Monday, July 21, 2008

Souvenir of Cape Cod

In case the urge should ever strike you, please take it from me that spending a week on Cape Cod with an adventurous (you should see the list of adjectives I rejecting before selecting that one) sheep is a bad idea.

I know. You saw it coming, right? You saw it coming a mile away, speeding toward us at 75 miles per hour, blasting a trumpet and waving a large, flashing neon sign that said “DANGER DANGER TURN BACK.” And I’m a fool and deserve what I got, right?

In my defense, I must say that we made all arrangements in light of previous travels with Dolores. We picked an early, less crowded flight. We arrived at the airport hours prior to take-off. And when going through security, we pretended we didn’t know the sheep. We were just two perfectly normal gay guys and a ball of sock yarn.

I was removing my shoes when I heard the tell-tale bellow from two lanes over.

“Lady,” the red-faced security guard was saying, “listen to me. I’m not gonna say this again. You gotta take off the overcoat before you go through. No exceptions.”


You listen, Barney Fife,” said Dolores, tapping her hoof on the terrazzo. “ I already told you three times. This is not a coat. It’s a fleece. It does not come off. Now be a good little monkey and clear the path between me and the Admiral’s Club because my second mimosa is wearing thin.”

“Should we be concerned?” asked Tom, nervously.

“No,” I said. “But he should. Keep moving.”

We were on the other side, double-checking our carry-ons, when a call came over the loudspeaker for emergency medical assistance at the private screening area.

A second later the medics rushed past, pushing a gurney.

“She bit him where?” shouted one.

“On the ass!” said that other.

“Told you,” I said. “Care to split a Cinnabon?”

“I want two,” said Harry.

* * * *

Honestly, at this point a little thing like Dolores sinking her teeth into an impertinent guard’s gluteus maximus is not enough to derail my holiday. I’d already put her favorite bail bondsman on alert and figured she could clean up her own messes.

Don’t ask me how she did it–would you really want to know?–but she cleared security and stumbled onto the plane with only seconds to spare. Tom, bless his Platinum-for-Life heart, had arranged for us all to sit in First Class; so by the time we touched down in Boston, six complimentary vodka-and-tonics later, Dolores was feeling like a friend (or more) to all mankind. We had a spot of trouble rolling her down the gangplank to the Provincetown ferry, but after she slumped into a chair and fell asleep we were able to pass her off as a whimsical and capacious weekend tote. “Fabulous!” said a fellow passenger from Palm Springs. “Bettina Duncan, no? Do you think I could pick one up at Fred Segal?”

“Oh, you can pick her up lots of places,” said Harry.

After three days of quiet, I dared to hope that we might after all have a tranquil stay in Provincetown. Honestly, strolling down Commercial Street in the evening, surrounded by throng of drag performers, gentlemen with outré taste in resort attire and portly, eccentric ladies of a Certain Age, Dolores almost blends in.

And then we met Rutger.

* * * *

We first saw Rutger during a morning chat at the Boatslip with Chuck and Andrew, friends from San Francisco. He was sitting by himself on a far corner of the deck, peering moodily at the bay over a half-empty Cape Codder. He was easily six-and-half feet tall, with jade green eyes and a shock of blond hair sticking up from a leonine forehead. I reckoned each of his biceps, which oozed from a supertight t-shirt, to be about the size of my head.

“He looks so very lonely,” tutted Dolores.

“Don’t worry,” said Tom. “In this town he won’t be alone for long.”

“He might,” said Chuck. “Don’t you know Rutger? He’s a local. He owns Pilgrim Parasailing. And he’s straight.”

“Oh,” said Dolores, falling off her stool. “Is he now?”

“And single,” said Andrew, before I could kick him under the table.

Fifteen minutes later Dolores was back, gasping for breath.

“Well,” she said, “remember how was saying that no trip to Cape Cod is complete without a parasailing expedition?”

“No,” said Harry.

“Shut up,” said Dolores. “Anyhow, it turns out that Rutger actually owns Pilgrim Parasail!”

“No kidding,” said Tom.

“And guess what I’m doing tomorrow afternoon at one o’clock?”

“Taking a pottery class?” said Andrew.

“Pretty,” she said to him. “You’re so pretty. And it’s a good thing.”

“Dolores,” I said, “If you’re thinking of putting this on my credit card you can forget about it.”

She cackled. “Don’t fret, cupcake. We’ve arranged a little barter. He’s giving me a ride after lunch, and I’m giving him a ride after dinner. A ride for a ride. If you catch my drift. You catch my drift?”

“We just floated all the way to Boston on your drift,” said Chuck.

