TO THE HARBOR LIGHT by Henry Beetle Hough


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The former editor of the (Martha's) Vineyard Gazette is not one to officially cap a career by summing up his life's ""significant developments."" Yet Hough finds importance in the lure of the Harbor Light, a local lighthouse which is both a goal and a symbol of daily attainment. Walking there becomes a ""fixed purpose."" Hough gives a brisk accounting, as one who doesn't care to do what he no longer wants to do, of how a man nearing eighty and living alone arranges his life and enjoys some gratuitous comedy--be it a clothesline sporting his newly purchased ""furiously striped shorts"" or the youthful spirits of his collie who leaps up to face level when anyone sneezes. Hough reminisces about old times (which were the best times) but he is certain that ""remarkable things"" like a firefly flashing in a running collie's ruff, ""will be revealed"" sooner or later. As for old age, there are things that are not as much fun as they used to be--""a touch of serendipity is worth more than a glut of contriving""--and one settles for less. But this is no sad sweet song. Has not the old man ""lived in an age of magnificence now gone?"" He has ""'a de Gaullean proportion of the spirit that flourished under a better sun and in better times."" Hough, although a ""stranger in his native land,"" has staked his claim and run up his flag.

Pub Date: Aug. 24th, 1976
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin