While My Housekeeper Gently Sweeps: Lamb and Lion’s 6 Degrees of George Harrison

Several books on shelf


“I’m the only one down here who’s got nothing to fear from the waves or the night that keeps rolling on right up to my front porch...”

~ From the George Harrison song “Miss O’Dell”

We think George Harrison’s ghost might be hanging around our Inn.
There’s been a “Route 6A meets Blue Jay Way” connection between the Lamb and Lion Inn and ol’ Georgy Boy for the last couple of years that’s hard to deny, and it almost always seems to be connected to a book that’s located in the Inn’s common sunroom.
It seems to have started with a visit from a writer named Kathy Ketcham. Kathy was staying in our fun and funky 1740’s Barn a few summers back with her family, and, when she spotted a book entitled The Beatles: The Biography (written by Bob Spitz) in the sunroom during breakfast, she mentioned to Ali and I that they were taking a holiday on the Cape in celebration of her latest book that she co-wrote, a hard cover autobiography entitled Miss O’Dell.
Miss O’Dell is the true the story of Chris O’Dell, an office worker who was working for The Beatles during their Apple Record days. Chris’ story is an interesting one, full of insight during The Beatles tumultuous split, as well as great “behind the scene” moments, like sitting along side Yoko and Ringo’s wife for their final rooftop show, and living with George Harrison and Patty Boyd at their Friar Park mansion when George received the news that Paul had left the group. Being a big Beatles fan, and of course wanting to support our inn guests, I went out the next day and purchased Miss O’Dell, which I was happy to discover, was virtually impossible to put down, and had a different perspective than any other Beatles book I’ve read (I’ve read 4 or 5). Although The Beatles stories–and in particular, George Harrison stories–were the heft of the book, the dozens of other 70’s rock and roll moments, including Chris’ time with The Stones, Dylan and Clapton, are equally juicy. But, more than getting my hands on a good book that summer, I made a new friend, and Kathy and I continued to exchange emails for some time after their departure, and we have a feeling we’ll see her here again in the future.

 “The image of the lamb tucked into the lion stands for peacefulness. 
It was one of The Beatles’ and George’s greatest messages, and really what this inn is all about.” 
~ Louise Harrison commenting on the Lamb and Lion Inn, February, 2012

The funny thing about the Bob Spitz Beatles book is that, unlike many of the books that we’ve read and then retired to the guest book shelf, I never actually got around to reading it. I had every intention to, but with over 850 pages involved I decided to wait until our winter vacation. Finally, last December, with the Inn under our assistant Innkeeper’s hands (we rarely close), and my feet warming in Mexican sand, I dug in. The Beatles: The Biography was another great rock and roll read, but more interesting than the deeply researched Fab 4 factoids, was the coincidence that followed immediately afterward. Two days after we returned to Cape Cod and the book made it back to its home on the guest’s bookshelf, we received a call from a local music promoter named Paul Lococo. Paul was helping promote and organize a concert that was being held in January at the Barnstable High School’s 1,500 seat performing arts center. The concert was to promote “Keeping music in the Schools”, and the show and tour were the brain child of Louise Harrison, sister of–wait for it–George Harrison. Paul and I got to talking, and because it was for such a good cause and much of the proceeds would benefit the high school, it was decided that the Lamb and Lion Inn would donate several rooms and put Louise Harrison up for a couple of days during the show time, as well as the Beatles tribute band that she had hand-picked for the cause, called Liverpool Legends.