“I wanna parasail too,” said Harry. “If Dolores gets to go I wanna go!”

“Maybe tomorrow would be a swell day to drive to Wellfleet,” said Tom. “Or New Hampshire.”

“Do whatever the hell you want, pookie,” said Dolores. “I’m outta here. I need a new bathing suit and a pedicure if I’m going up in the air. Harry, come with me. I have an assignment for you.”

“I’m not done with my Shirley Temple,” said Harry.

“I’ll buy you the I GOT SCROD ON CAPE COD t-shirt you wanted from the souvenir store.”

“Bye!” said Harry, jumping off the table.

“So,” Andrew said to me, “what made you decide against just getting a dog, like everybody else?”

* * * *

That night and into the next morning we debated whether we ought, in fact, to leave town for the day; but in the end curiosity got the better of us. Dolores came back to the cottage just before dinner, toting a well-stuffed bag from one of the Cape’s most celebrated purveyors of beachwear. Harry was dropped off shortly thereafter by taxi, along with two cardboard boxes that Dolores snatched away and hid in her room before we could get a look at them.

Harry wouldn’t spill the beans, even when we tried to bribe him. He met the offer of a deluxe dipped double cone of Fudge Ripple and Chocolate Chip with a stiff-lipped, “I can’t tell you. It’s official business.”

We double-checked the ferry departure schedules and moved the suitcases near the door. Just in case.

And there was another surprise. The evening ferry brought us Victorine, Dolores’s French-Canadian cousine. She said nothing to us but “allo” before locking herself in the bedroom with the other two, but at the best of times she’s not exactly chatty.

At ten the next morning, they all left in a pedicab for the pier. Dolores looked like a firework, decked out in a brand-new in a star-spangled bikini with little mirrors that spelled AMERICA across the fanny.

Around noon the gang snapped up a table at the Boatslip with a view of the bay. Andrew and Chuck were quite excited about the whole thing.

“I’ve never watched a sheep go into space,” said Chuck. “Have you?”

“No,” I said. “But over the past few years I’ve often fantasized about it.”

“Will we be able to see her from here?” asked Andrew.

“Fairly well,” said Tom. “Of course, for safety reasons the boat won't come too near the shore."

At about five after one, I spotted her. In the far distance, a blue-and-yellow parachute caught the sun and beneath it swung a white, fluffy speck.

“Ahoy!” said Tom.

“Gentlemen,” said Chuck, “A toast to the maiden flight of the Dolores.”

We clicked our glasses.

The parachute slid gracefully through the air in slow arcs, hither and thither.

“Funny,” said Tom. “It looks like she's coming closer.”

She was. Much closer. All over the Boatslip deck, cell phones began to ring. We heard a siren. I snagged a passing waiter and asked what was going on.

“Sounds like some crazy Canadian separatist hijacked the parasailing boat,” he said. “And she’s heading for the inner harbor. Look, here they come!”

We heard the roar of the motor, and then above us, like a Thanksgiving Day balloon gone terribly wrong, was Dolores dangling from the end of the cable. Victorine was screaming “A nous la victoire!” as she drove the boat nearer and near the beach, and suddenly from up above came a shower of paper.

“What the hell?” said Andrew, snatching one of the pamphlets that were raining down on our heads.

“What’s a Fibertarian?” said Chuck, reading over Andrew’s shoulder.

“Get the suitcases,” I said to Tom.

The harbor police were now in hot pursuit of the parasail boat. Victorine tore mad circles around the other craft while Dolores, having completed her tour as a propaganda bomb, started screaming to come down. And then Victorine made a sudden, sharp starboard turn and with a nerve-shattering SPROING! the cable snapped. Dolores, freed from her tether, took off upwind.

“Holy crap,” gasped Tom. “She’s heading for Truro.”


By now every siren in Provincetown was going off and we could hear people screaming in the streets. The parachute careened from current to current and the breeze brought to us a faint but emphatic stream of obscenities.

“Dolores!” I shouted. “Dolores! Try to make it to Hyannis and land in the Kennedy compound! And for God's sake steer away from Kennebunkport!”

She couldn’t hear me. She was high now, up among the seagulls. A million thoughts raced through my mind. Would Harry be traumatized by all this? What would I say to her fan club? How long should I wait before clearing out her half of the closet?

And then a downdraft grabbed the chute and dragged her down, down, down. I screamed. Tom screamed. The boys screamed. The gulls screamed. And in the nick of time her star-spangled bikini bottom snagged the aerial on the top the Pilgrim Monument. And there she stuck, like the angel on the Christmas tree, except this angel was half naked, and yelling FUCK at the top of her lungs.

