Duncan began talking about Walt and the undertow – a famous family story. For as far back as Duncan could remember, the Garps had gone every summer to Dog’s Head Harbor, New Hampshire, where the miles of beach in front of Jenny Fields’ estate were ravaged by a fearful undertow. When Walt was old enough to venture near the water, Duncan said to him – as Helen and Garp had, for years, said to Duncan – ‘Watch out for the undertow.’ Walt retreated, respectfully. And for three summers Walt was warned about the undertow. Duncan recalled all the phrases.
‘The undertow is bad today.’
‘The undertow is strong today.’
‘The undertow is wicked today.’ Wicked was a big word in New Hampshire – not just for the undertow.
And for years Walt reached out for it. From the first, when he asked what it could do to you, he had…
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