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.

Sunday, August 7, 2016



Everyone by now knows that I grew up in the Eetalian section of my little town.

Malioni, Monchecci, Carnazola, Tomasini, Delagelpha, Salvada, Decenci, Balardini, Volpe, Smachetti, Bianci, Garofano, Ciccetti, Sondrini, Bongiolatti and Certelli. Most worked at New England Lime Company and most came directly from Italy, north of Lucca and Pisa, where the marble quarries still are today.

Louis Bongiolatti was the leader and organizer. They came to Adams with their familias because they were promised work. Simple as that.

Even today I have many Italian friends. Busa, Santacroce, Demore, Cerri, Boretti, Buccheri, Buccafusca, Candito, Caramello, Lazzaro, Solari, Sanguedolce, Urbati and Pelkowski. I just wanted to see if you were still listening with Pelkowski.

Normal first names were Etalo, Cecelia, Reno, Rosetta, Aldo, Aldino, Santino, Hugo, Maxamiliano, Giovanni and Ippol.

There once was a gardener on the Naval Air Station where I lived for three years. His name was Luigi. He walked with a severe limp, one foot being way shorter than the other. He reeked of fresh garlic. He was 83 when I met him. In the Navy, no one went by their first name, but Luigi liked me and called me Bill. I corrected him once or twice but it did not work.

One-a day he says-a to mee . . . “Bill, I hear you geta married."

I said I did.

“Bill, what kind of a girl you marry -- Eetalian girl?"


He rubbed his chin. "A French girl?"



A Polish girl.

“A POLISH GIRL!"  That answer stopped Luigi cold.     

He thought, he hesitated, he rubbed his chin and said, “She be OK." 

That conversation stays with me, and I quote it word for word.

I have been married 49 years to that Polish girl, Alexandra Zabek. Luigi was right.

Roberto Baconi   90 Howland Avenue Adams Massachusetts 01220

Second Mesa

--> We were standing on the corner in Winslow, Arizona when I came up with the idea of visiting the Hopi Mesas. Sandy and I had seen them, but Abel and Kezia had not. We were on a nine day self guided family tour. Abel had his National Parks passport book stamped thirteen separate times.
Lay a yard stick down pointing north /south, and drive 60 miles at 75 miles per hour through the desert, perfectly straight, and you will arrive at the mesas. No gas stations, no restaurants, no rest stops, very few cars. No road signs and it is over 100 degrees. No one is hitchhiking. One day it hits 112 degrees. You cannot make this stuff up.


We are not in Massachusetts anymore. I can tell by looking around, and by the road signs. Here there are buttes and washes and mesas and draws and even gulches. The language is so different out here in the southwest.  "Do you want your purchases in a sack?" You bet.

Cliff edge houses seem to grow out of the terrain abruptly from the flat desert and blend into the earth. There are three mesas with only twelve villages. First Mesa, Second Mesa and Third Mesa. All over 1,000 years old. 

Second Mesa, which we choose to explore, was settled by the Bear Clan. Television antennae, satellite dishes, and automobiles notwithstanding, these Hopi villages still exude the air of another time. Most of the houses are made of adobe and stone. 

Edward Sheriff Curtis (1868 - 1952) took some of his famous photos here . . .

This hairstyle indicates that a Hopi woman is available to marry.
Hopi snake dancer
Here is a very famous one from Canyon de Chelly 

Kezia did not like the idea of driving into the villages. “What if someone drove into where we live and parked and gawked and stared and took photos," she proclaimed.

The first time we came here, a car in a cloud of dust drove up behind us. The driver hurriedly got out and asked, “Parlez-vous Francais?" which blew our minds. A French tourist deep into the Arizona desert.

To make it worse for Kezia, she had to pee. I stopped, not knowing where to turn next. The dirt roads are extremely steep and dangerous. The mesas are no place for acrophobes. That is why the Hopi chose to live here. 

Believe it or not, Hopi children are playing with bows and arrows. Are they playing Cowboys and Indians? Indians and Indians?

You can see in every direction for miles if an enemy is coming. The Hopi were farmers and peaceful, but their mesas are like islands in the largest reservation in the United States --  the Navajo Nation. And to the south were the dangerous Apache. 

Anyway a Hopi boy walks up to our rental car and asks us what we need. He suggests using the bathroom of his uncle, right behind us. Four white people walk towards the house. Yes we can use their bathroom. Immediately the family brings out their wares that they have for sale. They are a little like the Mexican storefront owners on Isla. Show interest in one piece, and get an hour's explanation of how it was made, what it means, and finally what it costs. 

There are two daughters here. One is pregnant. She tells us she is looking forward to the birth, but not the Hopi ritual of sitting in the hot sun for twenty days and eating only corn and drinking water (following the birth). They still collect eagle feathers, which they say make the rains come. You know what? It isn’t working. This place is dry as a bone. Rick Steves on his television travel show says mix with the locals. Did we ever!

The father who looks very Alaskan has three kachinas that he has made and are for sale at very reasonable prices. 