“Do you think if I asked nicely they’d just leave her there?” I asked Tom.

Alas, they did not. They got her down, fined her a couple of bucks for disturbing the peace and trespassing, then paid her fifty because the aerial had ripped a hole in her fancy swimsuit. By the next day she had five offers to appear in local cabaret acts.


Victorine, last I heard, was holed up in the Canadian embassy in Boston hoping to evade conviction for tying up a captain and stealing his boat.

And Rutger keeps calling the house.

Oh, yeah. Provincetown was really relaxing. How was your week?


Linda said...

My, my, my!! I'd still rather vote Fibertarian than some other brand.

Mel said...

I've yet to visit P'Town. Now I'm going to check in with you to see where you-know-who is before considering it.

Kath said...

Oh gods...laughing til I cried! We've got parasailing where I live, but now I'll never look at those 'chutes the same way.

M-H said...

"portly, eccentric ladies of a Certain Age"... I think I resemble that remark. :)

Anonymous said...

Having spent 10 of the last 15 summers on Cape Cod, I could just picture Dolores' "adventure." And I think your advice about dropping down in Hyannis instead of Kennebunkport the best advice I've heard all this summer! Besides, Kennebunkport has an awful lot of little sharp rocky islands inhabited by territorial seals. They definitely would not provide a "Welcome" party upon her landing. She was better off tearing her beautiful suit where she did. At least she got some bucks out of it all! Oh. And welcome back yourself! LOL

Nic said...


Anonymous said...

holy $hit! (still snickering)

hope you had a nice time in spite of all the excitement.

Donna said...


Angie said...

Given the usual level of craziness in P-town, it would be hard for anything to really stand out... but I believe your experience may have accomplished that. I'm sure when we visit in a few weeks, they'll still be talking about it! :)

Karen S, Lykkefanten said...

Heh heh, I'd said that mine was considerably more relaxing (mostly involving good food, good compagny and lots of lots of knitting!);)
I'll toast to the dangers of parasailing, it sure made fun reading!

Debbie D said...

Holy Cow. Er, make that Holy Sheep!

Snorted my morning coffee through my nose I was laughing so hard.

Poor Harry.

Leslie said...

Your friendships survived unscathed? Let's face it, after spending time with your friend's family you often take a second look at the friend, and a week with Dolores...

It's good to know you had a great vacation with good friends in a lovely locale. Obviously you're well rested if you can regale us with this adventure :)

Nonna Sue said...

I can't decide if I want to take the chance of vacationing at the same place as you or avoid it like the plague. Certainly laughing so hard that I nearly wet myself would cause a run for Depends if Dolores were in the area!

MaryjoO said...

this totally made my day - Mondays are never great, but now today is! BTW, I hope you really had a good time!

Sean said...

If I can recall, you had nice weather! But, so close and no visit!?

Lynn said...

Flight of the Romney. Snort! I don't know why, but that phrase gave me the giggles.

And I'm heading to the Cape tonight; too bad our paths didn't cross. I have no fear of 250-pound sheep in need of a summer haircut.

Anonymous said...

Oh my! I guess asking if you relaxed while on "holiday" is out of the question!?!

Sue said...

And I thought that the Cher impersonator in the bell bottoms that had fishnet for the a**, riding a motorized scooter was eye-catching while in P'Town a few years ago. That was hard enough to explain to our kids so I can't imagine trying to explain Delores to the kids and to hubby!

Glad you got away to the Cape for vacation. It's the best place to be!

Rooie said...


This post is hilarious...and suddenly makes me feel much better about just staying home this summer.

Sweet Camden Lass said...

My tummy hurts from trying to hold the giggles in.


Anonymous said...

Damn! You have been so missed! I'm glad you've had your vacation, but welcome back!

Do you think you could steal Dolores' diary? I'll bet you could make a lot of yarn money selling it...or with bribery. :)

Meredith said...

*snorg* That was pretty much the best start to a Monday I've ever had. I'm glad to hear that you survived your vacation!

The Whiteheads said...

Oh dear...oh dear... Too funny! What would we all do without Dolores?

Anonymous said...

I went to Savannah, where no sheep, let alone flying sheep, were seen. However, there were many "gentlemen with outré taste in resort attire and portly, eccentric ladies of a Certain Age."

Who watches the other sock yarn when you go on vacation and why don't they get to go too?

Glad to see that Harry manages to stay out of trouble, despite of Dolores.

debd94 said...

Thank you for brightening a Monday morning with your wonderful, hilarious writing! I'm wondering if the friends of mine who are vacationing in P-town witnessed Dolores's adventure...I hope so!

