Thursday, September 10, 2009

My summer vacation by Joe Mac

Joey posted a new blog at

Thursday, September 10th, 2009
My summer vacation by Joe Mac
I always kind of dreaded August 1st, when I was growing up,
because although there was more than a month left of summer vacation,
I just figured, “well this is it. Here’s August. And then its
September and that’s when
school starts, so we’re basically done with summer…” On August 1st!
Now that I am…uh-hmm.. older, I see things a little differently and
I understand how families crave for the one or two weeks at the end of August to
get some R&R. I also see now, that for the parents, its really not a vacation, but
kind of like running a camp for your kid- a very fun camp of course- one where
grown ups get to play in the sand and run in the water and take out
door showers and eat sandwiches in soaking wet bathing suits, etc etc.

The McIntyre’s went to The Hamptons this year. (You kind of have to
say that with your jaw clenched and barely opening your mouth- “The Hamptons.”)
Being a Cape Cod guy, I was always pretty much hatin’ on the Hamptons.
It’s like the Yankees-Red Sox thing… ya gotta represent. I had been
out to that part of Long Island, NY just once before, many years ago
and it was mostly for “the scene” and the night life- I lasted about
3 days. Give me Hyannis any day I thought. But we had a chance to go
out there this summer, when a family friend graciously offered us
her house. And so out we went. LAX to JFK 7 am flight with the
Griffster (21 months) and my preggers wifey. Griffin definitely
knows how to travel- he’s got some experience in that department. He
was a gem. From JFK to The Hamptons its another 2 hours in the car.
Again Griff slept the whole way, so we were lucky. When we got there
we were so excited to see our “little cottage”.
It had a beautiful pool and a little herb garden and a huge elm tree
that shaded a gorgeouslawn and patio. It was a very special spot. The house was so quaint
and pretty. When we first arrived we saw all the windows were open,
letting in the breeze. It was good to feel the humidity of the east
coast again. I kind of enjoyed sleeping in that kind of weather. 3
days later we discovered that the house had central air.
The beaches there were beautiful. We got a few really nice days,
before Hurricane Bill pretty much closed the beaches- we went that
day anyway, just to check out the waves. We had ice cream almost everyday and Griffin had his fist steamed
mussel. And to boot, he loved my monk fish… I guess its in his
blood. We did a lot of reading (The Great Gatsby) while he napped
and a lot of snacking too. Good times all and all and so I have
changed my opinion of The Hamptons. I’m over my hatin’ and I look
forward to participating’ again there someday.

After our week on L.I., we drove up to Boston. By the way, the
“upper finger” of eastern Long Island is lovely as well- very
“heartland” filled with farms and farm-stands. It couldn’t have
seemed farther away from the big city. On the way up to Boston we
caught a ferry that took us direct to New London, Connecticut. We
were comfortably early and first in line for the next ferry, so we
grabbed some lunch at the snack bar. We enjoyed ourselves so much
that we lost track of the time and thank God someone asked if we
were in the Ford with Michigan plates (rental). I jumped up and ran
for it. We were THE last car on. Phew… It was a pleasant ride and
the ferry cut 2 hours out of the trip- key when ya got a little guy
along for the ride.

Boston was and is always a must when you’re back east. Gotta do it.
Aunts gotta see Griff, Griff gotta see his cousins. Joe Mac gotta
see his boys. We had a really nice time at the newly renovated
Boston Children’s Museum. I went there as a kid and its cool to take
the next generation there. Afterward, we all- cousins, aunts- sat
outside by the water on a windy sunny day and had lunch and talked
about all kinds of stuff. Never a dull moment with the Macs and all
those kiddies.

When we were the ted Kennedy passed away. We all knew it was
coming, but it hits you when it finally happens. If you were an Irish
Catholic kid from Boston, you were intrinsically tied to the Kennedys.
I think I was fortunate to lived during his time. Much has been
written about his highs and lows, his faults and his charm. He had
become a bit of a symbol for redemption in his later years. I was lucky
enough to have met him on more than one occasion. My father is in the
labor movement and worked with him throughout the years. My brother
and I always thought that was pretty cool. I saw Senator Kennedy and
JFK. Jr. at the first Clinton Inauguration and he said some nice words
about the New Kids. He was, like his colleagues said, very charming
with a great sense of humor. We know the story and place of his
brothers, but I feel he ended this dramatic saga that is The Kennedys
in a very human way. His funeral mass was in Roxbury, MA, what
Bostonians refer to as Mission Hill, at Mission Church where my
parents were married and my grand-father played the organ as a young
boy. I guess what I’m getting at is the connection I had to his
passing. It was a solemn moment for many in Massachusetts. As a friend
from New York said, ‘when something like that happens in Boston it
always feels like a small town affair.’ And those few days epitomized
that sentiment.

After a too short stay in Boston, I went up to Vermont to be in one
of my best friend’s wedding. Unfortunately, my wife had a wedding on
the same day back in New York, so I was riding solo, but there was
quite the crowd from JP going up for the big shindig. All the rugged
Vermonters (is that what they call them?) were testing the city kids
to see what they were made of and we consistently represented. They
thought we might have been sissies but we “showed up.” All kidding
aside they were great hosts and a ton of fun with a great sense of
humor. A very cool proud small town. It was great to get away up
there. My friend is a good man and he married a beautiful and good
Day after the wedding I was on a 6 am flight to meet Barrett and
Griffin at JFK to go back to LaLa Land. The flight wasn’t as smooth
as we would have hoped at first. Ya know when you are on a flight
and there is a baby screaming his head off and you swear you know
the answer of how to quiet him. And everyone has an idea of how to
shut that kid up. Well, that was my kid this time. Griffin has put
on some serious miles in his 21 months and is as cool as the other
side of the pillow. We often get compliments when we land. Not this
time! He was just a little too tuckered out and had to basically
scream himself to sleep. And that’s sort of what he did. THANK
GAAAWD!!! The other passengers were really nice except for the guy
in front of us. He kept giving us dirty looks. Funny, cuz his wife
was really nice and talked about how it happened to her with her
baby, and how she got mean looks and felt so bad. Guess she didn’t
catch her hubby throwing darts at us.
But we made it and all was well in Los Angeles…sort of. We came
home to the fires.
Now none of these fires are at all close to where I live near
Hollywood, but when you see it on the news you think L.A. is
burning. The danger of your house burning down is a sad part of
living out in the hills of southern California. It seems like there
is a “fire season” out here. The Fire Fighters out here do an
amazingly heroic job to save homes and lives.
The skies are dark and gray and hazy for weeks over all of Los
Angeles and the air quality, not great to begin with here, is really
bad. And the ash travels all the way, 30-40 miles, to settle on your
car and your patio furniture. A small price of course compared to
the heart ache of so many, but just trying to paint the picture.
It does sort of feel like you are breathing in the fires of hell out
here. Backing up all those crazy cliches about selling your soul out
here to make it big. So many of us talk about moving back home,
wherever that is. To be back with family and friends and get away
from the smog and the fires and the earthquakes and the high cost of
living. But then the fires die down and the smog clears and the sun
comes out and suddenly there’s no place you’d rather be. For all my
talk against L.A., it has been very very good to me. This is where
my livelihood is right now. This is where almost everyone I want to
work with lives. This is where the action is. So although a cavetch,
I look to L.A. for more. I stop and think of how I am consistently
inspired here to create. I have been extra lucky as of late. I am
knee deep in an album- somewhere between an LP and an EP. The music
is fresh and real and raw and it excites me. It gives me butterflies
to think of it giving you butterflies. Its coming soon. I’m
planning to keep you guys busy til that next

Let’s get this!

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