After 50 years of dieting (I was a fat kid too), I have to concede that my old classmate was right when she answered my question at a high school reunion on how she stayed so thin: “You can’t eat anything and you have to exercise all of the time.”
And the secret to becoming famous? Now that truly is a secret! Not being athletic or otherwise talented, I have often resorted to the antics of Lucy Ricardo when trying to sneak into Ricky’s nightclub act. In one "I Love Lucy" episode, however, she got Ricky to agree to feature her if she could squeeze into the small costume of a performer who had quit. Lucy starved, exercised and steamed herself down to that size. Could that be the answer for me?
To find out, I’m about to launch my latest strategy for getting thin and famous—but it will be a lot more fun than Lucy's weight loss regimen! I will walk and write about the Mystic Seafarers Trail—a path I designed to include “The 7 Wonders of Mystic.” It will begin where Amelia Earhart got married in Noank, go past Mystic Pizza to the haunts and homes of famous sea captains and their vessels, including the oldest whaleship in the world--one that saw stowaways, amputations, floggings, burials at sea, and is featured in several movies. The trail crosses the drawbridge in downtown Mystic and goes to the Mystic Aquarium & Institute for Exploration, where the discoverer of the grave of the R.M.S. Titanic keeps his home office, and to Olde Mistick Village, where Gloria, the cranky, arthritic goose has been reigning over the duck pond for decades. The trail moves south to what I call “The Hanging Gardens of Enders Island” located at the St. Edmund’s Retreat Center, where relics such as the withered arm of Saint Edmund, who preached for the Sixth Crusade, are displayed. Then eastward to Stonington, where the discoverer of the Antarctic lived and where vastly out-gunned citizens fought off an attack by the British in the War of 1812.
I will not walk this 10-mile trail all in one day. This trip will involve daily treks back and forth from my home or car. My sidekick in this venture will be my faithful walking companion, my beagle/basset hound, Bailey— a true publicity hound who is already famous. He’s been featured in print and online newspapers, and in a commercial (he is the handsome dog to your left).
When I’m done covering my initial planned route, if I’m still not as thin and famous as my hound, I’ll lengthen the Seafarer’s Trail further west to the hidden tunnel at Fort Griswold in Groton, where traitor Benedict Arnold led British forces to victory during the burning of New London, and further east to include a beer tasting at the Cottrell Brewing Co. in Pawcatuck. Perhaps I will also walk north to the wineries buried in the countryside.
Why do I have all of this time to leisurely journey through Mystic Country? When Jim was transferred here last year from New York, I left a job that I loved in campus communication at a college and began working as a freelance publicist and writer, giving me ample, perhaps too ample, time to walk my hound down several side streets to delve into the back stories of the area. Seeing how much fun I’m having, many have asked me, “When are you going to get a real job?”
Good question—so I have set a deadline. If I’m not thin and famous by September, enough to be cast as an extra in the next major motion picture due to be filmed here (starring Meryl Streep, Tommy Lee Jones and Steve Carell), then I will focus my energies into getting a "real" job—and leave the uncovering of Mystic’s secrets to someone else!
Have any tips?