Liverpool Legends peppering the crowd with classics

Liverpool Legends, if you haven’t heard of them, is comprised of Louise’s favorite John, George, Paul and Ringo–all poached (again, for a good cause!) from the likes of Beatlemania, Rain, and other nationally renowned Beatles tribute bands, and having them all staying at the Lamb and Lion was a great way to spice up an otherwise quiet January. Louise stayed in our “premier” suite, the Innkeeper’s Pride, and when not luxuriating in front of her wood-burning fire, or watching the brightly colored cardinals flying from tree to tree from her back deck, could be heard telling great, old Liverpool stories in the common area to the boys in the band, who were all not only enthusiastic and energetic in every way, they were incredibly gracious (and just like Kathy Ketcham, guitar player and all around great “bloke” Marty Scott, who plays George in the band, still communicates with Ali and me as to his whereabouts on the Lamb and Lion Inn’s Facebook page).
At the introduction of the show at the high school, Louise gave the Lamb and Lion Inn a wonderful shout out, telling the packed crowd, “I’m staying at one of the most beautiful inns I’ve ever had the pleasure of visiting, called the Lamb and Lion Inn.” Ali and I were stunned. She continued…”The image of the lamb tucked into the lion stands for peacefulness. It was one of The Beatles’ and George’s greatest messages, and really what this inn is all about!”
Since their short time on Cape Cod, Louise and Liverpool Legends have gone on to do wonderful things and were eventually nominated for a Grammy. If you haven’t gone to their show yet, it’s by far the best Beatles tribute band out there–and we’ve seen some of the best!

         “My two favorite family portraits of George”, Louise told us. The photos were signed with “I love this inn!” and left on the fireplace mantle.

Over the summer of 2012 we had hand fulls of interesting guests, and we’re happy to report yet another summer without one, real pain in the arse (!). We’re not sure if we’re just mellowing and more tolerant of people, or if we just happen to only get very cool people booking our inn. Regardless of the reason, Ali and I always remind each other what a nice life we have living in such a fun and low-key environment.
This summer a guest named Julie recently surprised us with a gift she purchased at our Barnstable Village’s “Art in the Village”, which runs during several weekends over the summer. The gift was a framed piece made out of recycled materials and a heart shaped shell picked off a nearby beach. “All You Need is Love” was the sentiment of the piece. Of course, we got the Beatles reference right away, and we assumed she noticed that we sold some of the same artist’s work for sale in our little Inn gift shop. The artist is a local woman named Kyle Kochiss, and her business is the Heart2Heart Design Studio. We love her stuff, and quite frankly, I keep catching Ali raiding the shop and wearing her beach stone jewelry around the Inn–which she keeps promising not to do, but apparently can’t help herself. “Actually, I didn’t see the gift shop when I checked in because you met me in the driveway”, the guest explained, “But I did notice The Beatles book in the sunroom!”
We should have known…

“Recycled Love”
 Enter: The Dream Police

As much as we love meeting new friends every day here at the inn, it’s always extra special when old friends look us up. A few days after Julie’s departure, we received a wonderful email from an old friend named Sara. You might not know Sara, but you know her music. She co-wrote many of the catchiest Hall & Oates songs–Maneater, I Can’t Go For That (No Can Do), Private Eyes, and on and on. Remember the song  Sara Smile? That’s Sara (and not only does she have a sensational smile, she’s got a killer sense of humor to go along with it). Well anyway, Sara was coming to stay at the inn for a few days along with our mutual friends Tom and Alison, and their two lovely kids. Tom was at the time (and probably still is) on tour playing the 12-string bass guitar with his legendary rock band Cheap Trick–one of our all time favorites–and it was really heartwarming to Ali and me that they made a detour to visit us on Cape Cod–it had been a long time since we connected with these amazing people. We had a nice few days visiting with Sara, Alison, Tom and kids, and although it’s always wonderful to catch up to people who knew you in your “past life”, we should confess that our favorite part was baking Ali’s amazing Chocolatey Cappuccino Muffins for breakfast with Tom and Alison’s incredibly entertaining daughter–and mini-food encyclopedia–Lilah. The day of their departure we said our goodbyes and promised not to let so much time pass the next time. A couple of hours later, our assistant innkeeper, Donna, came to me with something she had found under a bed. It was a bass guitar pick, obviously dropped by accident, with the Cheap Trick logo on one side and the all-too-familiar Beatles logo on the other side (Cheap Trick recently toured playing the entire Sgt. Pepper album note for note, from start to finish–something The Beatles said could never be accomplished). “The Beatles again,” I said to myself, wondering what it all meant–if it meant anything at all.

Less than a week after our friends departure, a family of four named the Skinners came to us from a place called Mount Pleasant Close in Buckingham, England. Because our larger, family-friendly Lamb’s Retreat and The Barn-Stable were booked, the family had to be divided into 2 rooms. The parents stayed in Louise Harrison’s old suite, the Innkeeper’s Pride (now summer time, its fireplace not roaring any longer, but the private deck off the back they found quite heavenly!), while the two kids, brother and sister, stayed in Lair 1, located down the cloud painted hallway just off of the pool and courtyard. One morning after a poolside breakfast, the father, Martin, walked over to the bookshelf and pulled out The Beatles: The Biography from the rows of books. “Have you read this?” he asked me. I told him I had. “My Dad is in this book,” Martin added. “Really?“, I asked, “How so?” He started flipping pages, back a little, back a little, quietly groaning “No, that there…” and then a bit toward the front of the book…and finally he found the page. “Here it is! Page 152,” Martin announced. He then read aloud from a paragraph about George Harrison being too young to be in the earliest formation of The Beatles, called The Quarry Men. “...By the end of 1958, George’s itch to play was so strong that he took up with three other friends–Ken Brown, Les Stewart and a lad known only as Skinner–in a rather pedestrian unit called the Les Stewart Quartet.” Martin drops the book down. “Skinner is my Dad, Ray Skinner. He played the drums in George’s first band.” “Really? That’s so cool!” I exclaimed. “Yea!” Martin added just as thrilled, but within an instant seemed a bit more pensive. “Dad’s gone now. I only wish Bob Spitz reached out to my Mum, she could have given him a few really great stories about my Dad and The Beatles. They were all local boys and always hanging around. My mother knew them all.” Martin’s father, Ray Skinner, grew up in Liverpool and worked in the same butcher shop as George Harrison, and thus Ray and George became close friends.”My Mother was pregnant with me when George came back from Hamburg, Germany with The Beatles”, Ray continued, “Mum told me that George put his hand on her belly and asked her ‘do you need a Godfather’?” (It ends up that title was already given to Martin’s Uncle–but the story still makes Martin smile).

All Things Must Pass…
The next day was, like almost all of our days during the summer of 2012, perfect. The sun was shining, it was a bit humid–but compared to areas inland, we had it made. I was walking across the inn’s courtyard and saw the Skinner clan hanging around a table having a poolside lunch under one of the umbrellas. I stopped and asked about their day yesterday, their dinner out, the local whale watching that afternoon, and they seemed to be having a ball…but it was their last day on Cape Cod. They were having a late checkout before heading an hour north to Boston and Logan Airport, and Ali and I felt sad to see them go. I went into the sunporch and pulled out The Beatles book and walked it back out to the pool area. “Here, take a look”, I told Martin, and opened it up to Page 152. “Your dad should be remembered in this book”, I told him. On the page where it read ‘a lad named only as Skinner’ I wrote his father’s full name right where it belonged, which could have been considered a silly gesture to some, but it was obvious to me that Martin missed his father, and he was proud of his accomplishments. “That’s great, Tom”, Martin told me quietly, looking at the page. “Thank you so much,” and gave me a firm hand shake. If the odds have it, we’ll never meet the Skinners again, but their week with us greatly enhanced our 1012 season.
And in the End…

Right next to The Beatles: The Biography is the biography of Cary Grant. Why haven’t we heard from Cary’s people yet? What’s with all The Beatle coincidences? What does this all mean? You know what I think it means? Absolutely nothing. As much as we all come from different backgrounds, live in different parts of the world, have different likes and tastes–we’re all pretty much the same. Every week at the Lamb and Lion Inn we meet people from backgrounds and interests as vast and colorful as The Beatles catalog itself, but when it comes down to the common denominators, we’re not that much different from one another.

The summer is gone. Fall is here, and the cycle continues. If you’re thinking of joining us to enjoy some down time by the pool, a quiet walk on the beach, or just want to quietly read by the fire, we might just have a book that you can borrow. Perhaps you’ll find your own “6 degrees of separation” while you’re exploring our beautiful part of the world. But just remember one thing, although the Beatles sang “All you need is Love”, when you’re heading to the Lamb and Lion Inn, bring your sense of fun, an adventurous spirit, and of course, your credit card 😉

The Skinner family with “the book”…one of our favorite Summer, 2012 memories.