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Letter from New York
Mathew Tombers is Managing Director of Intermat, Inc., ( a television company which executive produces programs and consults with industry companies on a variety of issues. Intermat, Inc. is currently involved in approximately thirty hours of television in various stages for a variety of networks. He is one of the Executive Producers of OFF TO WAR, a ten hour series for Discovery Times and for a one hour on international adoptions for Discovery Health. He has consulted a variety of companies, including Ted Turner Documentaries, WETA, Betelgeuse Productions, and Creation Films, Lou Reda Productions as well as many others.

September 6, 2007

Comfort Food and Comfort News…

Not so very long ago my sister, Mary Ann, and her husband, Dean, paid me a visit on a grand sweep of the east coast they did during August. I was delighted to see her as she had not seen Claverack Cottage and it gave me a chance to cook for her. At dinner we ate with silverware that had been our Grandmother’s. It seemed generational linking. We had breakfast in the morning while the sun glinted off the creek and then she and Dean made their way on toward Rhinebeck and then Massachusetts. There was a sense of poignancy with their departure.

There followed the usual flurry of life’s activity and then it was, suddenly, Labor Day weekend. As the long weekend approached I found myself “unstructured” – a thing which was a blessing as it gave me time to think and muse on a weekend that was as beautiful as God could create.

I spent time by myself, reading. I finished the last of the Harry Potters and was satisfied with the ending. I read magazine articles and arranged the house, moving art from one place to another, pleased with the effect.

It was all a bit of snuggling down, something that I thought only I was doing. But it wasn’t. As I listen to the voices about me, I realize I am not alone in hunkering down. Through the weekend and since, I have listened to the voices of people around me – and it seems I hear a lot about “nesting.” I have been eating popcorn, my since childhood comfort food, and around me I have seen other people doing as I do, going after some comfort – deep visceral comfort found in ice cream, French fries and bottles of good wine, thick steaks and corn on the cob.

The news is still infused with its heavy doses of celebrity chow. Brad Pitt was or was not mauled by an over eager fan who broke through security barricades and he was or was not terrified by the incident [it depended on which version you read]. But something is different. With the waning of summer, the last beautiful days of 2007 upon us, we seem to be turning our thoughts, for what seems the first time in a long time, to more serious issues. While we have whiled away the summer months in a frenzy of celebrity misbehaving, there is – or am I mistaken – a group sense that we need to pay attention.

It seems the weight of what has been happening since our world changed on September 11th, 2001 is beginning to finally, finally, finally be felt by all of us. George W. Bush is on his way out. The markets are not behaving very nicely. With that frothy diversion fading, we are looking at our lives again and saying to ourselves: what’s important?

I’ve been finding among friends a return to some of the sensitivity that embraced us during the days after 9/11 – a caring of and for family and friends, the familiar and the loved. It is why I felt poignant when my sister drove away. As siblings we are more complete than we have ever been. It is a treasure. Friends are echoing this.

And while we are looking for our soul comfort, Osama Bin Laden remains uncaught [for a very serious interlude read Newsweek’s 9/3 edition]. The war goes badly and we have made a muck of it and pretty much everyone now knows it. The conversation is now, it seems to me, about defining our responsibility since we have broken the prime directive of the Hippocratic oath: first do no harm.

We would like to drown the sounds of suicide bombers with screeching tales of errant heiresses and beautiful people who haven’t coped well with beauty and wealth and yet we are finding we cannot – and that the outside world is knocking at our door. A political season is upon us; a new President will come, come what may. And it seems to me we are beginning to pay attention because we cannot defer any longer coping with the world we have created even with comfort food and comfort news.