27 January

Birthday Trip to Salem, Mass. Taking My Witch.

by Jon Katz
Birthday Trip

Maria and I now specialize in the quick-trip weekend getaway, it fits the budget but also fits are style, and it is the only way people with farms and farm animals can travel with peace of mind. Nicole from the Cambridge Veterinary Service is running things at the farm starting this Monday and through tomorrow. She is a vet tech, and you can’t feel better than that about leaving your dogs, especially Gus.

Nicole is the one who instructs us in medication, so this will work out well. It’s Maria’s 54th birthday tomorrow, and I have figured out how she likes to celebrate her birthdays. In a very low-key and modest way.

It is almost impossible to leave a farm in the care of others for more than a day or two. We do it for one day and one night. I don’t blog on these trips, only when I get back. I’m bringing my Iphone camera and the Canon black and white monochrome. There is a somber feel to Salem, Mass, when we think about it,  the dark side of America which bubbles up from time to time.

Sometimes I think the refugees are seen as our witches of today.

The trips are simple in theory.

I always listen for a museum exhibit she wants to see, and plan our trip around it. I find an inexpensive hotel or motel near the museum and make a one-night reservation well in advance. The day before, we go online and look at videos of the exhibits she might want to see. I’ll seek out a good restaurant online and make a reservation.

I never give her a birthday present on her birthday, it ticks her off, I hand it out a day or two early, and she doesn’t seem to mind, as long as it is not expensive. Do not ever give Maria an expensive present.

The trick to Maria’s birthday celebrations is to not make a big deal out of them. She doesn’t think she’s worth it.

Maria always feels guilty about leaving the farm, the dogs, her art, but once we leave the driveway, she is overjoyed to be on the road, taking a trip. We stop for coffee and a cookie for her on the way.

This year, we’re going to Salem, Mass., to the Peabody-Essex museum to see an exhibit on Georgia O’Keefe’s clothes and personal design tastes, Maria is up for any kind of Georgia O’Keefe or Frida Kahlo exhibit. We will check out the Salem Witch Monument and maybe the witch museums (some are nice, some tacky.)

We both relate to the Witch Trials there, there is no doubt in my mind that Maria would have been one of the first to be hanged, the Pilgrims would have spotted her witchy leanings and hung her promptly. She is a witch through and through. The first time they caught her talking to a rock or a dead tree would have done it. She also chants in mysterious voices and worships ancient Goddesses. Guilty, guilty, guilty.

I’m sure the witches were creatives, lots of people want to hang creatives.

Gus had a good day Saturday, he only spit up on my jeans once. It doesn’t seem like a big deal anymore. That’ s a gift. He just spit up on my shoe.

We are leaving momentarily, and will return Sunday afternoon. We have about a four-hour drive, we love taking these trips together, talking and laughing and sometimes, listening to music. I fall asleep on long drives at least once, but only for a few minutes. She drives most of the time, I navigate and spell her from time to time.

It’s just the way it works out.

These birthday celebrations are special, I love planning them and thinking about them. I keep it simple and subtle. I don’t care much about birthdays either, they often seem artificial to me, but this way of doing it is fun and has become a tradition.

Talk to you tomorrow.

27 January

Video: Art Class At The Mansion: Keeping The Creative Spark Alive

by Jon Katz

Maria came to the Mansion with me Friday, she is going to be teaching a monthly art class. I’m planning to start my one on one reading class, seeking to revive minds, memory and reading.

Come inside this class yesterday, and watch as we seek to keep the creative spark alive in beautiful people struggling to keep their memories and imagination vibrant and alive. Come and see from the inside for a bit.

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