Friday, August 31, 2007


At the beginning of summer for the past few years, at least since Jim retired from teaching, we have made a list of all the things we would like to do. The list usually includes day trips to nearby parks, museums, entertainment that we would like to see, etc. And for the past several years we haven't done one thing on the list. Each year we add things to the list so it gets longer and longer. Our intentions are good but somehow the lawn needs mowing, the golf course keeps calling, the flower garden needs weeding and before we know it, the snow starts flying.

This year we managed two of the items, the first being a day trip to Skaneatles, and the second being our trip today to Watkins Glen. In all honesty, I'm not sure we would have made this trip if it hadn't been that our dear brother, LaVerne, offered to sell us his second car. He and his friend, Cathy, made the trip from New Jersey to Watkins Glen last night and we met them there today at the delightful B&B LaVerne found on the Internet.

As lovely as the main house is, I was totally enamoured with the gazebo. We sat both in the gazebo and on the front porch of the inn "catching up" with events since we were last together.

Luckily, we arrived at the gorge in time for a guided tour. I had been to the park twice before. The first time I was in my teens, at that age when doing anything with my family seemed to be a tortuous event. I remember that day so well because, much to my surprise, I had a great time. I was pretty leary of heights in my youth and my brother held my arm all the way up through the gorge. That memory is bittersweet now that he is gone. The other thing that sticks in my mind about that day is that my dad let me drive part of the way. That was the probably the only time that ever happened.

Jim and I took the girls when they were young and neither of us has much memory of that trip at all. Probably worrying that our cherubs might fall over the edge kept us from savoring any memories of the journey. But I digress.

Having a guide this time really enhanced the event for us. Along with enjoying the sheer beauty and wonder of this beautiful gift of nature, we learned facts about the formation of this natural wonder. Our guide was young woman named Natalie. She was knowledgeable without being boring and added to the enjoyment of our day.

Back in the parking lot, Jim and I encountered a group of "bikers" from New Jersey in town for a last hurrah of the summer. They were playing a neat Kenny Rogers cd and dancing in the parking lot. I suspected they might be about our age, but of course, didn't ask. Any doubts I might have had about their ages was dispelled when one of the gals said they were the "Hells Geezers". What fun folks.

As they rode away she called out, "Goodbye, nice people" and I say, "Right back at you!".

At the end of our tour, Natalie handed us all a brochure with other local parks and sights to visit. I guess next summers' list is already started.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Down Memory Lane

This past Sunday, Jim and I drove out to Erie, Pa. to join in a special anniversary celebration mass for my aunt and uncle. Not being Catholic, we really didn't know quite what to expect. My cousin from Chicago called and asked if we could come and, of course, we were delighted to be included. We met at my aunt and uncle's home. My Aunt was told we could n't make it and was so very surprised and pleased when we arrived.

Life being what it is, I was the only one present who had been at their wedding. I was two years old and have little, if any, memory of that day. But true to form, my dear aunt told everyone there (again) how I spilled ink on my dress right before the ceremony. Oh, if I only had a dollar (inflation, you know) for every time I've heard that story.

My cousin had made arrangements for us to have a private dining room at a local restaurant for lunch. The private room was a good idea. It is a rare occasion when we are all together and we became a little rowdy as the lunch hour wore on.

Then it was off to church. As I said, we really thought this was a quiet little private mass to honor my aunt and uncle. Little did we know. This mass was for the entire Erie Diocese. There were a total of 131 couples honored that day. The longest married couple were celebrating their 69th year of marriage. Wow!! Each couple was presented with a certificate and a special word from the Bishop. It was really impressive.

Probably the most poignant moment of the day, for me, was the passing of the peace of Christ. My cousins and I went to the reserved pew where my aunt and uncle were seated to kiss them and pass the peace to them. Through my tears I thought how much my mother would have loved to see her baby sister celebrate this most wonderful day. I'm sure all of us were also thinking about just a year ago when we weren't sure whether my uncle would recover from a serious stroke. His recovery has been quite miraculous and made this day even more joyful for all of us.

It was over and we were all lamenting out long drives home. Once cousin to Chicago, grandsons to southern Pennsylvania and Virginia, Jim and I back home to New York. I did manage to get them together for one more picture before we all went our separate ways.

There they are, the children and grand children. There are two great-grandchildren who were unable to be there, but isn't this cool?

As the day ended and Jim and I were on our way back home, I was struck by this thought: "Who do you suppose was careless enough to leave an ink bottle in reach of a two year old anyway?"

Saturday, August 4, 2007

A day at the lake

I guess, you can take the librarian out of the library, but can't take the library out of the librarian. Or once a librarian, always a librarian. Anyway, as you can see, Linda and I couldn't resist the opportunity to have our picture taken in front of the library on our day trip to Skaneatles yesterday.
It was an absolutely beautiful day, if a bit hot, for a trip to this quaint town on the lake of the same name. We took a lovely, affordable one hour cruise on the lake, had lunch at a little restaurant with excellent food. My husband had jambalaya, a dish he rarely sees on a restaurant menu.
We browsed through all the interesting little shops, sat by the lake, and then began our trip back home. Since we didn't find any shoes in the various shoe stores in Skaneatles, we really needed to stop at the outlet mall on our way home. Alas, no luck there either. I told the woman in the shoe store what I really want is to clone the black sandals I have that are worn out. She didn't really seem to go for that idea.
We ended the day tired and happy. Pleased to have spent the day in the company of dear friends, in a place that left us relaxed and ready to face the world once again.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Look! Up in the Sky!

My friend and neighbor, Tracy, wrote in her blog just this week that not much happens in our little community. She talked about going to the local ice cream store after a soccer game being the big event of the week. I laughed when I read that but thought little about it until yesterday when I came head to head with a perfect example of how really unexciting life is here in our little hamlet.
As I was driving home from a lunch appointment in another town I happened to look up and see the something unusual in the sky overhead. I immediately pulled off the road and called my husband telling him to run outside and look up. (Notice that I pulled off the road before using my cell phone, law abiding citizen that I am).
I then pulled out my camera and took several pictures. After I had taken my pictures, I got back in my car and drove on home. It seems that on every street corner, in front of every store or restaurant, in yards and playgrounds all over town, I saw people pointing and gazing upward. The citizen's were agog at the sight.
And what, you might ask, was creating so much excitement. It's a plane, it's a bird - It's the Goodyear Blimp. Now that's more exciting than having ice cream on Main Street, or is it?