Though I haven’t a clue what sarsaparilla is, it nonetheless invokes the same brightening tonic in my mind as does the sudden advent of brisk September weather and dry azure skies. Such is the weather today, invigorating from the outset, refreshing and exuberant.

Nor can I resist the petition and recollection of a day at the beach on Cape Cod Bay. The long walk back to the guest house from Race Point over the undulating dunes had me ripe with burnished veneer. And upon arrival amid the flourishing Tea Dance at the Boatslip with its pounding music and astronomically buoyant crowd I quickly replenished my thirst with top-shelf whiskey brazenly accessorized with a Winston cigarette. September was historically the time I traveled to the Cape for summer relaxation, a reward for having devoted tirelessly to the seasonal activity of my erstwhile law practice. It was a recompense I distinguished with commensurate epicureanism.

The retail experience in Provincetown always enticed me.  At that time (1976) there were invariably things that drew me like an elixir, whether bone-handled pen knives, white woollen sport socks or oiled Sperry Top-Siders.  The hardware store on Commercial Street promised incalculable diversion; as did the drug store across the street from the iconic Lobster Pot where often we willingly stood in line interminably awaiting a seat at either the bar or at table in the bayside dining room. An antique store curiously included sculpted items associated with Robert Tate McKenzie whom the proprietor expropriated as American.

Robert Tait McKenzie RCA RCA was a Canadian physician, educator, sculptor, athlete, soldier and Scouter. Born in Ramsay Township, Lanark County, Ontario, Canada, he attended McGill University in Montreal as an undergraduate and medical student, and was an instructor in its medical school beginning in 1894.

The additional consequence of today’s narcotic effect is an enforced summary of time and the acknowledgment of impending though predictable change of season. Equally stimulating is the approach of matters of personal import. The beckoning horizon – perhaps clarified by the breezy weather – is replete with exigencies we cannot ignore. Soon we shall be packing to move. Soon we shall be packing to travel. The absorption does at least dilute competing claims for heed from one’s disintegrating knees and hips, a diagnosis the perfection of which according to my latest medical intelligence is postponed for about eight months for examination by the surgeon, then another two months before any activity occurs on the gurney. The penalty of public healthcare and COVID!

Meanwhile I continue to adjust to the exceedingly prolonged recovery of my broken ribs which in the interim have been thoroughly contaminated with whatever poison inspires arthritis or its multiple variants. I cannot but recall the dialogue between Groucho Marx and his physician; viz., “I want a second opinion!”, proclaimed Marx to the doctor who in turn replied, “Okay, you’re ugly too!” Such is the extent of my overall medical improvement. “Pass the bottle, please!