, Newburyport, MA


September 5, 2013

A 30-year toast to As We See It

Thank you for joining us Monday — in print, online or in person at the Port Tavern at 4 p.m. — to observe the 30th anniversary of “As I See It.”

As one of just two remaining original cast members — and because Stuart Deane spent 20 years in a Witness Protection Program before rejoining last fall — I have the honor to raise this toast.

And make it a wry toast, as I did at my daughter’s wedding last summer, by turning it into this, my league-leading 224th As I See It.

Contrary to rumor back in the mid-’80s, Rachel Rain was — and still is, I’m pleased to say — an actual person and not a mere fictitious spin-off of Big Freddy who appears here every Saturday.

Admittedly, I started that rumor myself, but I was so much younger then; I’m even younger than that now.

Possibly younger than anyone else here save the upstart majoring in conversation at Stonehill College (young Joe D’Amore), I owe my seniority to so many early descriptions of travels with my daughter.

Indeed, for Rain’s 35th birthday in July, I raided my archives for a collection to send as a gift. Thought I’d find about 20. Found 42, including six that we co-wrote in alternating paragraphs ranging from banter to argument.

And her solo column about several change-of-costume bit roles in “The Nutcracker,” so I include her in a salute to former AISI’ers.

Stuart and I may be the only originals “still with us” in both senses of the phrase.

I’d say “May they rest in peace,” but for the ever-mischievous John Battis and always-feisty Marjorie Melanson, “Jest in peace” would be more like it.

Following a career working with the likes of Edward R. Murrow and John Steinbeck, Ed Bliss set our standards — while Carl Panall, who graced numerous Newbury historical sites and played Santa’s Elf on Newbury Green when not working on Port boats and docks, held us to them.

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