has a cosmically-inclined history --- part practical, another part decidedly
not. Mariners historically synchronized their comings and goings with
the new and full moons. With the city's shallow tidal river port, traveling
on the highest tides helped them to avoid running aground.
year's Yankee Homecoming celebration coincided with a blue moon which,
tongue-in-cheek, coaxed an appearance by Dexter's spirit (or someone
bearing a strong resemblance to it). He also appeared at the Newburyport
Public Library last weekend during the Hunter
Moon, along with a ruffle-shirted George Washington, 215 years to
the day after the first president's visit.
A wealthy eccentric, he once owned the Tracy House where the public library now is housed and, in 1792, became the primary holder of the Essex County (Deer Island) Bridge. His final Newburyport residence was a house on High Street with the eccentricity of 40-plus wooden statues on the lawn. He staged his own funeral at least once, to witness the mourning of the community. When his wife, Elizabeth Frothingham, failed to appear appropriately distraught, it is believed he struck her several times.8
Lord Timothy created this eccentric character to con the community into
believing he was a fool, when the shrewd Dexter was actually making
money off everyone at the time.
[The quote, exchanged verbally and electronically: "Whether born here or drawn here to this special place called the Waterside ~ staying for a time, a Lifetime or a pastime."]
|(This article replicated online with permission of the Merrimack River Current. Footnotes annotated by the Comity webmaster.)|
- taking "Moon walking" a step further, retracing history, and
retracting any missteps or misstatements, forwarded in a Motion of Comity:
1When interviewed for this article --- in order to put the entire cosmology into perspective, had provided insight about the impact of the new and full moons to mariners' comings and goings in the Waterside's shallow port. However, while this "certain knowlege" is reflected in the introductory paragraph --- the journalist explained that the Current wished to use Timothy Dexter as the focal point of this sidebar piece, thus questions (and answers) would be framed with this specific angle.
With this selected focus, then responded to a series of questions (while offering some context) --- explaining that while Dexter's published anthology often references the term "monne" --- readers might assume he meant "months" because his spelling was very inconsistent and the two words were used interchangeably.
Further, when/if choosing not to publish Dexter's correspondence verbatim et spellatim, the printer would occasionally decipher his penned script inaccurately. Yet references to "holl Lite" and other celestial bodies reveal when the author referred to the moon itself.
Further still, it is said that Dexter kept a Dreambook which followed the synodic/lunar calendar and that he believed the best time to launch any venture to be the ninth day after the New Moon --- nine being his lucky number. (Duly note that he often first consulted his spiritualist Jane Hooper of the Waterside, and when she passed on, Lord Tim frequently engaged Moll Pitcher of Lynn.)
2When asked if one were an expert on Dexter, had instead referred to oneself as an "enthusiast" --- and explained that we were "old friends" and that this acquaintance grew into a loyal friendship in needful times. For one who aspires to be one of the Knowing Ones) a Dexterian doppelganger continues to add light and laughter, wit and whimsy to the ongoing conversation. Then quoting Dexter that "the sole is the thinking part" --- one had plied the wit and wisdom of another Bard from across the pond to "be sure I count myself in nothing else so happy as in a soul remembering my good friends."
3In the primary piece, Moonlight Madness, it was delightful to read about the Korpics children's interest in astronomy, encouraged by their father's pastime and passion for stargazing. This particular quote from the interview was in context of the explanation that this fascination is rather universal, cosmic and timeless: recounting that parents often remarked that "moon" was one of the first words their child had formed.
4One surmised that Dexter and his contemporaries would indeed use the phrase "Keep Pace with the Heavens" which was coined by Richard Saunders (Ben Franklin's alias) to describe the need to adopt the Gregorian calendar in 1752. (A copy of the text of the 1752 issue of Poor Richard's Almanac can be found online at this link without.) This phrase remains most inspirational as the Waterside people (and strains beyond) Race the Moon in the New Millennium.
5In his lifetime, Dexter would have considered the "Blue Moon" to be the third moon in a season that had four moons. Actually, defining the "Blue Moon" as the second moon in a month that has two moons (as was the case for the Once in a Blue Moon opportunity on July 31, 2004) is a fairly recent interpretation, just over a half century old --- a fact which (coincidentally) came to light during the launch the Waterside movement anew early in 1999.
