Deitch and Scout Go to the Country and Drink Wine at Night

Scoutie and I drove out to the end of Long Island today, to our friend L.B. Thompson’s house in Greenport, a small village on the choppy Sound where you get the ferry to Shelter Island. The town isn’t quite up and running for summer yet—the tiny movie theatre, closed for the winter, is still closed, and L.B. tells me there are only asparagus at the nearby stand where you pick out your vegetables and put your money in an unmanned box. But the clover is green in the grass, and the lady at Salamander’s, the local gourmet deli, is back from wherever she goes to get that tan and buy those baskets. She has good, hot coffee that you pump yourself.

It was such a beautiful spring day that I thought I’d do some computing at L.B.’s picnic table while Scout, on his second day of steroids, manically weaved from one end of the yard to the other (weaving seems to have taken the place of circling—I didn’t mention to you that the vet thinks he has a brain tumor), but, alas and of course, my laptop battery is pretty much dead. So I called a computer place over in the Hamptons that L.B. turned me onto, and they had just the thing for me.

Unfortunately, though, going to the Hamptons would mean driving for another hour, and that just wasn’t possible. Being A Person Out Here, though, the woman on the phone said she was coming this way after work, and would meet me, with the battery, in the parking lot of the Dunkin’ Donuts in the next town over.

I know they do this in other parts of the world—people go out of their way to be helpful and kind, and even meet you, sometimes, at the Agway, even though you could be a guy with a broken arm, a van, a couch, and a very sharp knife. Honestly, though, I’m not used to it, and I find it…amazing. It amazes me, and embarrasses me, and, really, simply, makes me happy. So thank you, Amy with the aviators and the two children, one of whom—the teenaged boy—smiled and waved at me when I pulled away with my new battery. If it works, tomorrow I’ll be out back with Scout, writing you from under a tree while he goes from blade of grass to blade of grass with his nose running.

Speaking of generous, my friend L.B gets that life is unpredictable and we have no control over anything. If that frightens her (and I’m sure it does), she doesn’t show it. What she shows is simple kindness. She’s invited me to come stay at her place whenever I want, while I figure out what to do with my brand-new life. She’s like that.

Here’s a poem she wrote, published in The New Yorker in 2003, that reflects a bit of this. L.B. never had a chance to meet Danny. I had a chance to meet them both, though, which is another amazing thing. (I hope you don’t mind, L.B.)

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