It's probably time for me to vent, readers. This past month was hot, humid and full of local disappointments.

The process started when neighbors of mine called Comcast to get the TV and phone special for $79.99. The first visit, Comcast hooked them up and had to come back to change the box because the wrong one was put in and nothing worked. They apologized and gave them a free movie channel for 90 days. Their neighbor moved, and Comcast disconnected my friend's cable in error; it took them four days to return and correct their error. Then, this couple moved to another apartment in the complex, and they were disconnected on a Monday and weren't transferred until that Thursday. I believe Comcast owed them big time for the inconveniences they suffered. Why did we (the city of Newburyport) not allow Verizon their permits for FiOS and have some competition for services?

Then, a very dear friend, 88 years young, was brought to the emergency room on July 24 at approximately 8:50 a.m. Her daughter advised the in-take that she was dizzy, disoriented and had taken a fall because of those symptoms. They were put in a room for two and a half hours before the doctor came in to see her. He apologized and evidently told her they were very busy.

By 4 p.m. or so, her doctor had advised her that she had experienced a slight stroke and she would have to stay until Monday, so I went home believing she would get a room ASAP. At 9:51 p.m., her son called to tell me he was just leaving the hospital. She didn't get a room until after 9 p.m., approximately 121/2 hours after she had arrived at the hospital. What happened here?

Then, on July 27, I went down High Street and saw all the chairs, ropes and tape lining our main road in historic Newburyport. The parade wasn't until Aug. 1. This is our wonderful, beautiful entrance into our time-honored city. It makes a horrible impression on all those visiting us. Next year, I believe this practice should be banned until 24 hours before the parade.

My mother always told me to think of something positive to starve the bad, so here it is.

My neighbor sent an e-mail on July 28 about a couple who came to Boston on the train to visit a well-known university. Upon checking the authenticity of the story, unfortunately, it proved to be false. However, the message was so poignant and affecting, I decided to include it in my article.

The secretary was quite abrupt, thinking them to be country hicks. She told them the president would be too busy to see them. They said they would wait and so they did, for hours. She was frustrated, so she went in and asked him to see these people for a few minutes so that they would leave.

The president strutted toward the couple. The lady told him that their son had attended here for one year, but, a year ago, he had been killed and they wanted to have a memorial to him on campus in the form of a building.

After several gruff comments, the president said, "A building! Do you have any idea how much that costs? We have over $7.5 million in the physical buildings here!"

The room was silent and the president was pleased. Maybe now he could be rid of them.

When the lady turned to her husband, she said, "Is that all it costs to start a university? Why don't we just start one of our own?"

Needless to say, the president's face held confusion and bewilderment. Thus, Mr. and Mrs. Leland Stanford traveled to Palo Alto, Calif., where they established Stanford University.

"People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel."

Mom always said, "Never judge a book by its cover because what's inside just might excite you."

• • •

Sara Anne Eames lives in Newburyport.

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