Charlie King!

August/September 2021 News

It’s been a while (over 2 months!) since my last newsletter. I hope your summer has been as pleasant as mine...

Posted: to General News on Mon, Sep 20, 2021
Updated: Tue, Sep 21, 2021

As you probably know, I had a great return visit in to Camp Kinderland in July, and have been sharing - on Facebook, YouTube etc.- video clips of the campers and me singing our heads off. After that, it was back to online performances: first, singing with co-host Lindsey Wilson for the Peoples Music Network’s (PMN) inaugural Ensemble Songswap (Lindsey & I also hosted the 2nd in August); then 2 concerts with Elise Bryant, one to sing down capital punishment for Death Penalty Action and a second with Betsy Rose in the SF Bay Area singing up a storm for organized labor’s right to organize; and last but not least an evening to celebrate the music of Phil Ochs where I was joined by Elise as well as Colleen Kattau, Magpie and the ever wonderful Tom Paxton.

With those performances behind me I was off to:

Summer Vacation

This was my 75th summer vacationing at a family cottage on College Pond in the Myles Standish State Forest near Plymouth, MA. With that deep history, the emotional connection is like the marrow in my bones – to be there is to be happy. First thing each morning, I row for a mile or so. After breakfast Candace and I take the first of our two “trash walks,” traveling the road that circles the pond and picking up the trash that travelers toss out the window – mainly beer cans and empty “nip” bottles. Two hurricanes hit during our vacation slot at the cottage: Henri and Ida. We missed both since Henri closed the forest at the beginning of our time and Ida blew through the day we were back home to pick up the mail and our CSA share. Neither did much damage to the forest, though Ida dropped enough rain to raise the level of the pond by 3 inches or more.

Sharing Songs with Friends

Although I find myself completely incapable of doing any serious work during my time in the forest (no internet, and minimal cell service) I do get to dust off old songs and convene an annual sing-around of musical friends. In years past those gatherings would host a dozen or so for a meal and an evening of song. Last summer we skipped a year in honor of the pandemic, and the Covid shadow haunted this summer as well. But long time friends Hugh Hanley and Paul Despinosa showed up and, though we were few, the three of us sang into the late evening, if not the wee hours. On a separate visit Bill Harley and Debbie Bloch came by for a meal and a visit and Bill gifted us with his wonderful new novel Now You Say Yes. My main activity on vacation is reading through the stack of books that have been piling up on my bedside table all year, but they all got put aside for a reading of Bill’s book, easily my favorite read of the summer.

Real Grace, Not Zoom Grace

If you’re reading this newsletter it’s by the grace of Grace McEnery. For the past 9 months Grace has been guiding me through the maze of online concertizing and social media communications. 9 months closely working together and yet, we’d never met! One of the highlights of vacation was having Grace pull into the cottage driveway with a batch of her fresh made-from-scratch ravioli and a day to share with Candace & me. We agreed that we each look taller in person and that we could spend a day together without talking shop. Candace captured the spirit in this picture.

Into Every Life...

All good things etc...now we’re back in Western Mass. staring at our respective little screens, Candace with her teaching and counseling, me with the stack of mail (mostly bills) that was waiting for us, and writing things like this. Also, way too many online meetings – steering committees and planning committees and executive board meetings and serenity meetings – plus stacking shelves at the local food bank and reaping the bounty of our Wilder Brook CSA. In the upcoming month I’ll be part of a virtual PMN convergence (Oct. 16 & 17) and a concert with long-time friend Colleen Kattau (Oct. 8). More on this later.

For now I feel like Janus – riding out the transition, looking forward to gatherings of song and looking backward to our 3 weeks at my favorite spot on Earth with its amazing sunsets.