Friday, November 11, 2016


Charles E. Hickey
Our friend Eileen Hickey’s dad just passed. He was 86. Even at his age, he was still a handsome man. He told stories. He loved everything Irish. He was an Army First Sergeant. He had a large family. He met Rose when they were both 18. She liked to dance. He asked her out to dance. Smart man. They married three years later. They were only married for 65 years. They bickered. They loved one another. We saw them together and that was obvious.

I just knew that he would be buried in his uniform with an arm full of hashmarks. But Charlie told his family that he was a citizen first and a soldier second. His uniform was displayed before the casket and it made you proud to be an American.

He raised pigeons. He made many friends because of it. They were of all different ages. As we were leaving the church on South Franklin Street, a flock of pigeons flew off the church roof. Coincidence? I think not.

Three Massachusetts State Police officers led us from Holbrook to Arlington Massachusetts. I felt like a race car driver. In a few more years I won’t be able to do it. We drove the South East Expressway straight through the city of Boston to Johnny D’s. through Somerville. Well, until we entered Arlington off the Mystic Valley Parkway, that’s where it felt we were heading.

I called the Norwell State Police barracks and filed a formal compliment. It made you proud how the young black-booted troopers handled the funeral detail. It has been a while since I felt like that about anyone.

At the Arlington, Massachusetts cemetery, the United States Army gave Charlie a beautiful sendoff. A real United States of America flag draped his cherrywood casket. Anyone who has served knows, even today, how to fold it properly.

“Taps.” Was there a dry eye anywhere when the heavily medaled sergeant kneeled in front of Rose, looked her square in the eye, and thanked her for her husband’s forty years of service to our country? The veteran funeral director told me that “Taps” gets to him every single time.

It was sunny. It was 60 degrees. Not your usual December in Boston weather. Charlie still has connections, obviously.

It was beautiful. It was sad. Thanks to the family and friends, it was a totally awesome perfectly orchestrated day.

Charles E. Hickey, thank you for your life and thank you for your service.

Bacon Robert Francis   
United States Navy Seabee    
093-10- 63

In Memoriam: Leonard Cohen

Dear Barb,

I have been meaning to rewrite my obituary and finally did last night. How weird is the timing on that. I even wrote my visitor list for my open house here at 110 that I won’t be at. I will pass on the funeral home show. By the way you and Allan made the standby list. Ja ja.

Kezia came into my room last night with this look on her face with the sad news.

Leonard Cohen’s famous girl friend Marianne from the island Hydra, in Greece, recently passed. Also. He said farewell, I am not far behind you.

His latest album is playing on the stereo right now. He just said,
“I’m ready my Lord.”
"I am angry and I am tired all the time."
It is called  "You Want it Darker.”  It is really good. Haunting fiddle. Wow!

Don’t you LOVE his voice? Especially the music and background singers. Sandy just said, “It is a beautiful CD. I wonder if it is the Webb sisters from the Europe tour?" Very moving.

Thank you again for getting Sandy and I his Boston show tickets on Kneeland Street years ago. The first time we saw him was at Berklee on Mass Ave. with daughter Kezia. Her idea. I had NEVER even heard of him before.

Judy Collins had faith in him. Especially with his first hit, "Suzanne."
"Suzanne takes you down to her place by the river,
you can spend the night beside her …"
The river was the Saint Lawrence Seaway in Can-ada. His voice was MUCH higher then.

His biography "I'm Your Man" was terrific. I finished it one year on Isla Mujeres on Playa Norte. The video with him and backup singers -- beautiful Julie Christianson and Portuguese Perla Batalla -- revisiting Hydra was incredible. I love the  sound of the Greek mandolin, don’t you? The story goes . . . he was in England; it was cold and rainy. He was in a bank. He had a head cold. The bank had a photo of Hydra on the wall. Cohen asked, “Where is that? What is the weather like there?" He booked it and stayed a long time. He met Marianne there. "Bird on a Wire," he wrote it from his whitewashed apartment. You could see the blue ocean only if you stood on a chair and looked out the window.

Thinking about him all day today. It is almost as if a good friend has passed. What a gift he was to all of us. Even to the world. He was more famous in Europe and Canada than in the United States.

He just sang, "I am leaving the table, I’m out of the game."A single sweet violin is playing. Powerful. Now is a good time to close. Besides something is wrong with my eyes.

Robert Francois Bachand      
my real French name

p.s. from Kezia, thanks to the Lewises, who brought it to our attention . . . this excellent recent article and inteview from The New Yorker

Friday, October 28, 2016


First thing every morning I walk out to the Gurnet, which is in Plimoth Harbour, from the Powder Point Bridge. Well, second thing. First I have a coffee and a donut, which is why I have to walk out to the Gurnet every morning. Spaced equally along the beach road in Duxbury are two latticed sheds that in the summer hold porta-potties. As I walk, I clean the beach and lug everything to these two locations. Once a week I drive down the isthmus gravel road and haul everything out with my pickup truck. Ohh, . . . isthmus is a great spelling word!

