R&R WITH OLD FRIENDS – Garry Armstrong

It was our time for a bit of R & R in the lush Connecticut woods, far from the madding crowd. It’s another world where we can recharge our life force and mental batteries.


Our hosts are the kindly friends for whom we are grateful. We’ve known Tom for more than 50 years dating back to our days in college when we and our world was young. We’ve known Ellin – it seems forever – or since she married Tommy and immediately improved the quality of life for all of us.

Our mini-vacation included time at the marina where everyone seems utterly relaxed — except when they are rehabbing their boats for another summer on the water. The much-maligned weather put on a good face for us.



Sunshine and summer-like temperatures were abundant. It was warm but not uncomfortable. The breeze from the water made it almost perfect as we relaxed for an afternoon of doing absolutely nothing.

Marilyn and the camera

Garry at pier’s end

Tom apologized for not taking the boat out because the water was a bit too choppy for his taste. No worries, we repeatedly told him as we soaked up the afternoon sun, chatting about stuff that brought giggles and contentment. Really. NO worries!

I enjoyed looking at the names of the boats in the marina and wondering about the folks who owned them. I’ve never wanted to own a boat but have fantasies, thanks to Bogie in “Key Largo” and other movies which romanticize the boating life.

Ellin socializing on the pier

I’ve always thought I’d name my boat “The Busted Flush” after fictional detective Travis McGee who chased bad guys in his trusty little houseboat which also provided room for romantic interludes with his miscellaneous yet somehow dubious love interests. Hey, just a passing fancy.

Tom has schooled me in the difficulties of keeping “Serenity” in running condition. I’m good being a guest.

There’s so much to see just relaxing with Tommy and Ellin in the Marina. The setting is soothing. You can drift off mentally without a worry. No obsessing about what’s happening in our politically-challenged world. That stuff is blocked out for a few precious hours. I could actually feel my heartbeat slowing. Just what the doctor ordered.

Tom and Ellin on the boat

Back at “La Casa Bonita” of Tom and Ellin, it’s more of the easy life — at least for us, the guests. The conversation ramps up during the evening “News Hour.” Imagine sitting between two guys who’ve logged 80 years in network and top market TV News.  The old, war stories fill the air spiced with profanities that befit we who ducked idiot management suits from the “Tricky Dick Era” to today’s “Follies of Donzo.”

We can name drop with the best of them. Hell,  Tom and I have probably sent myriad suits seeking psychiatric care because we refused to tolerate their idiocy.

Tom is the master of his impressive entertainment room. He’s introduced Marilyn and me to shows and movies we never knew existed.

Tom, the telly, and Remy

One thing that impressed me — I looked and looked around the walls and notices no awards reflecting Tommy’s long and accomplished career at the highest level of TV News. I know he’s been in the cross-hairs of some of the biggest news stories over half a century. No collection of hardware — unlike me.  Tom doesn’t need any stinkin’ bodges.


Marilyn and I were very reluctant to leave Tommy and Ellin and the comfy good feeling they bestowed on us, but our dogs were calling us homeward.

We have an invite to return with Tommy taking us for a trip aboard “Serenity” when the seas are smoother. I’m already dreaming about it.

Categories: Boats, dogs, Garry Armstrong, Harbors, marina, Photography, Water

Tags: , , , , , , ,

27 replies

  1. What a treat, Garry! With the addition of your Cochlea Implant, you were able, I imagine, to hear, as well as see and smell, the ocean. I’m sitting here in oppressive heat this afternoon, imagining myself with you, Marilyn, Tom, and Ellin eating lobster and Maine steamers right off the dock.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I know they are suffering a massive overage of lobsters in Maine because of Donzos idiotic tarriffs, so I’m hoping we get some of them. But I have an awful feeling this is going to ruin the lobstering industry and NO ONE is going to be eating them anymore. Unless we get them from Canada.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Marilyn, my apology for being so late in replying. You’re not alone. Garry deserved an apology also. 😱 Donzo has no conscience or consciousness of anything outside his bubble. He put his white nationalism on the line for all to see, and the GOP goose-stepped behind him in the big parade. Good for Nancy. She stood tall. Rep. Congressmen minus four showed their color(s). They were all white and all silent.

