Once, at Woods Hole, I was deboarding the ferry my friends and I had brought back from Martha's Vineyard. At the foot of the gangplank I watched Carly Simon, with a small entourage, unfold herself from a limousine. She went to stand against the ticket office, cuddling within herself against the chill winter wind, waiting to board the ferry which would turn right around and go back to The Vineyard. Her lovely hands clasped shut, at her neck, her ankle-lengthed coat. I dared approach the pop diva. "Hi Carly," I said. "Can I thank you for a lot of great music in my life? ... I just love so many of your songs." The wind whipped her long blonde hair. Those luscious lips formed themselves into a smile, exposing an awesomely wide array of gorgeous teeth, and her stunning blue eyes sparkled. She pulled her right hand from its snugness and reached it out to mine, "Oh, thank you! Thank you!"
I was surprised at how tall she was. I thought, standing there, that she ... particularly because of her height ... was one of the most gorgeous women I'd ever seen.
And then, thinking of her recent bout with cancer, I asked, "How are you doing?"
"Good! I'm feeling good!"
"I hope so ... a lot of people have a lot of hope for you."
"Oh! Thank you so much!"
I turned away then to head back to my companions and my ditched cigarette.
And then I thought I didn't get it quite right ... I wished I'd said that I'm crazy about the version she did of "My Funny Valentine," with its amazingly counterpointed arrangement on the piano -- an arrangement which precariously flirts at the very edge of disharmony, seeming as if it is surely going to go awry on the very next note, but which, of course, remains balanced throughout, a daring high-wire act of musical agility. It's a song I've heard only once, and that was on the radio. And I might have even mentioned that my favorite of her songs is the sort of lyrics-corny "Coming Around Again" but I didn't even know if that's the correct title of the song; it would have been awful if I'd mentioned some song but given it an incorrect title. Well ... I might have sung it for her, saying, "You know, the one that goes 'Baby sneezes, mommy pleases, Daddy breezes in ....'" I love to sing along with it on the CD when I'm alone in the car. But live, and on my own, it might have offended Carly Simon's ears. People do tend to cringe when I sing. But, who knows, maybe my effort would have amused Carly?
My friends and I had, over the weekend, visited Carly Simon's store on The Vineyard ... mostly one-of-a-kind wear. Outrageously expensive unless you're a pop star. Shirts ... oh, $200. Dresses .. oh, $300 or $800. Outre designs. There were also some hand-crafted furniture, candles, bric-a-brac, what have you ... some books, and, of course, her albums as well as those of other Vineyard musicians.