Tagged: letterboxing

Less than five years

A hot August day. Beth and I bide our time letterboxing in a new corner of the world while Mrs. Mack505 is otherwise engaged.

John Cleese guides us in his clipped, efficient Britishness, to a town so small that it has no numbered routes. Our endpoint lies in an old cemetary, pedantically named The Old Cemetary. We park just inside the gates. Strangely in this case, the newest graves are near the front, becoming progressively older as you pass among the stones.

As we step from the truck, my eyes are drawn immediately to the stone at my feet. He’s a firefighter from a local city, dead at the age of 65. My first thought is that he never got to enjoy retirement. Then I notice his wife’s stone next to him. She predeceased him. Perhaps they’re enjoying retirement after all.

I find cemetaries to be fascinating places. Each stone represents a story, a biography, a life. We pass among the stones, noting a few on the way to our quest. The stamp lies hidden in a shady corner, peacefully away from the hustle and noise of the street.

On the walk back to the truck, Beth notices another stone. “Dad, a book!” She runs over to the shiny, modern headstone and demands that I read her the inscription. Teacher – Traveller – Historian. Died in 2002 at the age of 58. There is definitely a story here; probably there are many stories here. We will never know them.

As we turn the truck to leave, I’m drawn to another modern stone. This one is large and shiny, with one full name on it. It’s not a family stone; it’s a monument to one person. It is engraved with a picture of a boy on a swing, and its face carries a poem. The dates are less than five years apart.

Beth insists that I read her the poem, and I do so with a hitch in my voice. I defy any parent to stand in front of that stone and not be moved. Though I will never know the boy or his family, I can feel a reflection of their pain.

As a six year old, she has a concept of mortality. I still don’t want to disturb it with the idea that children younger than her die. (Heck, the idea disturbs me.) We drive away, and I try to explain it away lightly. “Maybe it was cancer. Sometimes it happens.”

Beth chimes right in, “Or something bad happened?”

I follow her lead. “Right. Like maybe he drowned, or was in a car crash.”

She splits a big grin. “Maybe it was a shark!”

Here I am worried about the fragile psyche of my little princess, and she’s cracking jokes to cheer me up. I think she’ll be OK.

Weekend Update

The week in review:


July 25 – Peep


July 26 – Museum of Science


July 27 – Along Nelson’s Crag trail, Mount Washington


July 28 – If I were covered in fur this week, I’d sprawl in the coolest place I could find, too.


July 29 – Don’t tell her she’s too big for the kiddee rides.


July 30 – Acorn letterbox, Essex.


July 31 – Gillis Bridge, Newburyport.

Holiday Weekend

I’ve discovered that my self-image is skewed.  All joking aside, I first noticed it years ago.  If I put a hat on my head so that it feels right, it’s turned about 10-15 degrees to the right.  If I straighten it in a mirror, it just doesn’t feel right.  Since I’ve been doing Project 365, I’ve noticed that most of my photos lean slightly to the right.  No matter which camera I use or how hard I try to level it, the images tilt.  Thank goodness iPhoto can fix them quickly.

Anyway, on to the photos.  I hurt myself on Friday and I’m off work on doctor’s orders until Wednesday, so you will be spared interpretive photography of the ambulances.  Of course, this means lots of family.


Thursday, 5/27.  Mrs. Mack505 and I drove the NH coast in the evening.  We couldn’t pass up some great sunset lighting, and I don’t have many good photos of her ride.


Friday, 5/28.  Early morning on the Parker River in Newbury.  Taken from the new Route 1A bridge looking east.


Saturday, 5/29.  Beth has new Betta fish.  They all have names, of course.


Sunday, 5/30.  Sebastian.  I can’t believe he just turned 10.  I remember when he fit in the palm of my hand.


Monday, 5/31.  Beth overlooking the Merrimac River at Moseley Woods in Newburyport.  We scored the Bresnahan Ducks and Minister’s Woodlot letterboxes today, and left one hitchhiker.

New Hobbies

Like I need more to occupy my time. . .

Yesterday Anita, Cricket and I hiked Mt. Willard. It was a nice day, but a bit hazy.



At the top, we stumbled onto a Letterbox. This is basically like a geocache, but without the high-tech. It seems the hobby has been around the UK since the 1890s, but it really took off here after the internet grew.

I thought is sounded like a great idea, so I brought the concept home. Beth was ecstatic about the prospect of ‘treasure hunting.’ We began this afternoon, with the By the Sea series in Ipswich.
We were lucky, finding a Hitchiker on the first try.

We also found Pumpkin Pez in Topsfield and Ice Cream, You Scream. . .Triple Dip in Newburyport. We were unable to locate Touch and Go on Plum Island, but it looks like it may have gone missing.

So, I don’t need any more hobbies, but this seems like a great way to get out with Beth and do something easy and interesting.

We’ll have to make it back to Mt Willard and trade stamps with Piglet when we can. We’re calling ourselves ‘Cricket’s Crew’ if you happen to run across our stamps.