ANNUAL SUMMER VISIT TO ATTICA PART 3 NEW ENGLAND, CAPE COD, BERKSHIRES, CATSKILLS…ATTICA

My return to Attica from Canada was a nice relaxing rest.  I arrived on Thursday evening
after 10 hours of driving from Montreal.  Mom and I did have another Fish Fry at the Attica
Hotel. That evening was the American Legion Lawn Fete. I left Mom and went to visit my
friends at the Legion.   I gambled on the Wheel of Luck and the “Over and Under” Dice game
with a group of 10-16 year old boys.  That is where I got my habit from when I was their age,
over 46 years ago. 
I love Attica’s traditions.  I visited with my old babysitter and the woman, who my mother
used to babysit her children for 3 years, 5 days a week.  I got to visit with the children, now
adults, Terry and Paula Harding, as well the some of my old paper route customers that still
remembered me.  I shared a few beers with my old classmates and saw some I hadn’t seen
since I left High School. 

 

    Saturday I did some Garage Sales with Mom and then I returned to the Lawn Fete for the
Chicken BBQ but didn’t see anyone I knew so took it home to eat.
Sunday Mom and I visited my other Grandchildren, Taja and Alexis and my Great
Grandson Dion.  I stopped at the Stage House and visited Woody, Red and Alexander. Then
stopped at Louie’s Bar and ran into Fred.   We had a few and because his car wouldn’t start,
needed a ride.  We shared a bowl in his garage and I returned home. 


Wednesday I left for White River Junction Vermont.  I stayed at the Hotel Coolidge
(Est 1834)which is also a Youth and Elder Hostel.  Rooms are $35 a night and it is close to
Dartmouth University in Hanover as well as a lot of major New England attractions.  One is
the TracT Tavern in the basement of the neighboring building.  I knew I was in New England
when I walking in to see customers sitting around playing Cribbage.  I learned the game from
my Grandfather at his house in Gilman, Vermont.  The other local attraction was the Filling
Station.  That turned out to be a NASCAR bar.  Everything in it was NASCAR.  I expected to
see Dale Earnhardt Jr sitting at the bar. I refer to these two places as attractions when in fact
they were the only businesses open after 7 pm and they closed at 11 pm.

    Thursday I went to the Train Museum and a river walk across the street.  Amtrak has a train
that goes from White River Junction to NYC and Washington, DC  and returns every night.
There was a train that ran from Attica to White River Junction in the 50’s. Mom and I took it
and I remember waiting in that same train station for the bus North to St Johnsbury to visit
Grandpa.
  Later that afternoon I drove to Lebanon N.H. nearby for a Farmer’s Market and Music
Festival. It was a small affair but really nice.  A band was setting up in the Gazebo and a Folk
Singer was playing in a tent.  There was Pakistani , Jamaican, and Samoan food available as
well as Elk Burgers and Hot Dogs.  The Farmers had a large selection of home grown produce
to select from.  The was the local Pie maker , cookie maker, jams, jellies, honey, and of course
Maple Syrup Products. I bought some Jerk Chicken and took it back to the room to eat.

            This morning I had a Peanut Butter and Bacon Sandwich that was delicious.  I had to
order it. I drove up to Hanover, New Hampshire, the home of Dartmouth University and
until just a few years ago, Bill Bryson the travel writer.  I am one of his biggest fans and
actually entertained the thought of having coffee with him until I discovered he moved back to
England with his English wife. Hanover is a beautiful town and busy in the summer.  I
couldn’t find a parking space so toured the countryside before heading North to Littleton,
New Hampshire and my Uncles home. 


Johnny and Jeanette left the door unlocked so I just walked in on them.  I got settled and
they suggested going out to a really nice place for dinner. I was expecting a family style place
with home cooking but was surprised to find candlelit tables, a professional wait staff and a
gourmet menu.  We ordered wine and were perusing the menu when Jeanette announced it
was there 21st wedding anniversary.  Wow, I felt a little out of place but I know for Uncle
Johnny, it was just another day.  New Englanders are like that. Jeanette is from Iowa and met
Uncle John after his wife, my Aunt Pauline, passed away.  He was a Knights of Columbus
member and she was a Nun at the time, I think.  It was a church dance and after the marriage,
they Square danced all over New England and the USA . He doesn’t dance much at 82
anymore but still gets out and is very active.  We enjoying a nice evening and the next day I
drove around visiting Antique shops while trying to find out if the Rocking Horse I had
brought from Mom’s was worth anything.  No one recognized it or could tell me anything
about it.