Here is my load for this week.
• 5 sandals, no matches found
• 7 orange plastic woven bags. To lure lobsters into the traps? Only a guess.
• 2 worn out red bricks. I collect bricks. Doesn’t everyone?
• 78 cans and bottles. Many are filled with beach sand and even unreadable.
• 3 long planks. I think I recognized one from Hurricane Sandy – the one that hit Joisey.
• 2 ballcaps. One with no markings. The second one is from the Hartford Marathon. It more than likely was NEVER worn backwards.
• 3 Happy Birthday balloons. I see a lot of these.
• children’s beach tools. I find many shovels.
• yellow pails … one
• 87 pieces of oak firewood, partially burned. Each piece is exactly the same length. My guess is that it is from beach firewood purchased at 7-11, but I do not know for sure.
• 57 pieces of plastico. Harper’s Magazine says that by 2050, the weight of the plastic in the ocean will be the same weight as the fish that are swimming in the ocean. They could be lying to me. But why would they? By the way, I would NEVER lie to you, mi amor.

by Bob "Dent" Bacon     

Actually I am not even making a dent in the litter, but it makes me feel good.

Thursday, October 27, 2016

New Mexico: Cimarron and Las Vegas

The TV show Longmire is filmed in Las Vegas, New Mexico because there is less snow there in the spring than in Wyoming.

Sandy and I and our Albuquerque friends, Kathy and Charles, recently stayed at The Plaza Hotel in a room on the second floor overlooking Longmire’s office. It is the Tommy Lee Jones room. 

At the St. James Hotel, up north in Cimarron, just after Fort Union, they don’t really know who stayed where. Their guests were Jesse James, Doc Holliday, Frederick Remington, The Earps, Kit Carson, Bat Masterson, William F. Cody, Annie Oakley, David Crockett (nasty cousin of the real one), Uncle Dick Wooten, Clay Allison and Whitey Bulger. Doc actually practiced his dentistry in town. 

On the first floor is the saloon that has bullet holes in the tin ceiling. We ate there. Charles had elk. At least it wasn't pronghorn. 27 men were killed in gunfights in the saloon. And yes, the hotel is haunted. Room #18 Is haunted so badly that it has a hasp with a lock on it and it is NEVER rented. Something about a poker game where someone won the hotel, only to be shot in the back and killed before he could claim it. He was staying in room #18 at the time.

We have been to Deadwood and Tucson and Cody and Madrid and Meeteetse and Truckee and Gallup and Moab and Tombstone, but nothing compares to this cowboy western village of Cimarron. Population 991. Due east of Taos.

Christopher Lloyd was at The Plaza for two weeks, just before we arrived. Tony Soprano’s sister and an actor from Law And Order were there also. The office door next to the antique store says Sheriff’s Office Absaroka County Wyoming. A woman tourista was going on and on about being Walter Longmire’s biggest fan in Ohio, and would the shop owner pass this news on to him when she sees him next? The antique shop store keeper said, “Why don’t you tell him yourself, he is sitting right there.”

Longmire usually sits in the park across the street studying his script. He is very welcoming to fans. His cabin is nearby, up in the hills on the old Santa Fe Trail. Did you know that he is Australian?

 Our welcoming host, Sean, at The Plaza, had a part in another movie filmed there called “The Ballad of Gregorio Cortez.”

When they film Longmire, they have to change all the license plates in the plaza from New Mexico to Wyoming.

Sandy loved Cimarron, but I could live easily in Las Vegas, Nuevo Mexico. You can buy a 5 bedroom, brand new house with a two car garage for $275,000 in Albuquerque, or a brand new two bedroom for $155,000 with a two car garage, for even less, in Las Vegas.  

Cimarron had a nice little house for $ 67,000. You can even get a full size Coca Cola out of a vending machine for 75 cents.

When a St. James patron was leaving the saloon for the night, the desk clerk said, “Good night Curley, and watch out for the bears on your way home.”

She was serious.            

YCMTS up. Well, maybe the Whitey Bulger part.

your amigo,
Roberto Wyatt Tocino

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

The Gurnet

Christmas Day Was the last time that I walked out the five miles to The Gurnet from the Powder Point Bridge into Plymouth. And that's the truth. Today is a sunny, almost warm June 11th, 2016. Duxbury Beach itself is six miles long and probably the best beach on the South Shore of Boston. It has almost no stones and the sandy beach is wide. Today the Atlantic Ocean is up to 55 degrees. That is what the chalkboard at the Ranger Station says, at the east end of the bridge.

