Driving north, I decided to stop late at night in Atlantic City. I hoped to recapture the fortunes I found there on my last visit. Then, I was able to turn an on the house chip into a small pile of money. I was short on funds and could use a little bonus. This time it was different. Before long the casino had possesion of all my funds and I left Atlantic City broke. I was able to find a gas station that would accept a check, but would not provide cash. My next challenge was find a route to Martha’s Vineyard where I would not face tolls. I managed to creep across New Jersey, New York and Connecticut without using a toll road, bridge or tunnel. I had to skirt the well traveled routes and use many back roads. It was slow but enjoyable travel. When I got to Woods Hole, I was able to use another check to book travel to the Vineyard.
While home, I hoped to find a little work to finance my respite. No sooner had I gotten home than I ran into my old friend, Lenny. He looked gaunt, pale, and haggard. He confided that he had returned to the Vineyard to die. He had romantic notions of going off into the woods, staying by himself, and passing on naturally. He was not certain of the nature of his affliction, but was sure this would be his final visit. With the help of our mutual friend Leslie, we convinced Lenny to use his veteran benefits and find out what was ailing him. He succumbed to our intervention and went to VA hospital in Jamaica Plain. They found throat cancer and it was operable. Lenny agreed to have surgery and make a bid for recovery. I needed some time to digest the fact that two very near and dear people were experiencing major medical crises. I escaped with my daughter, Amelia. We planned a trip to Montreal to visit her sister and my other daughter Natalie. It felt like a good time to seek brief shelter from the storm.