Weekend and at last it’s time to log off and relax, meet friends, think about parties and walking through vineyards, sleeping late, brunches overlooking the dam, talking around the fire while watching the stars overhead. Early summers out here are heaven..
Like father, like son. Hemingway’s son Gregory and his tormented life in the shadow of Papa. I bet he could write, too:
There are lengthy though discerning portraits of minor characters in Hendrickson’s book. They are of interest mainly because they are neglected witnesses. A kind of rosy nostalgia seems to be taking over when suddenly, in the final riveting act, there enters a grotesque, almost demonic figure, tortured, mesmerizing, a doctor with the prodigious wreckage of three wives, seven or eight children, alcohol, drugs, and adultery trailing behind him, a transvestite who finally has a sex change operation and ends up dying in jail: the always troubled, gifted youngest son, Gregory Hemingway.
He is last seen sitting on the curb in Key Biscayne one morning after having been arrested the night before trying to get through a security gate. He’s in a hospital gown but otherwise naked with some clothes and black high heels bunched in one hand. He had streaked, almost whitish hair that morning, painted toenails, and as the police approached was trying to put on a flowered thong. Five days later he died of a heart attack while being held in a Women’s Detention Center. He was listed as Gloria Hemingway. This was in 2001; he was sixty-nine years old.
All of you in the northern hemisphere in autumn, I’m thinking of you. Here’s William Stafford:
You will never be alone, you hear so deep
a sound when autumn comes. Yellow
pulls across the hills and thrums,
or in the silence after lightning before it says
its names — and then the clouds’ wide-mouthed
apologies. You were aimed from birth:
you will never be alone. Rain
will come, a gutter filled, an Amazon,
long aisles — you never heard so deep a sound,
moss on rock, and years. You turn your head —
that’s what the silence meant: you’re not alone.
The whole wide world pours down.
And out here it is insanely hot and everyone is chopping wood, lighting fires and defrosting lamb chops or steak for a braai (barbecue). Last week was National Braai Day but in reality every hot summer day here is National Braai Day. I don’t identify much with rugby and braais, but sometimes it is inescapable. Alongside highways there are vendors braaiing goat, there are fires going on sports fields, there are charcoal grills in backyards and front gardens and small fires lit illegally on rocky beaches. Here’s the National Braai Day Anthem: