life in cape may

Cape May's Good Air

Summer 1985

Posted 9/4/07
By Jane Kashlak

Cape May, NJ - Almost overnight, Cape May's autumn breezes have started to blow.

We were out of town for my father's funeral last week. When we returned to Cape May, I felt fall in the air. Time to pull on a sweater as we sat on the back deck in the late afternoon.

My father was a frequent visitor to Cape May. While others come for the sea or for the birds or for the restaurants, my father came, year after year, for more than 20 years, for one reason: "Good air."

He appreciated the air the way some people appreciate fine wine. He would take in deep breaths to make his point - that, thanks to the unique location surrounded by water, there was no better air anywhere than in Cape May.

When he was younger, he loved to stroll along the Cape May promenade - "walk the boards" he used to say - and breathe in that "good, Cape May air."

As he got older, he was happy just to breathe in the sea air. No need to go to the beach.

I should have noticed something amiss the very last time he visited, in late August. We were celebrating his 90th birthday.

He and my mother went to the beach for the first time in years. He now needed a walker to navigate the ramp to the promenade. They sat together, in the late afternoon, watching the ocean roll in. A week later, he died.

He would always say goodbye using a line from the Irish Blessing: "May the wind be always at your back."

When a stiff wind came out of nowhere on the day of his burial and whipped through the tent on his gravesite, we took that as a good sign.

Now it's time to take a walk on the promenade and breathe some of that good Cape May air.

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