Vero Beach -The Journey

“Rise free from care before the dawn and seek adventures.  Let the noon find you by other shores and the night overtake thee everywhere at home. There are no larger fields than these, no worthier games than may here be played…………………………..”

There is much more to this quote by Henry David Thoreau,  words that I long ago committed to memory and which have now rattled around in the void behind my eyes for nearly forty years.  During that time they have been a source of frustration, inspiration, motivation and a beacon of sorts –  enticing me, seducing me and guiding me to what I hope is not  a shoreline littered with rocks!!  Yet it appears that this siren song has brought us to this point where each dawn is greeted with the expectation of adventure and noon often finds us in unexpected places.

And so…..after eleven days in Ithaca, one of which the sun shone, we experienced strong equatorial forces tugging us south.  Not sure if it was the begging or the outright  sobbing but Susan’s cousin, Carolyn, graciously offered us refuge at her condo in Vero Beach.  More on that to come.

In our eleven days at home we were not entirely idle.  While Susan fully embraced her passion for the world of realty, I finished rehabilitating an old guitar. It found its way to our attic years ago when Kelsey emptied her college dorm room, and was now perilously close to an eternity in guitar heaven.   But following a major rebuild requiring lots of glue, a few new parts, new strings and three coats of polyurethane I now have a “new to me” guitar which I think I like better than my “good”  one.  My intention was to fix it for Kelsey but on a recent visit to Reno I ascertained that she is well inundated with musical instruments.  All in all, very confusing for Susan who now  keeps thinking James Taylor, Cat Stevens, Elton John or Gordon Lightfoot is in the next room!  Quite understandable…………but possibly not her idea of guitar heaven! (Tom – If you are reading this, think “banjolele!” )  I also pruned our fruit trees and a few other varieties, sealed off the bat entrance to our attic, then scraped and painted the eaves under the roof peak –  balancing on the top rung of the tallest ladder I could find – while humming  ” I’m goin’ to Carolina in my mind”  or was it “I must be out of my mind!”  Since sanity was in question we headed to Batavia to try to sort through some of my mother’s things.  For years she has told us of all the interesting and valuable items and keepsakes we would have fun discovering when she was gone.  Well perhaps it’s because she’s not yet gone that so far we have unearthed only hundreds of cardboard boxes that contain…………………more cardboard boxes and yes – plastic bags that contain…………many more plastic bags!  I would like to say hundreds of bags but that would mislead the reader by several thousand.  Apparently there was never a box or bag one could not find reason to store for our eventual amusement!  After several trips to recycling and the Salvation Army, and careful placement at the curb of an old toilet and sink, which had enjoyed the last three decades well concealed under other such items, Susan and I were experiencing a certain indescribable joie de vivre!  As good fortune seems always to have an open door, we found ourselves dining  Chez Rob and Kim,  the veritable fountainhead of joie de vivre!  As usual, dinner was bracketed by very generous pours which necessitated that we spend the night.

Alas,  the magnetic pull from the south or the repulsion from the north guided us to the terminal gate of Alegiant Air.( Terminal is a poor choice of words to use relating in any way to air travel.)  This is the supposedly low cost airline out of Elmira which flies direct to Sanford, Fla. just north of Orlando. It is low cost as long as all the rules are followed.  They allow, for free, one small carry on that must fit under the seat in front of you; and this airline, unlike all the others, actually makes you jam your bag into the little measuring device. It was most gratifying – forgive me if I say delightful – to see one over-baggaged traveler after another have their “carry-ons”,  suitable only for freighter transport, rejected.  The observant traveler will take note that many of todays’ passengers should also have to take the personal dimension test prior to greasing themselves up for the challenge of adapting their amoeboid forms to ever smaller coach seats!  Politically incorrect?  Yes….. but I am not running for office! ………. Does it seem odd to anyone else that beneath layers of cardboard boxes one would find an empty, full sized, galvanized garbage can —–in the attic?

Quite the digression.  Susan has always taken great pride in her ability to travel light so this flight requirement was a particularly enticing challenge. We were only going for a week and yes she presented at the airport with one small bag that easily passed the dimension test.  She, however, was twice the woman to which I have become accustomed; which is how one would appear when donned with a bathing suit, several layers of underwear, blouses enough for a week, two pair of shorts, running clothes, a choice of sweaters, something nice in case we went out, one pair of slacks – regular fit rather than tapered………and a tube of lubrizol to assist during boarding!  Her shoes and phone charger fit nicely in her small carry-on. Saved $32.00,  ka-ching!

Undeterred from our last adventure, we rented another Hyundai (from a different agency) equipped with front and side coyote guards, and found ourselves pulling into the parking area at our Vero destination simultaneously with Gavin, Suzie and Jameson.  It appears that Jameson inherited a double recessive smiling gene  with a repetitive nucleotide sequence for laughter.  After his three and one-half hour drive from Jacksonville, facing backward in the back seat, he was nothing but smiles, gurgles, kack-kack-kacks and high pitched exclamations of joy -mostly in Arabic!  Most likely brought on by his grandmother’s now slick attire.  Does anyone need a plastic bag?  Sorry, side tracked again. He is an extremely verbal little guy and fast as a sand crab – crawling today but eager to walk.  As lightening fast as he is, at least his whereabouts are always known due to  random but steady outbursts of jocularity!  None the less, after repeated attempts to eat the lamp chord he was placed in detention!


As further punishment, Susan put him through her introductory course in “Spoons.”


Out of doors, yet another type of containment devise was required!




It was a wonderful weekend but all good things must come to an end.  The working world was calling them, and the beach us. So each to our tasks.


This little bit of paradise was not long ago the home of Susan’s Aunt Jane and Uncle John. Fond are my reveries of sharing lots of  laughter with John and Jane while the ice swirled in futile attempt to be gone before the scotch! Tonight we raise our glass to them.  Our days here begin early with coffee and sunrise on the beach. More coffee. A run and dip in the ocean. Stock options. Reading. Lunch. Beach. Dozing. Watching the parade of scantily clad seventy-something babes of rhapsodic pulchritude. Checking my options. Early cocktail..s..s………Dinner – something, somewhere. Wine. More reading. Sleep.       Repeat!

Thank you Jane, John, Carolyn and Bob. We love it here.

Yes.  Retirement sucks!

Somewhere an elderly lady reads a book about how to use the internet, while a young boy googles “how to read a book.”          Ha!

Completely unchained…………………………………………..



  1. jfitzgerald

    Susan & Jim,

    FL is certainly a timely winter break from Ithaca, however you seem to be quite productive while in residence. It’s great there’s a dual benefit of a McC reunion concurrent with your retirement agenda——do you ever vary the sequence of activities? Can see how keeping up with these 2 nine mo old crawlers is taxing, but just wait til you have to start running after them both. You won’t even have to run on the beach any more…

    We thought of you today after viewing of the United incident—–had visions of Jim being hauled down the aisle someday in a “bumping blowup” . They’re now recommend reading the “fine print” for customer rights.

    Have a “safe” flight home. Our best, J&M

    • jmccutch

      Hi Jean,
      It was hard to recognize me in that video! We’re always game but keep missing the flights that need to bump people!

  2. tom colbert

    Jim-as for scrapping the eaves of your home, we your readers are concerned. The rule of thumb is that after the age of 60 one should climb no higher than their own height. As this distance is shrinking with the years I recommend hiring this out-or at least considering moving to a ranch home.

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