    I stopped in my cousin Dennis’s Gramma’s Restaurant in Whitefield New Hampshire for
a great “Chowda” and sandwich for lunch.  He was napping across the street where he lived
so I left to visit a local fair in the town square of Whitefield. 
       There was an old man acting like a DJ and playing 50’s music to 6-10 year olds.  A Bounce
Castle for the children.  A few tents set up with people trying to sell their crafts, none of which
were of any exceptional quality.  One tent, a man and a women were selling AVON products
and had a little handwritten piece of cardboard hanging on the side of the tent simply saying
AVON.  The Gazebo is the same one that was there over 55 years ago when I met my Great
Uncle here listening to a concert.
       Driving back to Uncle John’s, I took a trip down memory lane to visit Forest Lake.  This is
where I spent an entire summer once when I was around 14 getting over puberty, I think I got
over it.  The road was all broken up with weeds growing in it. The parking lot wasn’t very busy
and not maintained.  This used to be one of the liveliest  beaches in the area at this time of
year…things change.
    That evening Danny, my cousin and John’s son, stopped by to visit with his wife Priscilla
and two of their grandchildren.  They had just come from camping with the kids and was
telling me about their 15000 mile trip this summer to Alaska.  He has only left New England
once that I know of so this was a great venture for both of them.  They pulled a trailer they
bought and camped in parks along the way across Canada.

    I had a nice time visiting everyone and bid goodbye the next morning on the way to my
cousin Helen and her husband’s farmhouse near the Hudson river in the Catskill Mountains
of New York.  I stopped in Brattleboro, Vermont for lunch at the Lotus Cafe.  The sign said
Closed Sunday then Sunday Cafe Closes 5 pm then Sorry Private Party. I crossed over to the
Maharishi Mall.  It had a Health Spa, Yoga Center, and the Back Side Cafe where I decided to
have breakfast. 

I should have paid attention to the name but it was quaint and lots of people
so figured it had to be good. I ordered a fresh orange juice , omelet  and salad.  I called the
Hostess over after waiting an hour playing SUDUKO.  She brought me another juice “on the
house” and explained my order was next.  I arrived at  10:30 and left at noon.  I imagined the
Chef in a Lotus position meditating on my eggs trying to turn them into an omelet.  Then
again maybe he ventured off into the Vermont woods to pick the mushrooms for the omelet. 
Everything was advertised to be fresh?

    I stopped along the New York State Thruway and telephoned David, Helen’s husband for
last minute instructions.  I listened but missed a turn somewhere and the 10 minute drive
ended up to be a half hour.  Barbara, Helen’s sister and my other cousin had stopped along
the way up from Warwick, New York to pick up my 91 year old Auntie Char. Barbara brought
her son Arjay, who is about 18, so it was another mini family reunion. 

    We went to a restaurant along the Hudson river and sat on the Patio.  My cousin Helen
ordered a Raspberry Rum drink that the bartender said she wasn’t familiar with. Helen told
her to call their sister restaurant and the bartender there would tell her.  She did and everyone
was happy.

    The next day I visited my Aunt at her house and we went out for lunch. After I returned we
got sub sandwiches and watched the Bucket List with Morgan Freeman and Jack Nickelson. 
Barbara came up that evening after work to spend the night.  We all went to Hudson New
York for lunch and Antique browsing.  A very knowledgeable dealer told me my horse was
from England and could be as old as 1920 but didn’t know the value.  We had dinner that
evening at the Sister Restaurant on the Hudson nearby. 

    Helen fixed me some scrambled eggs for breakfast and I left for Cape Cod .

     I lost Franks address but called when I arrived and got directions.  We had dinner and sat
on the porch watching a Boston Red Sox game with his brother Dick and his girlfriend Kathy.
  Had Lobster Rolls from the Raw Bar in New Seabury…2 pounders…we split one with
Chowder.  Took the boat to Falmouth and had a drink with Stuffed Scallops. 
    The next afternoon, I played 9 holes of Golf with Frank, Dick and their Periodontist friend
Dan.  Dan provides Vicodin, which I did try.  Secrets make you lonely…have to tell someone. I
used Dick’s clubs and he took me over to the Range first to warm up. I’m afraid it was
helpless. Dick had a Full Moon Beach party that  evening on Naucet Beach. 

  Did nothing on
Saturday while Frank took Kathy out to see a comedian at the Melody Tent.  Left for Bristol
the next morning and hoping to see more.


    The street plan of Bristol was laid out in 1680.  It is called America’s most patriotic town. It
is home the country’s oldest Fourth of July parade.  Every summer, this event draws
participants and spectators from across the country and the world.  The center line through
the main Street of Bristol in not white but Red, White and Blue…always. I visited the Tourist
center and picked up a few maps, restaurant recommendations, and possible attractions to
see.  I walked to the Harbor and throughout the town.  I had lunch in the Bee Hive Cafe then
was going to tour the Colt house.  He was one of the  descendants of the town fathers and
married Ethyl Barrymore.  It was a beautiful mansion but closed for a Wedding so I left for
Jamestown.  The town harbor was beautiful.  I did a short walk around town , had an ice
cream and left for Providence. 

    The state of Rhode Island has an amazing history and a lot to see.  I could have spent a
whole day in Providence but got lost then ended up at the Pier in the middle of a huge Concert
on the water.  It would have been fun if I could find a parking space.

I decided it’s best to take
a day and return to Providence and headed for Liam McGuires Irish Pub in Falmouth Mass.
for dinner.  A few wee Pints of Guinness and a huge bucket of steamed Mussels ended a good
day.  I met an Englishman at the bar that was working at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute
developing a new research submarine.  He contracts with the U.S. Navy, the British, anyone
that has Submarines.  Quite interesting. Frank and Kathy spent the day sailing with friends.

    Today I’m off to have lunch with my good friend Steve Loring.  It will be great to see him
again.  I invited Frank along and am treating all to Lobster Rolls. We ate at East Bay or
something like that.  It used to be McGraths, an old institution on the wharf in Plymouth
Harbor.  All the tourist were out trying to get a look at “Plymouth Rock” where the Mayflower
landed…supposedly.  The replica of the Mayflower was full of tourists also. It is amazing to
tour it with a guide.  The stories they tell.  They ended in Plymouth because they were out of
beer and rum.  The crew survived because they were in the hold with the booze.  The alcohol
kept them fit while the Pilgrims were sick and dying.  The crew went on land and built the
homes for the Pilgrims…anyway. 
    Steve was waiting at the bar where we sat the last time I met him there.  He looked great like
any old friend you haven’t seen for a long time.  The East Bay or whatever it was now called
had gutted the old McGraths and replaced it with a beautiful restaurant and a large patio
overlooking the harbor.  Frank and Steve seemed to hit it off right away.  Both are old friends
but neither knew the other only through stories of mine.  Steve and I ended up having the
Fried Clam Roll while Frank opted for the King Crab Roll.  We shared some stories and caught
up on what was going on in our lives over a few drinks served by our bartender from Krakow,
Poland.  She had been in the states four years and was a stunning blonde that we all ranked a
10!  The day was beautiful.  We bid our goodbyes and Frank and I returned to the house to get
provisions for an afternoon swim in the Ocean.
    We met his brother Dick, a CIA (Culinary Institute of America) Graduate and accomplished
Chef with his son.  It was a short boat ride to the beach area.  The four of us just hung out
swam (not me) listened to music and watched the boats go by.  A perfect ending to my stay
with Frank.  Upon returning home, we watched some of the Olympics and retired. 
   

I woke and caught Frank coming in just as I was headed out.  The ride to the Berkshires
took a turn for the worse just before I got to the Mass Turnpike. A huge thunderstorm struck.
  Cars were off both sides of the road and everyone had on their emergency lights.  There was
very little visibility and it was hard to tell if it was daylight.  Trees were down in the road
which had become a river with so much rain.  A half hour later the storm lifted and I was on
the Turnpike headed West.  I took the last exit and was in the Berkshire Mountains of Western
Massachusetts.  The day had some sunshine left when I arrived at Berkshire Vista Clothing
Optional Resort.  I was going to stay for three days but began to rethink it when I found out
any decent accommodations were over $120 a night.  I stayed anyway and was given a Park
Model mobile home with kitchen and everything.  That night I just relaxed and got to bed
early.

The next day I visited the Clark Gallery in Williamson.  Beautiful location and built a
famous Japanese architect.  There were two buildings that house the galleries.  I toured the
one collection of late 19th and early 20th century paintings from all over the world.  Some I
had seen in the Gardner Museum in Boston, the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, Louvre in Paris,
and the Prado in Madrid.  I had a nice lunch and hiked the trail through the beautiful woods to
the other Gallery on the hill.  The walk was inspirational with beautiful vistas of pastures and
woods.  I realized how long it had been since I have been out walking in nature. 

