The Id and The Odyssey; Episode 94
Frank drove Sam, Katie, and Rich around the cape the next day with a particular interest in showing them homes that were for sale. Sam and Katie also visited some small shops in Provincetown while Frank showed Rich historical places and he related the stories behind them. They dove back to the Frank’s and Sarah’s home and ate a traditional Cape Cod meal.
They were having guests over for an evening, some old acquaintances of Sam’s and Katie’s
There were a total of ten people that began showing up at about seven, mostly couples. The conversation revolved around the Kennedy assignation. All of them seemed to know him or the family. Rich’s thoughts were minuscule compared to theirs. Rich was floating in a sea that he neither was able to forcibly stay afloat with glibness or charm. Everyone did their best to make him feel at ease, but he was clearly out of my element preferring silence He spoke only when Sam invited him into the conversation.
When retiring to bed he read another chapter in Sailing Alone Around the World.
Rich was up early the next morning. Coffee was already brewing. He stepped onto the back deck that overlooked the Atlantic surf pounding against the sandy shores. He breathed the surf’s air into his lungs. Only a glint of the sun peered above the horizon and between the gray fluffy clouds hanging above the sea.
Frank walked out the door to join me. “Care for a brisk walk on the beach?”
“Sure,” Rich said. “Let me get my coat.”
“Let’s have a sip of coffee first and take our walk after we get some caffeine in our veins and warmth in our bellies,” Frank said.
“Sounds good,” Rich said.
They went back inside and Frank poured a little coffee in Rich’s cup and his. They quickly slurped it down and walked through a gentle winding path leading to the beach. The surf was strong and loud. The sun halfway crested the sea. Gulls began their squawking and fluttering over head searching for what the receding tide left behind.
“Did you enjoy yourself last night?” Frank asked.
“I’ll be honest,” Rich said. “I’m too dull to think of anything but the truth. I was over my head. Everyone there was well educated and talked about things they experienced that I only know exists.”
“Do you know why Sam brought you?” Frank said.
“No,” Rich said. “It thought it was just to get away for a while. I think he felt my batteries needed to be recharged.”
“What I mean is that Sam could have done without all the hoopla last night,” Frank said.
“When he called me a week ago and said that he was sailing to the Cape he wondered if I could assemble some old chums,” Frank said.
“For my sake,” Rich said surprised.
“Sort of,” Frank said. “He did want to catch up on the latest, perhaps to measure his own worth in comparison with others, but not in a financial way. He is always making sure he is grounded. You see, if Sam begins to see the values of his old friends in himself, he knows he’s heading down the wrong path. He told me he wanted you to see what lays just beyond. He opened a world for you if you choose to walk in. Did you notice how many times he introduced you and embarrassed you with your crack reporting?”
“Yeah,” Rich said. “I couldn’t quite figure that one out.”
“Some of those people can help and the way they will remember is by Sam’s introduction and remind them, if you should cross paths with them again, it was at Judge Stafford’s place on the Cape where you met them. Oh my, say that to them before a crowd and it’s instant recognition. Someday Sam will tell you who to see and under what circumstances, but it is my observation that you would just as soon not see them again.”
Rich snickered. “I’m sorry, I don’t wish to speak unkindly of your friends and it’s not a judgment, but only an observation; they seemed snobbish and uppity. I had a hard time figuring out how you and Sarah and Sam and Katie ever fit in the same room with them. You folks are very smart and versed in the world, but your folks; do you know what I mean?”
“I know exactly what you mean,“ Frank said. “Sarah hates it every time I round them up, but they come at my beckoning because I handle so many of their interests. I rule against them at times because the deserve it. However when I rule for them they think it is because of our little gatherings. Nevertheless, they must know and respect that I’m the judge!” He said with finality.
“Does Sam and Katie want to move here?” Rich asked.
“Sam wants to buy another newspaper or two,” Frank said. “He wants the one on the Cape and so he thought about a second home here.”
Rich’s imagination soured and his eyes widened with amazement.
“You didn’t know that?” Frank said.
“No,” Rich said. “I can’t imagine him discussing such matters with me. I’m making decisions on whether to fill up the tank or just get a dollar’s worth. My Dad reaches in his pocket to see if he has enough to buy another beer.”
“That is a gift, young man,” Frank said. “It is precious. Some people don’t even know where their gas tank is and some people are too rich for pockets.”
They walked a bit further with only the sounds of the sea between them.
“Sam says you are secretive about your past,” Frank said. “Is that so?”
“Yes, sir,” Rich said.
“You’re not a rapist or serial killer are you?” Frank said.
“Are you?” Rich said
“No,” Frank said.
“Than neither am I,” Rich smiled, “I just want my past left behind me.”
“He knows,” Frank said.
Rich stopped and Frank took another step. He turned to Rich. Rich’s first instinct was flight. Frank reached out and laid his massive hand on Rich’s shoulder. “If Sam was going to do anything other than what he’s doing now, you would have been gone months ago. Sam wanted me to talk to you. You see I did the same thing many years ago, only I was fourteen. Sam says when you came to him you were fifteen. Is that right?”
“Let’s walk further,” Frank said tucking his hands in his pocket and motioning on down the beach. “What is toughest about your life?”
“Acting older,” Rich said. “Wanting to act stupid and foolish and not being able to.”
Frank laughed. “With me it was women. I lied about my age too. I wasn’t interested in twenty year olds. I was interested in fourteen and fifteen year olds. I was only fifteen or sixteen myself.”
“How did you get into law?” Rich asked.
“When I was twenty I was playing chess with a professor in a park in New York City. He was quite good. I was quite better. We became friends and I confessed my plight of no education. He somehow circumvented the admission procedure and got me into a junior college. I did well and finally Columbia. I excelled at law. I knew that was my calling. As I walk this beach only my wife, Sam’s father, Sam and now you know that story.”
They turned and headed back to the house. “So you see, young scribe, your secret is safe with me as long as my secret is safe with you.”
“Thanks,” Rich said relieved the burden was lifted. “Does Katie know about me?”
“I don’t know,” Frank said. “If she did, nothing would change, but if not, why bother her.”
They walked a few more steps of silence.
“Do you know the Kennedy’s?” Rich asked.
“Scoundrels,” Frank said. “But one can not hope to enter politics without being a scoundrel either before or after. I’ve represented them in the past and they saw to it that Truman put me on a federal bench.”
“You know what I was doing two years ago this coming summer?” Rich said.
“What?” Frank said.
“I was bailing hay and playing third base,” Rich said. “And now I just had an evening with some uppity schmucks and now I got the confidence of a federal judge who knows the Kennedy’s. Only in America. I couldn’t dream this stuff up.”
“If security wasn’t the way it is right now I’d introduce you to them,” Frank said. “Maybe another time. Hyannis is just around the bend.”
“That’s ok,” Rich said. “I can meet scoundrels any day.”
They walked back to the house and later Frank drove Sam and Rich to a boatyard and showed them his yacht. It was eighty-five foot schooner. Rich wondered about it in amazement. Frank said, “Live modest on land and like a pirate at sea - all purchased with the money of scoundrels.”
That evening they sat before a warm fireplace and shared stories. When Frank said he was ready to retire for the evening everyone else was inclined also.
Rich went to bed and read another chapter of Sailing Alone Around the World.