Collateral Sadness

Bea and Ariane. Kate Spade’s and Anthony Bourdain’s daughters. 13 and 11. They are the true victims of their parent’s suicides this week. Their loss is exacerbated by a future of questions and abandonment. Whether intended or not. Also feel for Eric Ripert who found his pal Tony. It’s not something he’ll ever forget. Guilt. Remorse. Who knows. For other family and loved ones as well. These acts take such a toll.

Bourdain’s poetic storytelling was masterful. He brought people from far away cultures into our homes. His joie de vivre was contagious. It seemed. But, his dark side crept out in many journeys as he recalled past demons of substance abuse. Credit him with shining a bright light on the opioid epidemic in Western Massachusetts. It was a catalyst to delve into the rural crises which became a national focus in the 2016 campaign.

Parts unknown. Indeed. Sad sad days.

Parts Known

Back to CNN’s Parts Unknown. Anthony Bourdain this week brings us to Massachusetts. Assumed it would focus on Boston dining scene. Wrong! After taking us to his beginnings in Provincetown, land’s end of Cape Cod, he reveals that’s where his heroin addiction began. From there, he comes here. To Western Massachusetts. Route 91 North to SideTrekFalls. And Greenfield.

Heroin has been epidemic in these parts for decades. My former “facialist” first clued me in to the problem in Northampton in the late ’90’s. Kids of clients dead. From smack. It has only gotten worse as the economy declined. And when hometown sports heroes get injured, need surgery, they get hooked on oxy’s. Yup. Doctors as dealers.

Behind our red barns, beyond our fertile meadows, under our bridges of flowers. What you don’t see is a sorry scene. Bourdain is a brilliant journalist. cropped-shelburne-falls-18_3_21-2

Recovered Scraps

Parts Unknown this season resurrects America’s wasted past. Bourdain’s recent tour to Vietnam was hard to watch. Reminded how many contemporaries lost so much there. As did they. Why? In Iran this week, Anthony was able to get a rare glimpse of attractive, modern, vibrant families at sumptuous if vigilant tables. Where a mystery action can render a journalist couple jailed. It also shone the light on how U.S. sanctions and old transgressions deeply affect everyday life.

Election over. Can we stop talking about gender and race, now. Please. And focus on competence and governing. What? I woke up from my nap. Nevermind.