    The other gallery was an exhibit of Whistler,  Rockwell , and other painters that believed the
less paint you put on the canvass the better.  It was called Breath on Glass. You would gaze on
them and see things but when you looked back the “things” were gone…like apparitions. 
    I shopped for some food after going to the Shaker Village in Hancock.  I realized it wasn’t the
one I visited before so left.  The one before was in N.H. and had a restaurant that served fresh
everything from the farm.  Nothing was brought in from the outside and it was fabulous.  I had
hoped to do that again but their restaurant was catered from the outside.  I stayed up and
watched Key Largo with Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall before retiring.
    This morning I sat by the pool and got sunburned on both sides.  I did see the maid go by in
the golf cart.  I would live here if she cleaned my room everyday.  Off to Mikes Mediterranean
Restaurant.
        Well on the way I noticed Coyote Flaco. It was advertised as a Spanish Mexican restaurant
but when I pulled up the web site it gave me no info but I stopped anyway.  While entering I
noticed Zagat’s Restaurant Guide listed them.  That doesn’t mean a lot but gave me some
expectation that this might be a joy.   I noted only three people were working the dining room
of almost 100 seats but I was seated promptly but hurriedly.  All three served me.  One being
the owner from Ecuador.  My waiter was from El Salvador as was the barmaid that had only
been here one month.  She sure knew how to run the computerized cash register and was very
friendly.  I had a Margarita but quickly changed over to Coyote Sangria when I notice they
fortify it with Tequila.  I enjoyed the Oaxaca Chicken Enchiladas covered in a Mole sauce that
was more Chocolate than Red Peppers.  I liked it as well as the Beans and Avocado they served
with it.  All and all it was very pleasant. I made it back home before dark.  It is Thursday and
more people are arriving to enjoy the warm and sunny forecast for the weekend.  I’ll retire
early again and hope the restaurant is open at the club house for breakfast and leave for the
Norman Rockwell museum in the morning. 

    I got on the internet today and contacted a CouchSurfer in Saratoga that had traveled 58
country’s, climbed the highest mountain in each of the 50 states, speaks two languages, has
two degrees and is a nurse.   He promptly answered my request to stay over tomorrow with a
” Sure why not”.  He has two Latvians staying with him that are interested in hearing about
Arizona.  When I told him when I would be arriving, he replied…if I’m not there, just go
around back behind the Hot Tub and come on in.
    This is why I travel and one of the first meetings I’ve had with a stranger inviting me in. 
Now I get to watch Pirates of the Caribbean Part 3.

That morning I visited The Norman
Rockwell Museum in the town of Sturbridge Massachusetts where he had his last studio and
spent the end of his life.  Sturbridge is a “Norman Rockwell” kind of town.  Well it really is a
Rockwell town! McCall’s magazine commissioned Rockwell to paint an American town at
Christmas time.  17 years later and after many inquiries, he gave them a painting of Sturbridge
at Christmas time.  Since he started the painting the cars had changed but the village hadn’t. 
He had to paint in a couple more cars representing the sixties to make the painting believable.
  The first Sunday of every December, the Village of Sturbridge closes off the main street and
brings in the identical cars, color, year, make and model.  They are parked as in the painting
and the local Red Lion Inn, also depicted in the painting, serves Hot Cider and Chocolate to
the people that come from all over to live the picture. 

     He also has a painting called Wedding Day that shows a young couple filing out the forms at
the Justice of the Peace office.  The couple that posed, did get married and though they have
passed away their children and grandchildren come to the museum to view the Wedding Day.
    Sitting on a park bench in downtown Sturbridge, eating an Ice Cream cone on a beautiful
summer’s day couldn’t be duplicated.  The smell of summer with a cool breeze and the warm
sunshine.  Everybody has a smile and a greeting. It is like a dream from the past, a kind of
Twilight Zone experience…nice one …a Norman Rockwell one.  I remember the hard Eastern
winters and all the bad weather Easterners have to endure.  I just experienced two and three
weeks of bleak rainy days that were miserable but it makes you value a beautiful day on the
ocean or a day like today.  Arizonans tend to take their beautiful days for granted because
they are so common but never evoke the feelings like what I have now.
        It is like a vague pleasant and distant memory that fades the more you try and capture it.
The emotions must be different for everybody depending on the memories…all of those
summer memories from a child to here.  I see a ’63 Chevy Impala drive by and I think Sunday
sunny summer day with a Sophomore college girl from Geneseo on a lone country road.  I
remember her beauty and her alluring scent.   Wake up David…there will be more of those
memories to cherish in the future. 

