I resort to taking pictures with my iPhone when I don’t have much to say. It happens more often these days. Here I am again.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m reading plenty and I watch many hours of news and punditry on TV. I have rewarding conversations via email with several friends. Cowboy is always here to listen, although his reactions are quick looks, usually sideways.

I began the late summer as I often do reading about the Battle of the Little Bighorn. The battle was in June but the reading impulse taking me back to 1876 always happens around my birthdate in August 1949. Lately though, except for escapes with E.B. White, I have switched almost entirely to the Battle of Mar-a-Lago.

I’m following this latest story of an endangered nation filing by filing, as well as the five or six other investigations encircling you know who. But I don’t waste my wind anymore. I saw this storm coming years ago. The important action now is in court. The court action sometimes stems from important journalism but I have no expertise in the law and am now seven years retired from newspapers.

I have little confidence in Congress’s ability to right the boat. The rule of law has to be shored up first. My hopes that the right side wins are all with the judiciary and the press. God bless Merrick Garland and Maggie Haberman, among many others. I’m not in it just for the show but I keep considering whether there has ever ever been a better time to be a lawyer or a journalist.

In my spare time, I also do a lot of tangential reading on the internet, one thing leading to another. It’s my wandering attention span that takes me there, a legacy of my daily newspaper experience. I’m also staying up later. It always took me several hours after deadline for my brain to be ready to sleep, even after I quit drinking in 1985.

At any rate, I recently have taken some of my favorite iPhone photos and have stumbled over memorable things about E.B. White, a son and a sailboat. Here you go:

I was trying to watch New Mexico In Focus but was distracted by a debate over Fig Newtons.
Big puffy clouds tend to be my summertime focus but this unusual one on August 21 ended up being my favorite.

This was my favorite sunrise picture though it was mistaken by some for sunset. I should have said I was looking south.
I got to make pancakes for some of my favorite people.
After lunch reading ended up in another debate with Cowboy, this time over bizcochitos.

As with the iPhone, when I’m restless and can’t decide what to do, I often pick up E.B. White. This weekend it paid off in a surprising way. Somehow I was led to the internet and a New Yorker piece from 2005 called “Andy” by White’s stepson, Roger Angell. Reading this led me to the discovery that White had a boat-building and designing son, Joel White of Brooklin, Maine, and that Joel White designed a boat I have always like the looks of — as well as admiring its name — Wild Horses. The boat was built after Joel White’s death at 66.

Wild Horses

Sad as Joel White’s early death seems, I was happy to find out that the Brooklin Boatyard he founded in 1960 is now run by his son, Steve.

So, E.B. White and family carry on for me in many ways. Among other pursuits, I reread a lot of Roger Angell, including his fine New Yorker piece on aging, called “This old man.”

I’ll quit now. I’m going off on tangents again. But one more digression, a sentence and admission by Roger Angell in his “Andy” essay, remembering E.B. White. It’s an impressively honest thought from a profiler and stepbrother and one that may say a lot about writing in general.

“What’s been left out of my account, of course, is most of a life: his son, Joel, and Joel’s wife, Allene, three grandchildren—all grown now, with kids and life stories of their own—and the Brooklin Boat Yard, where Joe built a career and earned a reputation as a master boat designer and builder that matched or continued his father’s as a writer.”

Wait, one more thing. I was reminded in Angell’s essay about one of the greatest opening lines ever, the beginning of E.B. White’s story “Charlotte’s Web.”

“Where’s Papa going with that ax?”


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