Sunday, July 19, 2009

Thruway thoughts

Today I drove the Thruway from the Taconic to the Pennsylvania line. Whenever I transverse that highway I have many memories pop into my head. I've been going to the Berkshire Choral Festival since 1985 using that route for most of those journeys. This year I have been on portions of it several times. Here is what ran thru my thruway thoughts today.

I love the Taconic in good weather. It is a lovely drive and there is rarely anyone else at the tollgate, especially when I'm eastbound.

I wish I could have visited FranIAm today in Albany. Oh well, there is next year.

When Glenn was still at the cathedral in Albany, I would sometimes leave BCF early enough to attend mass then have lunch with him - before Karen. When they married, they invited me to sing with the choir which I did.

During the wedding festivities, I stayed with a gal in Schenectady whose name I can't recall at the moment. Sorry. On my way east last week, I visited a college friend Lynn near there. When a portion of the Thruway collapsed awhile back, I had driven over it only a few hours before and still recall where it was.

A number of years ago I drove recording equipment from Amherst, MA to Denver, CO for a friend who was recording the organ works of Langlais in the churches where he performed. The first night out I stayed at a Motel 6 in Utica. There were two rather large friendly ladies at the desk who welcomed me. Painted on a block wall on one side of the driveway was a message that there will be no noise after 11 pm. Around midnight there was noise and suddenly a big voice reminded the rowdies that they know the rules and there was quiet immediately. The next morning I commented that they run a tight ship. The same ladies just smiled.

On the way to Montreal I visited friends in the vicinity of Utica and saw the church he leads in downtown Utica. I was too late to attend the eucharist as I stayed to hear the recording of the first half of the concert so I just waved as I went by. I waved at lots of people today. New memories and old.

Many years ago I hauled my Sunfish behind my TR4A to a race at Cazenovia Lake which seemed more like a large pothole to me. I met some wonderful people who appeared here and there afterward too.

My father owned and I learned to sail Lightning 1182 whose keel was laid in Skaneateles the same year mine was. It had a double planked cypress hull and weighed 900 pounds which is why I could sail it single handedly in fairly strong winds.

Awhile ago I attended the Long Island Choral Festival and met a lovely gal from Rochester but lost touch with her. A few years later I had an opportunity to attend one rehearsal for the Verdi Requiem in Rochester before singing tenor at Chautauqua. I found my friend's email and hoped it worked then spent the night with her renewing a precious friendship.

A month ago I drove thru Buffalo to Fort Erie to get my Nexus pass which was very useful going to and from Montreal. I have other Buffalo memories but they are too many to detail.

Among the Buffalo memories are the folks at Holy Trinity Lutheran. I knew a number of people in that choir because they were also BCF people. One was a special friend who lived in East Aurora. I was sad to see his name on the list of people for whom the requiem would be sung last year.

Coming farther west, I always have to chuckle when I pass Silver Creek. I met a gal in summer choir at Westminster Choir College before I was a student who was from that town. She was always annoyed that I pronounced it Silver Crick. And still do.

Years ago I crewed on a 40 foot Rhodes 27 out of Erie Yacht Club. We always used the Dunkirk stacks as a landmark. I still look for them for some unknown reason only now from the highway side.

Dunkirk used to have a restaurant that served all the lobster you could eat. On the way back from a meeting in Buffalo with coworkers one time, we stopped there. I had way too much to eat and drink. I will never forget the headache.

The Dunkirk exit is also the one to take to experience the New York State Summer School for the Arts performances which I did once.

Lots of associations with the Westfield/Mayville exit. Jay lives in Mayville now. And of course that is the exit for Chautauqua. Many stories there.

And then there is Westfield. A bunch of us had sailed from Erie to Barcelona Harbor. There was a restaurant in Westfield which, again, served all the lobster you could eat and we ate and drank well. Another memorable headache for me and it wasn't the lobster. One of the men in the fleet had had a financial problem with the owner of the restaurant. After the 15 or so of us had eaten, we left. That's how he collected on his bill.

The Thruway holds lots of memories for me. Helps during the long drive.


forsythia said...

Long live "Crick." To call French Crick "French Creek" would no doubt annoy the crick and cause it to dry up.

PseudoPiskie said...

Come to think of it, I don't recall ever hearing it called French Creek. And the accent is always heavily on French.

Suzer said...

You should visit St. Stephen's in Pittsfield sometime, if you have the chance. It's my home church, and a lovely place full of wonderful people.

Always nice to hear of your travels, esp. BCF events!