One is visiting the Naumweag House and Gardens.  I drove
up in time to catch the last tour by a very good guide.  Some I can’t hear and are boring and
others are eloquent and very entertaining. He was the later.  The tour took you though the
entire history of the house and the family that lived in it.  The patriarch Chas Choate was a
lawyer that made his money sueing Robber Barons like the Vanderbilt’s and Carnegie’s.  He
also took the government to task in 1894 and got the Supreme Court to rule that income tax
was illegal and for 20 years no one paid income tax until 1916 I think when that was
overturned.

    The gardens were next with an audio tour.  It was very hard to listen to it and take photos at
the same time.  The Berkshires provided a magnificent backdrop for the sculpted gardens.  I
left and drove to Tucson, restaurant that is, for dinner before meeting my Host Neil Andrews
at his home outside of Saratoga.  While having dinner the next attractive waitress walked by
and said ,”Hello young man!”.  They must have a new training program to make single old
men feel at home.  I was feeling old.  My back was killing me after trying to lie on my stomach
at the resort to get a tan.  Now I know the meaning of old.
   
I arrived at Neil’s to a plate of freshly roasted corn from the local Farmer’s Market and a
friendly welcome from Neil, Imis and Lenina.  Imis and Lenina were his Latvian guests.
Imis just got back from the Saratoga Race track.   Earlier they were all at beach with three
Burmese refuges.  He goes to the track every day during the last race when you can get in for
nothing.  He collects tickets that people throw on the ground in his backpack and then
reviews them that night with the results of the races to see if he won anything.  This was his
second or third trip to Neil’s where he travels around the area in his rented car visiting Niagara
Falls, Canada and New England.  He is not the only person that does this.  They compete to
see who can collect the most tickets the fastest.  His bag was full because he is younger and
quicker than the other ones.  It pays too.  Last time he returned to Latvia he discovered a
bunch of winners, sent them to NY State Racing commission and they sent him a paycheck
(he calls it) to Latvia. 

    Neil and I started comparing travel notes.  He has climbed the tallest peaks in 50 states and
been to 58 countries.  He plays the Frequent Flyer game and travels on cheap last minute
tickets to obscure places to collect miles and to see the country.  His trips are usually only a
week or two but he loves it.  His travels have taken him to remote third world countries where
he also tries to help the people with his knowledge as a Registered Nurse.  He works on his
own time at a hospital in Schenectady.  He shared some web sites to assist me on my future trip
to S.E. Asia this winter and showed me some of his pictures. 
    Neil related a story about a recent trip to Chang Dai , Thailand with an older gentleman
who had never been out of country and had requested to join him on a trip.  Neil suggested to
his friend that they hitchhike from Chang Dai to the end of the longest dirt road in Thailand.
  They did but there luck wasn’t that good and no one was stopping for them. It was getting
dark and they were a long distance from Chang Dai and their destination, which was an
obscure village at the end of the road next to the Burmese border.  Neil got out in the middle
of the road and stopped the next vehicle instructing his friend to load there backpacks in the
back while he talked to the driver.  It worked but they arrived at the village after dark and
there was no electricity and no moon.  He said there were dark shadows walking around and
animals running freely in the village.  He kept stopping everyone to inquire about a room to
let or a hotel, maybe a restaurant to eat at.  No one spoke English but finally a man motioned
him to follow and he directed him to the only person in town that spoke English.  He
explained their dilema to her and she suggested they stay in a hut behind her home on some
mats on the floor.  They humbly accepted but the woman explained she would not be staying
in her home that night as it would be inappropriate for a single woman to be staying near to
strange men and people would talk.  She would go stay with a friend. 
    Later she returned and asked if they had eaten but they had no food.  They offered her
money to purchase food so she woke the local shopkeeper and bought some food then
returned and cooked it for them in her kitchen.  She ended up staying in her home that night
as she felt more reassured after having spent some time with them . She later related to them
in a letter, that she wanted to ask them if they would buy a Coke that evening when she went
to the store but thought a dollar for a Coke would be too much for them as they looked so
poor.  He sent her a six pack that cost him a few dollar and sixty dollar to mail.  They made
friends in the village and stayed a few days while visiting the nearby villages and taking a day
to visit Burma.  He continued to return to this village on subsequent visits.
    The next day I had breakfast in a nice coffee shop in Balston Spa not far away.  I was very
popular…especially with people that had to go to the bathroom.  I sat near by and watched a
constant flow of traffic back and forth to the bathroom.  Either there is something in their
drinking water or no one has a bathroom in their home?  There were four ladies that sat for
their morning coffee with their knitting.  They were very theatric and dramatic with their
expressions and exclamations while they gossiped and knitted away.   One rose and took her
knitting to the bathroom  with her.  I went after that determined to find out what the attraction
was but I never discovered anything special that would attract me, except the toilet.

