in Yankee Magazine, May 1996
My Articles
Libraries occupy a special place in the heart of a town. Evening events at the library give a strong sense of community and make it seem like a great place to live. And in the wake of the online revolution small town libraries have found a way to not only survive but to be indispensable.
In December 2008 an epic ice storm left virtually the entire state of New Hampshire without power. The residual effects of that storm paralyzed the Monadnock Region almost through Christmas. A first person account.
In 1994, sixteen-year-old Billy Best was diagnosed with Hodgkin's Disease. After several treatments, he ran away to avoid chemotherapy. What happened after that may have been a miracle.
Roxanne Quimby once lived primitively in the Maine woods. Today she owns 90,000 acres of those woods, and her goal is to create a national park to preserve the landscape forever. So why do so many people wish she'd just go away?
Multi-million dollar border stations are rising along our line between US and Canada. What was once the "friendliest border" has become deadly serious.
Renowned short story writer, Andre Dubus, reflects on the accident that cost him his legs.
A trip to Poland discovers a beloved family friend
An elegy for the master of the short story.
Fall comes to The County
Thousands seek healing from this innocent, comatose child.
A complete listing of articles published since 1978
Fiction
An encounter with a sick fox brings a young woman to the heart of her grief