        Liked by 1 person

    • Hey, Gordon. Good to hear from you. I hope all’s well. Hate to burst your bubble — but no lobster and/or steamers. Too pricey. Sounds more like the 70-90’s — during our prime with Martha’s Vineyard summer cookouts. Nevertheless, Ellin and Tommy, as previously noted, put out marvelous spreads — treating us like royalty. No, not like Donzo’s “specialties”. I wish Queen Elizabeth HAD ordered Mickey Dees for Donzo. Heck, he wudda thought it was the Buckingham Palace Honors Meal. What a wanker! Gordon, I could the water puffering and bubbling — courtesy the Cochlear Implant.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Nothing so sweet as spending some down time with old friends.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Travis McGee…what a wonderful name from the past. The saying among boat owners down here in sunny FL: The two happiest days in your life are the day you buy a boat and the day you sell it. I will live out my boating adventures, vicariously, through you and Marilyn. Sounds like the good life, Garry.

    Liked by 1 person

    • They say here that it’s better to have a friend with a boat that to have to own a boat. I did have a boat, albeit a VERY small sailboat (just 16 feet) and even that took quite a lot of care. But if you can do it. Well, think RV but sailing the ocean and hopefully, without the traffic jams!

      Liked by 2 people

    • Lois, so glad you’re familiar with Travis. I really loved all the books and reread them many times. I have fantasized living Travis’ life. Our time with Tom and Ellin — Travis would approve. It feels good to write about something nice in our lives as opposed to our usual rants about the state of the nation.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Having read this soothing and heart-warming tale, I NOW understand why people are just staying on their ‘parked’ boat and having the best of times. I didn’t before….
    Another lesson learnt (for me) was my wondering why people would go to a tiny weekend-camper out in the nowhere and stay there for two days in cramped and not very comfy places. THEN I realised that many people live ordinarily in such unfriendly, tiny, dirty, noisy, uncomfy, hazardous conditions, that THIS really is an OUTING and a harbour of peace for them.
    I love boats and same as you, I’m happiest when I can cruise on quiet waters. I’m NOT a seafaring traveller, sadly…. My only contact (apart from swimming) is going on cruises on our lakes, usually from 45′ to maybe 2, 3 hrs and always in very comfortable circumstances. But I thought that all of the above looked very much like an extended picnic and there can be nothing wrong with it! But before everything else: I’m SO glad you had a good time and were able to make the best of this get-together.

    Liked by 1 person

    • First, the boat isn’t cramped, tiny, OR uncomfortable. It’s smaller than a big house, but it by no means cramped or uncomfortable. And there’s an entire kitchen aboard, too. And two bathrooms. And a lot of deck space. I supposed compared to a cruise ship, it’s small, but it also isn’t packed with 1500 other people.

      It was peaceful. The sounds of the water lapping the hull of the boat are like oceanic lullabies.

      Liked by 2 people

    • Kiki — you NAILED it very well. Thanks for understanding.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. And you said you were gonna take a break from writing. Lets face it, it’s a disease for which there is no cure.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ben, you got me. But it’s just a way of saying “thank you” to old friends. You know that song.
      BTW, Bro, you were frequently mentioned as we swapped stories about fun in those olden days.


  6. It sounds just what you both needed and I hope you will get back there again later in the summer.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Sounds like you all had a great time. Everyone needs some time to unwind and relax with good friends.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Good times with old friends is best therapy for the effects of today’s world. Boating is a treat to unfold when the weather is more friendly.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Patricia, so very, very true. The best part may be shared conversation with intelligent and witty adults. I laugh a lot when we’re around Tom and Ellin. No sulliness permitted.


  9. Love to think of you on the boat.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Lovely pictures! Glad you guys are having a great time!

    Liked by 1 person

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