Metropolitan Homesick Blues

Southampton Stories & Other Stuff

Archive for November 2008

Southampton Snow Fences

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On the winter beach – snow fences follow the shoreline. They stretch out, disappearing from sight as the shores curves away – only to reappear as you continue to follow them. The hard pack that is now the boardwalk is somewhat slippery. We have to walk single file following the slim beaten down path. But, that’s to be expected. Its cold on the lakefront. And there is always a wind. 

As soon as the season advances into the New Year, the winds whip up sand and snow and drop it wherever it wants. Which is the reason for the fences. Snow fences do their best to contain nature’s attempts at rearranging the beach. 

The fences appear every November, red strips of wood lashed to hammered in iron T-Bars, all the way from the Big Flag past Cherry’s Fries. Where the dunes lie, 4×8 sheets of solid plywood line both sides of the berms in an effort to protect the beach grass against the sandpaper effect of the merciless wind. 

Snow fences stretch across the entrances of boarded-up summer beach homes and cottages. The owners put them there to keep out the sand-saturated snow. There’s less to dig out when they return for another season – at least that’s the comfort they take with them back to the city or down south.

In the smalls bays the waves assault the shore with a relentless, repetitive boom. They bring in tiny bits of driftwood, detritus from the lake, to edge the sand with a dirty dark brown outline. Soon the bigger driftwood will come. And the fenced in beach will look wild and untamed. So much more different than in the summer.

One wonders, come spring, how much good the snow fences do. When the snow melts  winter’s work is finally revealed. Sand lies in piles everywhere…on the boardwalk burying the benches…on the paths leading up to the summer residences….around the flagpole and up onto the very bottom of High Street…winter dunes that ignored the porous snow fences and restructured the shoreline.  

Nature does what wants. And for that, you can’t fault the snow fences.

Written by metropolitanhomesickblues

November 23, 2008 at 8:47 PM


with 6 comments

The beauty of blogging is that it allows for shameless self-promotion. And that is exactly what this entry is all about…me.

I wrote advertising for a living, for what seemed to be an eternity. When I retired, I decided to write for myself. Pure indulgence, I know. But, I never believed it would amount to anything. Well, to my surprise it has. Not in dollars and cents, but in the satisfaction and surprise of seeing some of my short stories published.

My first effort took second prize in the local paper and earned me $50.00. Then I entered the Alice Munro Literary Festival Short Story Contest…long title, impressive name. That story earned third prize and another $50.00.

Now, I realize I am not a new nova in the writing universe. It is sufficient, though, for me to dabble on my Mac Book and see what comes out. I write for myself to prove that I can still think…to preserve the ever-diminishing reserves of grey matter they say declines with age. Nobody else.

More often than not, the stories are built on personal experiences. I call it ‘Fictionalized Reality.’ That may sound like B.S., but it works for me. I will never write my life story. I will probably never write a novel (although I’ve got 144 pages of something or other at the moment). And I keep sending my stuff off, wondering how long it will take for the next rejection or acceptance. All of this keeps me off the streets and out of N’s hair.

Recently, I savored the ultimate writer’s moment…The Reading! The first story I wrote in retirement was accepted in the Dorothy Shoemaker Literary Awards Contest, through the Kitchener Public Library. The Prose Section was judged by an award winning author, Eric Walters, and my story, ‘The Willow’, was published in their magazine, The Changing Image. img_53471

Mr. Walters introduced me and told the audience that, “Mr. N has a way with words.” As he continued to expound positively about the piece, I started to feel nervous. 

“Who? Me?” I thought.

I blushed. Sweat broke out on my brow and my mouth went dry. Here was a proven writer saying nice things about something I had written. Then I found myself on stage, staring down at my pages of words and looking up at the audience, afraid to open my mouth.

“You’re going to read your story in public,” I told myself. “How about that!”

So, I did. And you know I’d really like to do it again.

My first public reading as a writer.

My first public reading as a writer.



If you would like to read what got me to my first public performance as an author, send me a note through the COMMENT section and I’ll email you the file.

And, thanks for the interest.



Written by metropolitanhomesickblues

November 15, 2008 at 3:40 PM