Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Goodbye P-Town

P-Town Fireworks

Last day in P-town. We catch the ferry at 3PM and arrive in Dallas at 10:50, if all goes well.

It’s sunny this morning and a bit warmer than last night. About 7 last evening the breeze picked up and it cooled down considerably. At about 9, we stood on the back porch of one of the rooms here at the B&B that faces the water and waited for the fireworks to begin. The wind was actually chilly. We sipped wine and drank Cape Cods, appropriate, huh? The fireworks were surprisingly good and had to have cost a fortune.

They shot the fireworks from a barge just off the pier. The harbor, where most of the sail boats are anchored, was between us and the barge. When the rockets exploded, the harbor lit up with whatever colors the firework produced. Most had several colors in succession, and the water, the boats and masts, and the pier itself glowed in the same sequence of colors, before fading again into darkness. Many of the rockets produced no real spray of color, but just a startling flash that lit the whole harbor followed a few anxious seconds later by a deafening retort, exploding across the water and echoing through the town behind us.

Our stay has been relaxing, refreshing, and fun. All in all a great break from Dallas.

Monday, July 04, 2005

Independence in Provincetown

I am feeling particularly patriotic today, not in that tugging at the heart strings nostalgic way like when I was a kid, but in that deep-rooted conviction sort of way like I used to feel for my religion. It is not confidence in an act or action or even a result, it’s not about prevailing or dominating. It is confidence in an ideal.

If I look at the action of my government over the past three years, I am disappointed and disheartened. In a time when we needed men of conviction and moral strength, we got selfish opportunists. At a time when we needed to reinforce our core beliefs, we jettisoned them in favor of reactionary responses.

But I still believe in the values that have made our country great, and will make it great again: equality, freedom; that we have an inalienable right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness; that government is instituted among men primarily to promote those goals, and not to promote corporate greed or religious dogma; that our forefathers established a nation not a church.

The United States is nothing except its ideals and the people that hold them. It is a living, evolving entity that was not created in 1776 and set in stone thereafter. It is continually recreated with every generation, every congressional session, by every court decision and every presidential election. Given time, what has been done, can be undone and what is left undone until now can still be accomplished.

The US is potential and hope, nothing more but certainly nothing less. We can reach our potential and keep hope alive, or we can horde and conserve and let greed and selfish ambition ruin hope for all future generations.

Progressives have hope, and optimism in the future. Conservatives have fear and distrust the future. Conservatives think now is as good as it is likely to get so they horde all they can for themselves. Progressive think now is just the beginning of a bright shining future worth investing in for all our citizens.

A man without optimism and hope is nothing but an animated corpse. He is dead, he just doesn’t know it yet. Eventually, the grave will call, and he will go down. The trick is to keep him from pulling you in with him.

So I have hope today, hope that we can once again be the great nation we have been in the past, hope that we will, once more, return to our core beliefs and ideas. Our future is in expanding the hope of all our citizens for today and for the future. Our obligation is not let a shortsighted, self-centered powerful kill hope for our future.

Sunday, July 03, 2005

All The Colours of The Rainbow

Around Provencetown

Saturday, July 02, 2005

P-Town Playground

P-Town is one big party that spills out into the street, and I do mean “the” street, Commercial Street, the main street in town. When we exited the ferry, we walked along Commercial, me wheeling our luggage behind me and Clint carrying both backpacks. We were told the hotel was five minutes from the dock. They lied. We walked for at least 10 minutes hauling our overstuffed bags, intermittently asking our friends, breathlessly, “How much further?” I know, for you people who live in a walking city, 10 minutes is nothing. But we live in Dallas, a 10 minute walk seems as daunting to us a trek across the Sahara. The difference in this instance being the animals you cross along the way. Instead of cobras and camels, we saw ripped roid-boys and costumed drag queens walking shoulder to shoulder with straight families (whose kids, by the way, did not even seem to notice the extravaganza playing out before them).

Commercial is a narrow street lined with typical Eastern seaboard, faded wood-framed houses, most of which were converted long ago to restaurants and t-shirt shops. But even with the commercialism apropos of it name, Provincetown’s main street still holds its old charm, from the clock tower of the Townhall to the long, narrow architecture of its waterside structures, it doesn’t take much imagination to place yourself back 200 years ago in this town at the end of the Cape.

On the Townhall grounds, there is an arched granite wall about 20 feet long and 4 feet tall. It is a memorial to the war dead of Provincetown. The wall has four square panels about 3 feet by 3 feet. The first two are dedicated to WWII the third to the Koean War and the fourth has “Vietnam” at its top center, but then to the right, along the edge, they’ve squeezed in a heading that reads, “Pnanma-Greneda-Haiti-Gulf-Bosnia-Somalia-Lebanon.” At first, when I saw that all the panels were full, I thought, “How niave and sad. They never dreamed we’d have so many battles in so few years.” Then I thought how sad that they don’t even have room for the latest war—Iraq. I guess they’ll build another, and another.” Will we ever learn?

Jeff and Ed walked to the top of the Pilgrim Tower this morning. It is a granite cut block structure built in 1907 to commemorate the landing of the Pilgrims. The tower rises thin and tall fom its 30 foot by 30 foot square base 150 feet into the air. Climbing the ramps on the inside turn corner by corner by corner, the only distractions are the few rectangular windows cut in the 3 foot thick walls give glimpses of the scenes belw, and intermitant placards or corner stones giving the names of various Massachusetts towns and when they were incorporated. Each placard was approximately 2 feet by 2 feet most with just the name of the town and a date like Boston 1648. But several had the original name of the city and a date, followed by “named changed to ______” and another date. One marker read, “Falls River 1640, name changed to _________, 1800, name changed back to Falls River 1832.” It made me wonder what was going on back then that led so many town to change their names, and in particular, what was happening in Falls river that made it change its name, then change it back, all in the span of 30 years. It all semed like such a waist.

As they made our way back down the tower ramps, which seems to take longer than going up, we came across a place that read, Swampscott, 1630. I turned to Jeff and said, “Swampscott? What kind of a name is Swampscott? Of all that towns that should have changed its name, that was the one.”