Tuesday, May 4, 2010


When I first met Martin I thought he was Irish, like from long ago and his accent had been sucked into the downeaster dropped Rs of Kittery. But I wasn't sure. Today I played Martin in tennis again learned more about him. It was a second date kind of meeting where the generalities are dispensed and we discussed our families.

Martin is not 80 years old, as I suspected. No, I was off by a decade. He was born in 1920. 90 fucking years old! 90! He was in shorts and he said he could play only as long as the cortisone shot in his knee was working. His tale is one for the ages and I've definitely got to interview him. In another twist of fate he was born in Newfoundland, which is part of Labrador. And that explains his accent. His father and three other brothers went into the British Navy in 1940 and only his father didn't come back; torpedoed in the Atlantic. I forgot to ask what ship it was that went down. His four sisters were all nurses. He ended up in Kittery after trips to Europe and Australia.

But for him to be from the very province I'm trying to get to is amazing serendipity. And he wants to go back to newfoundland this year so I'm thinking I'll be the one to drive.

And even though my job hunt has left me cold and hungry I feel things are moving in the right direction. The sky might be falling but it's always been falling. It's 90 degrees today, sunny, my moped is working and my tennis game is improving. People are buying houses and having babies and kids are in the park. The bombs are falling on Kabul, not Portsmouth. If I play my cards right I can play tennis for another 50 years. All I need to do is write my Santa Cruz book.

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Man in the Van by Oggy Bleacher is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License.