Reading and Writing and the Occasional Recipe: A Weekend in Another Country

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Reading and Writing and the Occasional Recipe

A Weekend in Another Country

Monday, May 31, 2010

I’m spending a weekend with friends in rural Connecticut in a 19th century house on a hill with wonderful views in all directions. Just outside the window where I’m writing this I can see a small and perfect garden of purple and white and some spots of pink.

It’s a lazy weekend, that started with plans for hikes and bike rides and wound down to snacks and people reading in every corner of the house. The house is filled with books and magazines that tempt me away from the book I brought. I found a magazine that carried me to another time.

I had never heard of the magazine—it was called Show—and the issue I found celebrated its third anniversary: October, 1964. There were nostalgia-prompting ads, for Hasselblad cameras and Garrard turntables and a tennis resort where “you don’t have to be Pancho Gonzales.”

But it was the articles that astounded me. Thought-provoking, erudite. “Four A.M.,” a haunting essay on that lonely hour by James Baldwin, accompanied by a Richard Avedon photo. A delightful brainy photo essay of the separated-at-birth genre, but this one matched famous faces with ancient works of art. A feature on the 1964 version of Brad and Angelina: Liz and Dick. (Taylor and Burton.) A writer’s chance encounter with Robert Frost. Musings on the definition of success.

And then this: An editorial section headlined “Show Deplores,” which included these:

--“Character assassination masquerading as biography. “ Well, ok, that's still going on.

--“The damage being done to the English language by the space age.” They should have had a glimpse into the tweeting age!

--“The continuing rudeness of a few box office attendants in New York’s legitmate theaters. “ Custom service people treating customers rudely, can you imagine?!

--“The five Midwestern Congressmen, members of the House Education and Labor Committee, who filed a minority report opposing that Committee’s National Arts and Cultural Development Act.” What can we say? The arts continue to be expendable.

Reminders of such a different time on a weekend when a hole in the earth is spewing oil into the Gulf waters and no one seems to know how to stop it. Another Memorial Day. The sun is shining and we go on.


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