Alwen said...

"flight of the romney" - that was a good way to wake up. I'm glad the coffee is still in the kitchen, though.

Raveller said...

Thank you, indeed!

Anonymous said...

What a Hallmark memory for Harry.

Have you ever considered a second career as a romance writer? I just have a feeling you'd write a bodice-ripper worthy of the name. AND worth reading.

dale-harriet said... do *I*! (And my initials are D-H, could it be US?) Now then. Franklin. First, believe me when I tell you, it was NOT the Wisconsin Campaign office that told Dolores to do that; I had NO idea her plans when she ordered the 5,000 Fibertarian pamphlets sent to her on the Cape. My worker (when I revived him after he read your post) SWEARS she told him Harry was going to hand them out on streetcorners. Second - soooo....did anyone around you start talking Fibertarian? I mean, look at the teevee ads; it's clear that Dolores has a good chance still. (I'm pushing the "no tax on yarn purchases" around here.) I do have a request though. When (IF) you catch Doolores sitting quietly, which I realize may require a double-strength Clover Margerita, please tip your head slightly, hold one finger up, raise your right eyebrow and say (loudly) "DOLORES - DALE-HARRIET SAYS 'REMEMBER, YOU'RE A CANDIDATE FOR THE PRESIDENCY'!" If she mentions Marilyn Monroe, point straight at her and raise the other eybrow. Thanks.

Unknown said...


Denise Bein Kroll said...

Too funny! The lengths (heights?) some candidates will go to get media coverage! Glad to hear you had a nice and well deserved vacation.

shannon said...

glad i didn't wait until i got to work to read this one!!

also hoping harry isn't too traumatized by the adventure. he's such a delicate soul.

Debbie said...

Living a few miles north of your vacation spot, I thought I heard something on the news then it went to blackout! Did you get a chance to see Paula Poundstone? she was down there too. What a great way to start my Monday reading!

FiberQat said...

I knew when Victorine came in there would be trouble.

Can you give me the name of the store where Dolores got her swimsuit? I know a few bears who would be interested in getting one.

madonnaearth said...

LOL -- they will have a sign posted saying "NO SHEEP ALLOWED" soon.

N said...

Hilarious! The vacation slide show genre has reached new heights chez Panapticon!

Anonymous said...

one of the Cape’s most celebrated purveyors of beachwear.

The Cock and Bull, I presume?

Anonymous said...

"...just two perfectly normal gay guys and a ball of sock yarn." And the post took off from there. Wonderful.

If you and Dolores plan to repeat this adventure next year, I may be one of the "portly, eccentric ladies of a Certain Age" strolling the streets of Provincetown. With camera in hand.

Lost City Denise said...

Ohmygods! I needed this, I really needed this!

Hooray for Delores! Such panache!

canknitian said...

Having just visited P'Town myself a few weeks ago, your latest adventure with Dolores is even more vivid than usual. It seems only fitting that Dolores would have fetched herself up on the most phallic thing in town.

Re: the beachwear...I take it she was unable to resist Cuffy's 12 for the price of 3 deal, too. I hope Harry was able to take a look around before D made a deal like that with him. Even the smallest sizes would suit a chunky yarn better than a svelte sock yarn like him.

Hope you enjoyed your time in Cape Cod in spite of all the Fibertarian fracas!

Anonymous said...

I sure hope you're working on your second book! You and your crew are SUCH a hoot!

Terri said...

Fantastic post, hope you had a great time and got some rest!

Janice said...

Wiping away my tears of laughter, I want you to know you have topped yourself with this story!!

Anonymous said...

Thanks Franklin! You are such a good writer and the illustrations are priceless. I really enjoyed hearing about Dolores' adventures in Provincetown. Thanks for the laughs.

m said...

Viva la revolucion! I love it.

The Frizzy Hooker said...

i can't read your reports at work anymore. I have been advised to 'get on with it.'

Seanna Lea said...

I don't think I could ever go on a vaca with Dolores. She just turns everything topsy-turvy!

Kristen said...

Oh my god. Welcome, welcome, welcome back! I've got tears of joy running down my face!

Patti said...

I was at Lambtown, in Dixon CA on Saturday (a small, homey little fiber fare) and exchanged Ohhs and Ahhs over some lovely sparkley fiber with a young man in a Delores T-Shirt, that looked strikingly like you, and thought "well Franklin is on Vacation in Dixon CA -- who'da thunk it..." but of course I wanted to give you your privacy so I didn't ask you to autograph my copy of piecework magazine that I had just snagged. Then this morning I read your blog and realized you were actually having a much more "something to write home about" vacation than a little old fiber fare in Dixon CA. Besides now that I think about it, I'm sure Delores would NEVER have stood still for the sheep shearing demonstration or the sheep dog trials. Much better that you were in Cape Cod, and sent a decoy to Dixon.