In a manner of speaking, an explanation of how the term "devolved" may be framed with another twist of words of a well-worn maxim: "Oh, what a tangled web we weave, when first we practice to believe" ~ citing the 1946 article published in "Sky and Telescope" magazine written by an amateur astronomer named J. Hugh Pruett (whose writing talents were better suited to tracing meteors than metaphors).
Howbeit, from Comity's perspective, this new twist merely offered an intriguing "ply" with an unfolding history --- and in a nuanced import, expounded upon the need to question "certain knowledge." Thus and so, given the Blue Moon months in January and March of 1999 --- the launch of the contemporary 5-year term for the Plan in Motion in February 1999 to remark the 235th anniversary of the Waterside's establishment as the separate town of Newburyport would be termed a "Twice in a Blue Moon opportunity" to launch the Waterside movement anew, using the bywords, Motion of Comity.
Hoping to adapt a new tradition to the old, the Waterside movement adopted the synodical/lunar calendar to mark progress and convey "tidings" and information flow. The Once in a Blue Opportunity was woven with the basic framework --- and using the Old Style (Julian) calendar's civil year (which commences March 25) --- an Annual "March town meeting" Forum was planned to serve as an annual benchmark. (Serving as an annual "rapport" to complement the Annual Report.)
While City Hall had (formerly and formally) associated with the Waterside movement --- at present, this is a parallel universe --- in harmony, but with a greater degree of autonomy. The Once in a Blue Moon opportunity (in a Motion of Comity with Yankee Homecoming 2004) served as the de facto annual benchmark and completed the contemporary 5-year term. Throughout the remainder of the Gregorian calendar year 2004, full moons fall on the days after Thanksgiving and Christmas.
Coincidentally next year, March 25th (the Old Style Calendar new year) falls on the Full Sap Moon and a "Blue Moon" (in the traditional, old-style definition) is new on August 5th (the Friday during Yankee Homecoming) and full on August 19th. Let's not miss these opportunities to remark history and history in the making --- for as Dexter would say, "Sum thing more Coming!"
6Dexter believed in reincarnation and would often intimate that from time to time he "may come back toue see houe you all goue on" --- declaring as much in "Pickle" (in reference to a generation hence). Dexter's periodic return home again is a device used to assess where we have been, where we are and where we are going at any point in time: a benchmark. The pretense (and pretext) serve us well.
7The Knowing Ones consider "Pickle" to be an appetizer for food for thought --- noting the quote from Ben Franklin or rather "Richard Saunders" (Franklin's nom de plume when publishing "Poor Richard's Almanack") that hunger is the best pickle. Incidentally, you will find both publications on syllabuses for (college) course studies on Early American humor --- a testament to their timeless and timely words of wit and wisdom.
8This assertion about the alleged beating was never broached during the interview about Dexter's cosmology, or one would have certainly would have taken the opportunity to clarify it with the journalist [referring to the the Biographical Abstract at LordTimothyDexter.com (direct hyperlink) to elucidate this breach of facts].
9Dexter is not the framer of a constitution or founder of an institution --- nor is the Waterside movement, in a Motion of Comity about Dexter's ideas or ideals, per se. As clearly expressed during the colloquy with the Current journalist (and stressed in a corollary exchange) Dexter (in a Motion of Comity and Absolute Balance) serves as the wondrous exponent/proponent for the movement --- and as such is the motif or motivator, not a model or ideal.
Actually, if there are any tenets that inspire the Waterside movement as an exercise of the body politic, it is the timeless agenda laid out in the Waterside people's petition to form the Waterside Third Parish of Newbury as the separate town of Newburyport in 1764: a Plan in Motion for generations to follow.
Thus Timothy Dexter (having settled in the Waterside community within the first 5-year term of the Plan in Motion) represents a collective of the active citizenry, rife with ideas and ideals --- merely attempting to dip his oar in the unending conversation. Being one of the Knowing Ones, Lord Tim is wont to ask good questions and then question the answer --- urging his fellow citizens to do the same: For the representatives of The Third Estate in this Federal experiment know not all the answers --- nor all the questions.