A site of satirical musings, commentary and/or rhetorical criticism of the world at large.

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Location: Southeastern, Pennsylvania, United States

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Vacation and Remembrance

I can sum up my just concluded vacation in Cooperstown, NY with the words, “Too much rain, too much food, and not enough alcohol.” Overall, it was a nice relaxing time, but it’s good to be home again. I read two novels in the space of a week, and we did accomplish our main goals of beer and wine shopping. Still, the whole week was literally dampened by a tropical storm that had all the moisture, but necessarily the punch of a full-fledged hurricane.

We should have realized what our week would be like when Anne Marie and I drove through a torrential thunderstorm — complete with hail — in Binghamton on our first day. The next two days were cloudy with nothing falling from the sky. Then another round of intense rain on Wednesday wiped out activities for the rest of the week.

Once again we were denied the chance to ride the Glimmerglass boat on Otsego Lake. The Baseball Hall of Fame even shut down for an entire day because their employees couldn’t drive into work. The entire county was under a state of emergency, which limited travel to essential purposes only.

The weather was not kind to us or the region. I woke up one morning to find that our carpet was soaked at the back of our room. The management of the Lake Front Hotel dutifully moved us to a second floor suite and didn’t charge us for the upgrade for our last full day in Cooperstown. Further down the Susquehanna River — which has its origin a block from the hotel — the swollen channel raised havoc in places like Binghamton, Wilkes-Barre, Bloomsburg and Harrisburg.

Otherwise, we had a grand time stuffing our faces and indulging our appetite for wine and fine liquors. We marked Anne Marie’s 57th birthday with a fine meal of scallop bisque, broiled bluefish, and steak at the Doubleday Café. Most of our other meals were taken at the Lake Front Hotel Restaurant, where one night I satisfied my craving for peel n eat shrimp. Anne Marie had two raspberry cosmos; she deemed them VERY drinkworthy.

Our return travel plans got complicated due to Wednesday’s precipitation. We postponed our return by one day since the highways around Binghamton were flooded over, and we heard rumors of various closures along the New York State Thruway to the east. We didn’t like the idea of adding two hours to our normal six-hour trip by way of Albany, but that’s precisely what we had to do when we came home on Friday. That drive was longer, but not as bad since most of the flood waters from the previous day had receded enough to make the roads we took passable.

Naturally, the weekend that followed was dry. Just our luck! Although the dry spell was welcome news to the otherwise somber events marking the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, it came too late for our vacation.

Yet it was poetic that nice weather allowed the various memorial sites in New York City and Shanksville, PA to be dedicated. It was a good day to reflect on the sacrifices of those we lost and to renew our vows that these events should never happen again. It was, to paraphrase an old Ronald Reagan campaign slogan, “Morning in America.”

I didn’t spend much time in front of the television on 9/11. The story was all too familiar with me. So, as the History Channel trotted out every foot of documentary film they could find, and as speeches were made and prayers were whispered, I went about my business of a harried Sunday on the day before I returned to work. My car needed to be inspected and groceries needed to be purchased. In short, I was able to continue my daily routine as a free American because of the sacrifices made by other Americans that day. For that I am grateful, and my thoughts about their efforts were never far from my mind.

The events of 9/11 should remind all of us how important the virtue of tolerance is in our daily lives. It was intolerance for our freedoms which brought the attacks on our soil in the first place. It was a long — and I’m talking centuries-long — intolerance of other people’s religious beliefs which fueled the hatred within our enemies.

So the 9/11 celebrations should by all rights be the perfect time for everyone to reflect on their own prejudices and figure out ways to overcome them. Good luck with that! Already the Tea Party-influenced dysfunction of our federal government gears up again even in the wake of Obama’s call for bipartisan cooperation to create more jobs. House leaders are allowing funding for disaster relief to go through, but now Republicans in the Senate are blocking the same disaster relief until it’s paid for through spending cuts.

Same old same old, just a different day. Ah, yes, it’s good to be home again.

(Thank you for reading. Stay dry, everyone!)


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