The Smuggs Chronicle, Part Ten

stories about family memories
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Tenth Day: August 27, 2013

We’re in a booth at 158 Main. Mira’s first cup of coffee is so full that she can’t add milk. Our breakfast arrives. My first bite of pancake is a taste of pure butter.

sunlit-pierced clouds
rising steam from a cup of
black coffee

Frankie chases every chicken in the barnyard at Shelburne Farms. He finally grabs one. Then another, and finally a third. He names them Pearl, Lamoille and Fiorella.

A sheep bleats during the cow milking. It doesn’t stop Frankie from taking his turn with the bovine.

Or Mira from buying a fresh-baked croissant filled with chocolate.

sheered wool
Frankie picking up chickens
for the last time

We return to Burlington after the farm. Stroll down the Church Street Marketplace for the first time in two years. We see the same trendy shops and sidewalk cafes. But the cows we photographed Frankie climbing upon are gone.

clanking beer glasses
over plain pizzas

The Adirondack Mountains rise west over Lake Champlain. The setting sun gleams across the water. But it bears down on us as we sit on a swing bench along the walking path of Burlington’s waterfront. While we huddle on a small bench in the shade that overlooks a small dock, Mira says the unthinkable:

“Let’s go for a dinner cruise. What the hell!”

Sunlit ripples
the Adirondacks through
a summer haze

We board the Spirit of Ethan Allen III. The theme for the dinner cruise is Italian. Two southern woman in black flank a third in an Islamic headdress. One asks for a photo as we ascend the stairs to our deck.

We sit near the stern with a view of the lake. I order a bottle of Chianti, and while Mira takes pictures on the aft deck, I arrange a birthday pastry and announcement

swooping seagull
the crash of fresh-water surf
against the Breaker

Three southern couples sit next to us. I snap a photo for them while on the aft deck. We chat during dinner. They quiz Frankie on state capitals. He answers all but one correctly.

As we return to port, one of them — a white-haired retired professor — gives Frankie a twenty!

sips of Chianti
“Happy Birthday” to Mira
sung with new friends

read from the beginning: Pre-Smuggs Insomnia, the Prequel


photograph by Jez Timms

photograph by Garbiel Gurrola

The Writers Manifesto

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Frank J. Tassone

Frank J. Tassone lives in New York City's "back yard" with his wife and son. He fell in love with writing after he wrote his first short story at age 12 and his first poem in high school. He began writing haiku and haibun seriously in the 2000s. His haikai poetry has appeared in Failed Haiku, Cattails, Haibun Today, Contemporary Haibun Online, Contemporary Haibun, The Haiku Foundation and Haiku Society of America member anthologies. He is a contributing poet for the online literary journal Image Curve, and a performance poet with Rockland Poets. When he's not writing, Frank works as a special education high school teacher in the Bronx. When he's not working or writing, he enjoys time with his family, meditation, hiking, practicing tai chi and geeking out to Star Wars, Marvel Cinema and any other Sci-Fi/Fantasy film and TV worth seeing.

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