They generally run from $400 to $1,000 dollars. The Navajo make them also, out of cottonwood, but the Hopi’s are worlds better. 

Years ago I bought a Navajo Kachina in the bottom of Canyon de Chelly, in Chinle, just east of where we are now, for $35. The town Chinle, in Navajo, means where the water comes out. It is nice, but the others that we purchased in Sante Fe and Flagstaff are beautiful and museum-worthy.

De Chelly is pronounced  "de shea."  When the Spanish came, they asked the Navajo, “What is the name of this beautiful canyon?" The Navajo responded, "De shea."  De shea in Navajo means canyon, so Canyon de Chelly is actually Canyon de Canyon.

The kachina that I like -- I own four now,  doesn’t everyone? -- is not completely painted. It is white with a turquoise-ish face. He tells me it is painted with white clay from the desert. I fail to ask him where he gets the other colors. There will be seven colors in mine. 

The closest town is far away, in -- believe it or not -- a place called Tuba City. He says he will finish painting it and I can come back to see if I still want to purchase it. 

I am stuck. We are at his home. We used his bathroom and his time. 

We go back in an hour. I love it, and purchase it. Each feature was painted for a reason he explains in great detail. Each color was painted for some ancient reason. Kezia notices that it has a yellow shirt. That day I am wearing a yellow shirt. Kezia feels it is not an accident that he chose the yellow. Amarillo.

I pay him. He says, “Let me sign the bottom.”

Lizard Katsina
Hopi 2016
Clint Lucas
Second Mesa    

It has a bear claw painted on it also, because he explains he is of the Bear Clan.

You do not have to leave our country by way of a large ocean to feel as though you are in a foreign country. See America first.


As a salesman, I read cars. Well . . . I read car stickers. I follow my not-so-great grandfather, who went door to door and was called a canvasser around 1900. “Always see what sits in the garage," my first sales manager would say. Subaru is probably a shopper and looking for quality and longevity. BMW wants to impress his friends with what it cost him.
What college stickers are there on the cars? Notre Dame or Cape Cod Community? Price accordingly.

I also read kitchens. Brown wood kitchen = lay down sale.  White kitchen probably has five other estimates and will be a pain to work for.

Animal stickers “I love my dog."

Sell yourself, your long marriage, talk about your kids. Easy sale and probably won’t shop because they like you and you built their friend's whatever, and it came out nice and the price was good. So my price will be good?

I just put a sticker on the rear sliding window my pick up truck. It is a Navy Seabee sticker. It helps sales with the fact that I have always sold construction jobs. Swimming pools and spas, fence, concrete and small buildings. On top of that I am proud to have served my country. But if serviceman are asked to stand during an event such as a baseball game or a rodeo, I stay seated. The closest I got to actually fighting was in a bar where Tex Ritter was performing in Oxnard, California in 1965.

Today at the dump a younger guy in a pick up saw the sticker and stopped and asked, “Were you a Seabee?"   

I answered "Yes."

He asked me, "What battalion were you in?"

A battalion can be anywhere from 300 to 800 servicemen. I answered that I was lucky, and stayed in the U.S. as a station keeper. 

I asked him what rate he was and he said BU. That means builder or carpenter. He was stationed in Port Hueneme and Gulfport. So was I, and so was my father. 

"What were you?" he asked.  

"CE Construction electrician," I said. 

My strikers badge was a telephone pole with a lighting bolt through it. Some regular Navy guys thought that I was a telegrapher, but I was a power pole climber and responsible for light in very high places, such as water tanks or blimp hangers and also very low places like runways. Blue strikers badges were few and far between. 

One Seabee friend got stationed on an aircraft carrier. They didn’t know what to do with an EO equipment operator --  bulldozers, graders, etc. -- so the chief boatswain mate made him the movie projectionist of the ship. In the Navy we called them flicks.

Seabees reunion at Poopsie's
 In the real Navy, the color of your badge tells where you worked. White meant that you were a seaman and probably worked on deck. Red meant you were a fireman and worked below deck. Green was airedale, meaning you worked around airplanes. Did I get that right? It has been 53 years. Our badge was blue. That meant that I was a Seabee. C B = Construction Battalion.

The guy that I met at the dump said he helped build a hospital in Iraq, in Fallujah. Seabees build things like airfields and harbors and barracks and even hospitals. They rarely make the news. If there is a disaster in the U. S. they go to help rebuild, etc.

I told him that my dad was a Seabee during WWII and was out of Davisville, Rhode Island. It is not far at all from Ninigret, where the music festival is on Labor Day. Ninigret was once an air field. You can still find some blacktop here and there. I mentioned that I was born on a day when he was fighting on Okinawa in 1945.  He said he came home from Iraq and six days later his son was born.

I said. "Thank you for serving."

He said, "Thank you for serving.”    

And that is all I have to say about that.  Forrest -- Forrest Gump

Bacon R. F.  693 -10 - 63   CEW2