I’m writing this from the Portland Jetport on Monday morning. It’s a little past 5 a.m. here and I’m waiting for the JetBlue counter to open so I thought I’d take this time to catch up a bit. I have so many things I still want to post about the trip, including eleventy million photos. Over the coming week I’ll put more of those up. For today, I want to talk about HOSPITALITY. I ask you, is it any coincidence that HOSPITALITY and HOLDEN both start with HO? I think not! Every year I visit the island I am blown away anew at how cheerfully and tirelessly Holden
puts up with us welcomes us with open arms.
This year, we were lucky to get to spend more time with Sue, too, who assists Holden in keeping Monhegan House running like a tight ship. And the staff was great. I must say the whole great-treatment thing hit ecstatic critical mass for me when Sue came out the last night at dinner with that amazing birthday cake, made by the other Sue, who chefs over at the Novelty. And then, when Christie did the Buffalo Shuffle back into the kitchen to cut the cake, well that’s a mental YouTube I won’t soon forget.
["Hmm, I suspect it was a birder, in the laundry room, with a buoy."]
As you all know, I plan to write a TV series called Birder She Wrote, starring Holden, whose fictional name will be Holden Court (say it out loud fast five times). In each episode, a birder will mysteriously disappear, the locals will share theories in hushed and conspiratorial tones over at the Black Duck, Holden will grumble pleasantly throughout the show and then, in the end, with the help of his sidekick, a talking lobster named Armando (and, pronounced, Ahhh-MAN-do), he will resolve the mystery. Each installment will end with a group of relieved and happy knitters in the parlor discussing, in awestruck tones, Holden’s amazing capacity as both a hospitality genius and PI. (I’m thinking this show will be so successful I will make enough to buy Monhegan Island outright and, if I so choose, ban the birders. Which I won’t do, of course, because, dang, Birdman has really grown on me…)
So Holden, if you’re reading this (and I know you are even though you should be up on the third floor showing a puzzled guest how to work those kooky screens): THANK YOU. THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU. That was such a wonderful week. I don’t know how I’m going to carry on without afternoon cakes and cookies.
Speaking of which, for any of you who missed it, Holden—offering still more proof of his never-miss-a-detail superpowers – hauled butt down to the dock right before we left, careening in his little white Holden-mobile, dodging lobstermen and birders alike. And what was the rush? Why he remembered Patty had requested a Whoopie Pie and so here he was, making good on a promise at the last second. Too bad Patty never found out about that WP but I sure enjoyed it. (Just Kidding, Holden!)
Something some of you might not know is that Holden has been coming to Monhegan Island for ninety years! Doesn’t he look great considering? Oh, wait, hold on—his family has been coming to the island for ninety years. Holden’s just been coming since he was a baby so, like, 29 years.
While I’m heaping on the praise and thanks, I want to also give a big shout out to Allison who did me an enormous favor on the drive back to Portland. Some of you know I got stung by a bee that flew into the van and down my shirt. Almost before the bee made his move, Allison had the Benadryl out and got me taken care of. That was such a relief, as was knowing that six very skilled knitters where sitting nearby ready to administer a Signature Needle tracheotomy should that prove necessary. It didn’t. I passed out on the drive home from Benadryl exhaustion but ultimately had just a big itchy welt to contend with. So nice to be so taken care of by everyone. So thank you ALL.
Here are some more pictures. Hope you’re all readjusting to reality as well as can be expected after a week on Fantasy Island.