Behind this brick wall is the oldest clay tennis court in the United States. I know because I redid the swimming pool and driveway.

Along this shore are oak trees. The rumor is the acorns came from the bilges of the Mayflower and the Speedwell.

Sandy and I have lived here for 44 years and in all that time no one has called the Gurnet Bridge the Gurnet Bridge, We always refer to it as the Powder Point Bridge and so does everyone else. But history says Gurnet is correct.

Close but no cigar.

“The only good indian is a dead one.”  Toch-away, a Texas Comanche chief, thumped his chest and  said, "Me good injun." General Philip Sheridan said, “The only good indians I ever saw were dead."  Not, "the only good indian is a dead one."

The junction of Careswell Street and the railroad tracks that used to run through our yard was called officially Webster Place Depot in the 1800s. It was mainly used for travelers to summer in Green Harbor and everyone referred to it as Green Harbor Station. The  largest hotel stood exactly where Mamma Mia’s stands today. It was called The Webster. 

Daniel Webster lived on Webster Street. Holy cow, what a coincidence.

"Play it again, Sam." Humphrey Bogart did not say that to Sam. He said, “You played it for her, now you can play it for me. PLAY IT!"

By the way Sam, Dooley Wilson, was faking the piano. He was a drummer. You CAN make this stuff up.

There is a photo of me running here years ago in my green Bill Rogers running suit. Do you remember those? It was taken by a professional, and was printed in the Duxbury Clipper Newspaper. Donna, Randy, John and I ran this beautiful route for thousands of miles. Low thousands, but still thousands.

I start my walk from the parking lot at the west end of Powder Point Bridge, near the tennis court wall. I pull my ball cap way down so I don’t have to greet people. This is impossible if you are wearing it backwards. You don’t still wear your hat during dinner with the family, do you? Pulled way down is exactly what Ben Affleck did on the flight from Fort Myers to Boston last March. Sandy recognized him anyway.

The first group of people you see are the fisherman, both in the water and off the bridge itself. At this time of year they are trying to catch striped bass -- stripers.


Not far from the bridge, you can see Myles Standish monument in the distance on Standish Shore.


 There are two crossovers to get to the beach with your 4WD vehicle, to spend the day ($300 per year).


Almost to the Gurnet, this is the view that you get. It always reminds me of a Clint Eastwood movie set. 

First there's the Gurnet with the ancient light house, Plymouth Light.  Locals call it Gurnet Light. It is the oldest wooden light house in the United States, built in 1768 when we were still English.


It an be seen for 17 nautical miles. Gurnet was named by the English, who were reminded of a similar place where there was excellent gurnet fishing, at a harbor in England. Originally called the Gurnets Nose. In 1776, it was fortified and called Fort Andrew.
When Samuel de Champlain 


arrived in 1606 to map the Gurnet and Clark's Island, he found thick pine forests and native Americans fishing for cod. Halfway to Gurnet there is a section of greenery called  High Pines.

As you can see from the photo, they are long gone. The Indians and the tall pines, but not the cod.

Tall Pines in Spanish is pinos altos. Pinos Altos also happens to be a town in New Mexico, close to Silver City, where by the way Billy the Kid's mom is buried.

Jack Nicholson’s mother would sometimes call him a son of a bitch. Jack thinks that is funny.

Windsurfing on a beautiful day, near Saquish.
Next is Saquish, which juts out into Plimoth Harbour.  

Beach dinner/fire on Saquish with the Armstrongs.
In the heat of the summer we drive out here with David and Robin, and picnic on the small piece of beach property that they own.

There are all kinds of shore birds  and ducks along this beach rose lined dirt road. 

Barb and John have recently become birders and really know their stuff.

A willett.
Piping Plovers OMG! 

Today I saw a pair of willets. 

Another willett.

Last weekend down at Allans Point in Westport, I saw them for the very first time. I am pretty sure these were the exact same birds. Believe it or not there are loons here but you would not recognize them from the ones you see on the lakes of Vermont or Maine.

That is Clark's Island, named for the second in command, being first mate, of the Mayflower. So it really should be called John Clarke Island.

Truman Capote wrote Breakfast at Tiffany's here and Henry David Thoreau waded across Duxbury Bay to get here at very low tide on his famous long Cape Cod walk. Pilgrims held some of their very first religious services on this small island.

A whale is buried right here. I saw them do it. Well what do you do with a beached dead whale?

Walking back, across the bridge again.
You could join me some time If you can walk ten miles. But I do have my rules …….

• No good morning, buenos dias, or buen dia greetings. We are trying to get away from the madding crowds.

• No backward hats.

• You can’t bring Buddy or Fido or Flipper with you.

• No chatting, as we are enjoying the desert-like peace and quiet.

 You know what ?  On second thought . . . 

su servidor    
Roberto Francisco Tocino

I know 177 people's birthdays.