        I walked up to the local Farmer’s Market and indulged in a Apple Cider Donuts while
being impressed by the variety of produce and goods to choose from.  At the olive oil stand a
stately gentleman from Spain befriended me while trying to impress upon me the special
qualities of his Olive oil.  The only thing special was the price of $30 for 16 oz.   He was
amicable and we talked about his youth and growing up in San Sabastion along the Ocean in
Northern Spain.  He and a couple of his friends used to Sea Kayak along the coast in  a race
every week to test their abilities.  He was always worried his mother would discover their little
venture and punish him.  He would never try something that foolish today. He is living in
Saratoga Springs today. 

      I then drove over to Saratoga Raceway for the oldest Thoroughbred Race in the US…The
Travers.  It is the biggest event at the Race Track.  Saratoga , a village of 25,000 takes in
65,000 people that come for the weekend festival.  I had to park a mile away and walk over to
the Track.  It was packed with traffic and people but everything went smoothly.  People were
bringing in tents and lawn chair along with coolers full of beer and BBQ’s  The coolers were
stacked three high on wagons as the entourage followed me along the road.  Children and
baby carriages.  People dressed to the hilt with fancy suits and hats.  It was an affair to
remember.  Lots of cigar smokers and handicappers.  I stayed until the 5th race then decided
to leave to avoid the traffic and watch the results in Saratoga while having a late lunch.  I did
make some last minute bets that my handicapper friend Steve back on the Cape
recommended.  Thank God I won back most of the money that I lost.  I did find out that I had
to return to the track or mail in the ticket but Inis cashed it for me the next day as he was
returning again to cash in $176 dollars worth of found tickets he got the same day.  I should
have went with him to the Travers. 

        I ate at Circus Cafe in Saratoga then ventured around the town exploring all the stores
and bustling activity.  Twice I passed the Wine Bar which had a certain allure about it.  I
finally decided to treat myself and sat at the bar in a very elegant but unpretentious
atmosphere.  There was a side room next to the bar that was all glassed in with living room
chairs and a fireplace.  It was for cigarette or cigar smokers, something I didn’t think was
allowed in NYS.  I ordered a Pinot Noir from LONG ISLAND.  It was great so decided to order
some local cheese from just across the state border in Vermont and another glass of the wine. 
        I returned that evening to freshen up and decided to drive around Saratoga lake. It was
beautiful but I couldn’t find a spot to stop and take a photo.  The road was narrow and busy
with traffic.  I ended up back to Balston Spa at a place called Augie’s Italian Family Style
restaurant for another glass of wine. 

     The next day, Neil was planning on taking the Latvians along with the Burmese to the Lake
with his boat for water skiing.  We took some pictures and I took off.

When I exited the Thruway in Batavia, New York the weather has turned ominous. I was
hungry. Alex’s Place was close and good. It was also packed. I managed a seat at the bar and
promptly ordered a Pinot Noir while checking out the Twilight Specials. I ordered while
nibbling on the bar cheese and crackers. That seems to be a staple offering in most dinner
houses around New England and New York.

        I switched to Sangria while engaging the couple next to me in conversation about our
travels. They were on their way to Sedona, Arizona next week for another holiday. They have
been retired a while and just returned from a trip to Canada. I had an excellent dinner and
departed for Attica. When I came out the rain had stopped , the sunshine was out and the air
was fresh and warm.