Anonymous said...

I can't believe it! Delores and I have the same taste in swimwear!


Ellen-Mary said...

Thank you, Franklin. That was hysterical. You really know how to spin a yarn.

(I know, I know "Groan" I'm sorry I just couldn't help myself)

Anonymous said...

Oh my. Dear me. Goodness gracious. The mind boggles.

Jan E said...

Well. Until now I thought rumors of Delores and the cowboy with those margaritas from Jorges in Austin were hyperbole. I must reconsider. And there was something about an accidental fire in the governor's mansion?

"Purely accidental," she'd sobbed. But she was hungover (two of those Jorge's margaritas and you go stone deaf) and more than a little upset because she'd lost the napkin with Dusty's cell phone number on it.

Lucky for her the guard who was supposed to be video-surveilling was surfing the net when they went to call 911. Bail bondsmen here charge extra for (ahem) persons of fleece.

That Delores.

Ali P said...

So glad you got home safe and somewhat sound.
This post was a raucous return. Loved it!!!

PS: Victorine proves that not all Canadian are nice and polite....heh heh heh

Anonymous said...

OMG- that's too funny. I haven't been to P-town in years. Is the Barbie Yard still there?

Anonymous said...

Well, if I never thought to go to Cape Cod, the place is on my list now.

Although I agree that a Franklin penned bodice-ripper would be a treat, I would be equally thrilled by a stab at something Janet Evanovich-ish.

Anonymous said...

Absolutely sublime! (This said after I untied myself from the computer chair - I'm learning, I didn't fall off once! Which is amazing, considering the convulsions of hysteria, from which I'm still recovering. Although I think I scared the neighbors. Again. Oh well, they all make strange noises too.)

It was hard to choose, but my favorite line?

“Oh,” said Dolores, falling off her stool. “Is he now?”

Somehow, I can see myself saying this... ;)

Anonymous said...

I'd just been congratulating myself on a "quiet summer". Should have known all the action would be where you and Delores went!

What a hoot!

Anonymous said...

I love it! thanks for the laughs.

Abigail said...

Thud! I just fell off my chair, laughing so very hard!!

Anonymous said...

So glad you're back to regale us with vacation tales. Just think how boring your life would be without Dolores to spark it up.

Unknown said...

Ahh, one of my bestest friends in the whole world was up at Cape Cod last week curling . . . I do recall she mentioned something about some weird stunt thing that was going on and it having to do with a sheep. I just looked at her and laughed, I mean seriously, she "curls."

WonderMike said...

I think Dolores and I need to go to Puerto Vallarta. Can you check her diary, please???

Oh, and if you've read Patti's comment up above, it was me she spotted, not you. Hee hee.

Kathleen said...

My husband wanted to know how on earth you managed to refer to it as a *maiden* voyage with a straight face.

Nana Sadie said...

Hysterical! Thank you!
Yup...Fibertarian, all the way!

Rhonda the Stitchingnut said...

I mean, you were pretty safe on the ground while watching the impromptu adventure happening and all, but are you sure you came back relaxed & rested? Another vacation might be in order.

Anonymous said...

Flight of the Romney....too bad it wasn;t Mitt.....

Alotta.knittin said...

Franklin, my dear, you are sick and twisted....and I love every bit of it!!! Wonderful, wonderful, wonderful.

Anonymous said...

Franklin -

I read a lot of knitting blogs, but yours is only one of two (the Harlot being the other of course) that I've mentioned to my non-knitting family. I've been trying to explain the hilarity of Dolores and her gang and actually printed out a few entries for my husband to read. Did you ever think of doing a book about Dolores and her antics? I would pre-order it today.

Also, over dinner last night I was telling my husband about the 1000 knitters project. Nerd that he is, he started calculating how long it will end up. Of course he knows nothing about gauge, so we took a guess at rows per inch. Please let us know when it's done and you've measured it. BTW - I would buy that book too if that's what you end up doing with it!

Yarnhog said...

Not sure how I managed to miss your blog for so long, but I'm here now, and I'm not leaving. Still laughing my head off! Oh, god, not Kennebunkport!

amysue said...

Damn! I knew I should of left the Brewster Flats and headed over to Ptown last week. I miss all the fun.

DeanB said...

Why when I saw "Cape Cod" in the title of the post did I think P-town was going to feature in it?

Did you run into the Hat Sisters? They used to be co-workers of my wife's.

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