April 24, 2011

In 15 minutes, expect a dramatic weather change, unless it's earlier...

WATKINS GLEN, New York, USA - The old joke (which isn't really a joke at all) is that if you don't like the weather around here, just wait 15 minutes for it to change.

Fifteen minutes might be an understatement.

Saturday, the day started with torrential downpours on and off for the entire morning, then cleared off with gusty 25-knot southerly winds by 1 p.m., and at about 3 p.m. the wind dropped to zero and the temperatures shot up to the mid 70s. By sunset we had rain again, of course.

Unwelcome Easter guest
Despite the wacky weather shifts (at least wacky from a California and Mexican perspective) the living is great here and spring is everywhere. I can almost hear the grass growing outside the window.

The other sign of spring has been the return of the songbirds, who are soooo cute, I put out several bird feeders to draw them closer to the casa. Or at least I thought I was putting out bird feeders. They apparently double as squirrel feeders, too, though I have started mounting an offense to keep the feeders for the birds and not lunch counters for rodents.

At the lake house in Valois, we stopped feeding the squirrels corn last summer. The little buggers started coming up on porch and attempted to chew their way through the screens into the house to get at the corn I had stored there.

Squirrel stew, anyone?

Jason Hazlitt
That almost-in-jest comment would not have been particularly welcome at the Humane Society benefit Adm. Fox and I attended two nights ago at The Hector Wine Company, owned by Jason Hazlitt (LINK: Hector Wine Company website). The winery opened its doors for a huge party that filled the new winery to overflowing.

Cousin Brett Beardslee, just back from a long winter's vacation wrestling alligators in Florida, provided the musical entertainment and ended up calling the numbers for raffle winners. He was sporting a skin color that is pretty rare around this part of New York in April, unless people frequent the tanning salons around town.

A lot of excellent Hector Wine Company wine was consumed that night by a lively crowd during a four-hour event that raised about $3,000.

Here's a short video of the benefit:

The church bells have been ringing here all morning, signaling the start of Easter services at the many churches just down the hill from our house on North Glen Avenue.

Many of our neighbors could be seen hustling out the door and into their cars today, obvious from their attire that they were heading for some religious services somewhere. Adm. Fox and I didn't go to any formal services today - my late mother's comments about 'Christmas and Easter Catholics' ringing through my head quite loudly from when I was a teenager. The only time our Catholic Church in Lakewood, New York was filled were those two holy days.

Mary Sullivan Crouch's resting place
But Adm. Fox and I did take a fairly major hike from our new house, up alongside the creek known as 'Watkins Glen' to St. Mary's Cemetery near the top of the ridge. Our late friend Mary Sullivan Crouch was buried there last August. Two years ago Mary took us up to the cemetery to show us the plot where she would be buried. She and I were distantly related (my maternal grandmother was a Sullivan from Geneva) and Mary suggested that I might want to start looking into getting a plot near the family.

I thought about that today, as I was standing in front of her tombstone. I just got my AARP card in the mail, though. Let's not rush things.

Adm. Fox and I are actually living in the house where Mary resided the last few years of her life. It was owned by her brother Bill (who passed away two years before Mary). When Mary died last summer, the estate put it up for sale and after some deliberations this fall, we decided to make the house (and Watkins Glen) our new home base.

It has a one-bedroom apartment attached where Mary lived, which has been taken over by Adm. Fox as an office and music room. When Adm. Fox heads to her office/music room, she says, "I'm going to Mary's."

It made sense to buy the house, plus, I had already bought Mary's 1996 Mercury Grand Marquis from her when she gave up driving a few months before she passed away.
Casa Fitz/Fox in Watkins Glen, New York

We affectionately refer to the car as The Merc which, the other day, I got going just a little over 110 mph on a back country road, trying to blow the carbon out of the exhaust system.

That's my story, officer, and I'm sticking to it.

Oh, and yes, I was playing 'Hot Rod Lincoln' by Commander Cody and the Lost Planet Airmen on the radio when I 'hit top end...'

LINK: Hot Rod Lincoln video

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