         I thought it best to check out Louie’s when I saw a number of cars there as I was passing.
The usual suspects. I bought Beverly, an old acquaintance of my Mother’s a beer and tried to
leave when someone sent a chit over for a beer. I pocketed it and thanked them.
         I arrived at home to an empty living room with the TV on.  Mom came out of her room
with a scowl, never a smile, to greet me. Where were you! You said you would be home the
16th!   You pointed to the calendar to show me!  None of this I remembered.
         I lost the key to my safe!  I can’t find it anywhere!  When did this happen?  Just now!
  …I punctuate everything with an exclamation point because she yells it like you are supposed
to know all this.  She yells a lot but her blood pressure is low.  The body must adjust after all
those years of yelling.
         Bill said you have to take the car in for an oil change!  I missed a big estate auction down
the street because you were not here!  Why didn’t you just walk over?   BECAUSE I
COULDN’T!   You could have tried to use the walker with wheels, brakes and a basket that I
bought you a year ago .  I COULDN’T WALK!   Well then it wouldn’t have
done any good if I took you and you couldn’t get out of the car?  NEVER MIND!
       You have a Doctor’s appointment tomorrow!  I know, that is why I came home today. 
Well he wants you to fill out a Medical Proxy for me in case I can’t breath!  I can’t find the
paper he gave to me!   I’ll get another tomorrow when I see him and take care of it before I
leave next week.
      Mom, Auntie Char, your nieces Helen and Barb, your brother Johnny and his wife Jeanette,
and your nephew Danny all said to say hello! 
      Took some pill…Milvil, or something, to go the bathroom.  Ended up throwing up three
times!  I’m not taking those pills!  The Milvil?  NO!  The one you take once a week!  Oh the one
to strengthen your bones and prevent fractures?  YES!  Do you think that is wise as you
already are suffering from Osteoporosis and they act as a little insurance to protect you? No
pill that you only take once a week can do any good!  Mom, they have another you only take
once a month.  This is for your convenience.  I am NOT taking them!
If you break a bone and end up in a wheelchair you will have to stay in a Nursing Home to
recover.  I’m not taking those pills!  OK!
     Do you want to know how much that toy “Bronking” Horse I took with me to have
appraised is worth?  No! I don’t care!  OK.  
      Now she was sitting down with me while I watched the Olympics and she looked off into
space jabbering on about life history like it was just yesterday.  I just kept nodding and
yeahing.  Then;  “How much is it worth?”.   What Mom?   The horse, the horse!   She finally
left to search for her key to the safe after I told her.  An hour and a half later I disturbed her
search to kiss her goodnight. 
    Bill was baking Cinnamon Rolls and the aroma woke me right up.  I gobbled three with
coffee then left for the Post Office to send a self addressed envelope to Neil to return the
Testosterone Cream I left behind.  I drove over to where I had the car inspected to get an oil
change but that wasn’t possible until Thursday.  I drove 11 miles to Batavia to John’ Repair to
be told I could come back at 1 pm but that conflicted with my Doctor’s appointment at 1:15. 
I stopped at another station to inquire and the lady laughed at me.  No way until after the
end of the month.

