April 24, 2023

By Arthur H. Gunther III


     Time was when the family used to visit old Cape Cod for a summer two weeks, but as children morphed into adults with their own kids, and as the years and the money-elite changed too much of that New England landscape from a largely working-class vacation spot to mega mansions and expensive rentals, the beauty of it all became a memory.

     But that may just be my perspective. Not that anyone need care, but there is brotherhood – sisterhood – in noting that I am an old diner visitor where you sat at a counter in front of the grill man working the flattop for your instant order; not the visitor who awaits food served from under a back-kitchen heat lamp. 

     The old Cape had such a 1940s diner in Falmouth, eggs with home-fries, toast, coffee, all for 99 cents once upon a time. (But isn’t it always once upon a time?)

     Speaking of which, in my time at the Cape, it was magic on an early morn to take a slower walk from the bayside at Dennis to the old churchyard off the Kings Highway and just hear the quiet that was increasingly disappearing back home in the New York suburbs, itself once rural. Recharging the batteries it was, thank you. 

     In later seasons, after painting became a thing, visits to Edward Hopper’s South Truro area would spur interest and appreciation, not only in the American realist’s iconic work but in the spirit of old Cape Cod that drew him and Josephine Nivison, his painter spouse, there for summers 1930s-1960s.

     Every spot in the world, save the killing fields of war and poverty and despots and earth chilled by the effects of greed, has its draw, its magic. God’s gift, whether that be from your religion’s master or that of the woods, fields, stream, mountains and the inherent goodness of humanity.

     My Cape days are over, replaced by a closer look at my immediate surroundings in New York to see what I have overlooked. The memories linger, though, so bless the old Cape, the new one too in hopes someone else is now taking that early walk on the morn to the Kings Highway.

     The writer is a retired newspaperman. ahgunther@yahoo.com