new england in july, part four (final)

Our next stop was in Northampton, near Amherst, in western Massachusetts. It's an artsy, organic, progressive area, with a lot of college (meaning university) students, activism, music, art, good food, used bookstores and all the rest. Our friend and nephew D has lived there off and on for many years. He's about to pull up stakes to re-join his partner in acupuncture school in New Mexico. They met in a bodywork and holistic healing institute. She is also an herbalist, and with acupuncture added to their repertoire they will one day have a holistic practice together. This was an opportunity to see D before he heads back out west.

D is a great friend of ours, and had a great time talking, eating, drinking, and seeing a bit of his community. We even got in a small dog fix, taking a walk in the woods with "his" dog, a border collie he has taken care of and spends time with.

D is also an avid sports fan, mostly football but also baseball, and we're pretty much the only people he shares that with. We were going to ask him if we could watch the Red Sox game in a bar - a great treat for us, being in Massachusetts and all - when he said, "Do you guys want to watch a game?" We caught the last half of Monday night's game in a bar in town. On Tuesday we went to a spot he frequents, an organic cafe/bar/used-book store housed in an old mill over a stream. The owner is a Sox fan who keeps a small flat-screen TV behind the bar. We ate organic noodles and sandwiches and drank sangria and watched an exciting pitching duel between Daisuke Matsuzaka and C.C. Sabbathia. Sox won 1-0.

Allan and I also met Charlie, an old friend of mine. Charlie and I were once very close, but last saw each other shortly after high school. He Googled me a few weeks ago, out of the blue. Turns out he lives in the same town as my nephew - in fact, D has played music to benefit some of Charlie's peace activism - and he got in touch just as I was about to visit. It was great to see him. He's a very intelligent, creative, open-minded person. The three of us easily could have talked all day.

The other thing I did in New England: drank large amounts of iced coffee. Oh boy. Although I found a workaround for my iced coffee problem, there is no substitute for being able to get The Real Thing everywhere. D works in a cafe that makes the best coffee I've ever tasted. (This is their other branch. Both super fabulous.) So not only was the coffee delicious and plentiful, it was free. Can't beat it.

We drove back on Wednesday, happy as always to come home to Canada and to our pups. My new weekend gig starts tomorrow night. Hope you are all well. Feel free to catch me up on news.

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