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Weekly Features
Letter from New York
Mathew Tombers is the President of Intermat, Inc., a consulting practice that specializes in the intersection of media, technology and marketing. For two years, he produced the Emmys on the Web and supervised web related activities for the Academy, including for the 50th Anniversary year of the Emmy Awards. In addition to its consulting engagements, Intermat recently sold METEOR’S TALE, an unpublished novel by Michael O’Rourke, to Animal Planet for development as a television movie. Visit his web site at

A Perfect Weekend
By Mat Tombers

So here I am, once again, sitting down to write my column, doing it as the Acela, the best train of the decade, rocks its way down to D.C. The train is new, the tracks are not. It's an almost but not quite but; it IS the easiest way to get from mid-town Manhattan to downtown Washington, D.C.

It's the end of the day and I'm slipping down to DC to be in place for a day of meetings for my newest client, Ted Turner Documentaries. They are making a program entitled: Avoiding Armageddon. My company has been asked to work with them on getting integrated with the PBS system and to work on some long term strategies.

I am going down to meet with PBS’ Washington station, WETA, which has also been a client of mine, to hear their pitch about being the presenting station for Avoiding Armageddon.

Now I feel honored to be working on the project at all because it has been and is going to be interesting to work with Turner's newest company set up specifically to produce documentaries on topical subjects.

Nothing seems more topical to me right now than avoiding Armageddon, what with India and Pakistan rattling their nuclear sabers at one another while today's New York Times suggests that the conflict between the two may be the next goal of Al Qaeda. Perhaps you're thinking: nothing like a little nuclear exchange to get us all in a ruffle.

This past Memorial Day weekend was one of blissful innocence and one of the most spectacular of my life. We went up to the little house in the country. Our friends Andrew and Cheryl went up before us and pulled out their fly fishing gear and got in several hours of fly fishing in the Claverack Creek before we arrived at 9:30.

That morning I had awakened at oh dark hundred in Los Angeles and caught the 7:05 United flight to Denver and connected on to a non-stop to Newark. Not wanting to challenge the traffic gods, I took the AirTrain to Penn Station and made the train to Hudson with thirty minutes to spare.

When we woke on Saturday morning, we were staggered to see the sun shining as rain had been forecast but even more stunning was the riot of green that had erupted and surrounded the house. It felt like we were waking up in the middle of an arboretum, with the air thick and verdant with woodland smells and the air heavy with the beginning of summer humidity. It was a weekend of friends, barbeque, bottles of wine, laughter, fishing, exploring, resting, talking.

Larry Divney, an old friend, stopped by on Sunday afternoon with his wife, Alicia and visited with us while our friends Andrew and Cheryl were – but of course! – fly fishing. Alicia and I share something in common: we’re both writing about what it's like for us to be citizens of New York, post 9/11. I write for Hal Eisner; she writes for her hometown newspaper in Texas.

They are special people, Larry and Alicia. I love to spend time with them because they are caught in the joy of the moment. And it was wonderful to share a moment with them over this past weekend.

It was Larry who made it clear to me that we had a special place. We stood, looking down at the creek, quietly surrounded by the soft green, when he said to me: this is a special place. When we bought the place, we always sensed it was different.

What we have is a corner of the world which is very, very private but not isolated and now that the trees have bloomed explosively, it is a bit like floating in the middle of a cloud of green, with all kinds of deep earth smells and the sound of geese soaring up the creek. It is possible to sit on the deck and not know there is another house nearby.

After Andrew and Cheryl left on Monday, we put on their waders and walked up stream, to see where the creek goes and to investigate the meadow across the creek from us. We walked the edge of the property and talked about how and where we wanted to build on the extra rooms we envision.

As the sun set on Monday evening, I stood on the deck and let my eyes and soul soak in all the beauty of the moment I was living. Here I was, in a special place, with someone I loved, the entire world having smiled with me for days, sated with good food, good companionship, great visits with friends both in person and on the phone.

There was, that Monday night, a soft, luxurious feel in the air, a whisper of all the great weekends lived by anyone in any age. Having recently just watched The Gathering Storm on HBO, I thought back to the days before World War II and the lessons to be learned from them. On some August night in 1939, someone looked out at their world and savored all the beauty of it, could feel the taste of perfection on his or her lips, and were aware that the world could change but not that this was the last, best weekend for a long, long time. I did not want this to be my last best weekend. It is why we must avoid Armageddon. It is why we must use our wealth and influence and the rightness of our naive, hopeful spirits to change the world so that this was not the last, best weekend for me and mine or anyone. It is why we must see the world changed, so that we can leave the reality of beauty to those who come after us and not just the memory that the beauty once existed.