     It seems the N.Y. State requirement to have a safety inspection on your car every year is
why there are 10 auto repair shops for every 100 people in the state.  My Mother’s last car was
taken off the road when she went in for inspection.  They said if she his a bump or stepped on
the brakes hard, the engine might fall out.  The salt in the winter erodes cars.  Her car only
had 20,000 miles on it but was 5 years old.   That is why everyone here changes their own oil,
even the women.  It takes too long to get an appointment.   My friends would laugh and call
me a sissy if I told them I was having a garage change my oil.  I asked one if there was a Jiffy
Lube around Western New York.  He looked at my cross eyed like I was talking about a
Proctology Clinic…and said ” a what?”  I returned to John’s and made a 2 pm appointment.  I
made a note to get gas tomorrow with all this running around I’ll need another fill up.
    I hadn’t had a real breakfast so entered ” Coffee House “into my GPS.  One in Batavia and
the next one is 23 miles into Buffalo.  I am spoiled living in a 24/7 anything you want
environment.  There are disadvantages to living in the boonies. I wanted to get a haircut today
but ALL hair salons and barbershops in Western New York are closed on Sunday and
Monday.  It is a tradition not a law…I think.You have to learn these things and schedule
around them.  Tuesday is the Farmer’s Market in Attica from 1-5 pm.  Wednesdays it is in
Warsaw from Noon to 4 pm then Thurs in Batavia….you get the point. I had a really nice
breakfast for $5.35.  There are also advantages to living in the boonies. On the way to the
Doc’s office a truck pulled along side to tell me my rear tire was flat.   It had enough air to get
me to the tire repair shop which is coincidentally where the man in the truck was going?! 
That was strange.  I got the tire fixed for $15 in 5 minutes and tipped the man then left.
    I arrived at 1 pm at the Doc’s office to fill out the Medical Proxy my mother is still looking
for.  There was no one in the Clinic.  The nurse called me into a little room at 1:15 after
weighing in at 215!  Five pounds more that last month…no more cinnamon rolls.  1:30 no
Doctor and the place was packed. I left after canceling and made a 3pm appointment to return
drove back to Batavia to get my oil change.  Oil was changed and I am back in the Doctor’s
little room.  This time the Doctor followed me in.  Oh you left?  Yes, my time is important too! 
We chatted and I told him the Nose spray was too much money even with his $20 off coupon
He suggested the generic.  I suggested he suggest a choice the first time around.  He gave me
a script for my Mother to strengthen her bones that she could take once a day and I assured
him I would try to get her to take them.  I would get her to sign the Proxy and return it
tomorrow.  Good day!
    The Doctors that serve this rural area never made a lot of money.  My Uncle was one of the
first in Attica in the ’30 just after graduating from University of Buffalo. He delivered me into
this world.  He came to my house with his black bag in the middle of the night when I was
sick.  His office was in the basement of his house and it was always full in the evening when
he would open shop after working at the local hospital all day.  He was comfortable and sent
s children to college but never rich.  He went hunting and fishing a lot.  Today we have two
Indian Doctors who try and supplement their poor pay by pushing hi end drugs rather than
generic and take “rewards” from the drug manufactures for giving out the highest amount of
prescriptions like a quota.  The Pharmaceutical Sales Reps take up his lunch time with
samples they supply him to pass out to patients and posters he can put up in all his little
rooms that push their brand of drug.  They also shorten their day by scheduling everyone for
nearly the same time then making them wait while they rush them through rather than
schedule them with some time in between that the Doctor might have to wait.  This way he
starts his day late and is done by 3pm and go play golf .  I can’t blame them as I know they
receive a lot of pay but the ones in the city that do good business and get paid highly but still
push a certain pill…PISS ME OFF.
        Today I promised Mom I would take her to Senior Citizen’s luncheon. The menu is
usually a bland and cheap luncheon that satisfies the appetite. Today was Chicken stuffing
with some Chicken meat and corn. They did have some semi fresh veggies with lo cal ranch
dressing and a very good fruit salad with lots of cookies. When you leave you get your pick
and choose of 3 day old bakery products like Angel Food Cake (which I took), whole grain
bread (which I took) and packs of 6 biscuits (that my Mother took). The group was over 23
oldies. A real look into the future. Only four volunteers that managed to serve these
luncheons once a week. The cook, two drivers and helpers that made sure nobody was left at
home or went without a little personal attention. One lady that just floated around to assist
with “Would you like some more coffee?” and that sort of thing. The minister of the local
church was there to say grace. He also got a free meal in return for listening to 23 home bound
, lonely people talk and talk and talk about everything…like the new three wheel battery
operated vehicle that they bought in a used ( patients died) mobile cart place. Never pay more
than $1800 and never get those “Wrap around deals” get the three wheeler. Hell, I drive
through snow with that. They all start talking at once. They probably hadn’t talked to anyone
since the last dinner. Mom introduced me to everyone. She even dragged me in to the kitchen
to meet the cook. That evening I stopped in the Hotel for their $3.50 Taco. It is really a
Burrito and a big one. Fred showed up and we had a few while making plans to travel to Avon
tomorrow and visit some of his old fans when he coached his winning football team
in the nearby town of Caledonia to become the State Champions. Then his wife died.

I over slept and was rushing out the door when Mom wanted to know what happened to the

plastic plates and silverware we took to Senior Citizens? I thought we brought it home but
she couldn’t find her cup. I assured her I would stop back and have a look around to see if we
left it behind. I did and we didn’t. Then I remember I unloaded it all into the new
dishwasher she never uses. I was over 45 minutes late to meet Fred when I stopped for gas.
Then I stopped to get some breakfast and realized that I had just enough money to pay for
breakfast. When I arrived in Avon I drove until I found an ATM then pulled into Fat Sam’s to
meet Fred. Fat Sam’s is a local Dive Bar that older locals hang out. It serves Hamburger,
Ham, Roast Beef, Hot Dog Sandwiches with nothing over $3.50. He introduced me to his
Fishing buddies and after a few beers I returned home. Gary reminded me of “$1.50 Night”.
$1.50 Night is every Wednesday at Louie’s and Alabama Slammer is the bartender.
Everyone goes to get a cheap high and gawk at her. I did too. Then departed Attica and
returned to Phoenix.


Little did I know that Mom would fall that winter and break her hip, end up in the hospital
where she would get a C-Def infection. Then spend two weeks in intensive care before being
discharged to a Nursing Home that she died at the first night.
We had the funeral in April as the ground was to frozen for burial…she had been
cremated and her brother Uncle Johnny spoke at her funeral. He died a few years after. Neil
Andrews contacted me after I had been living in Oaxaca and was planning a visit to Pueblo.
He was in Oaxaca at Christmas but I didn’t arrive until January to find out he never returned
home. Mexican government said he committed suicide but we know better.



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