July 12, 2011

Three days on the reunion/party/birthday circuit comes to an end

VALOIS, New York, USA - The past weekend was a whirlwind, even by the whirlwind party standards of upstate New York.

First, Adm. Fox and I made our way west to Jamestown, NY (hometown of Lucille Ball, in case that factoid slipped off the radar). We were there for my high school class reunion (No. 45), a prequel to a class reunion of 10-years-worth of grads from Southwestern Central High School the next night, a soiree we passed up, but I am getting ahead of myself.

Unlike other reunions, this affair, arranged by my amigo Randy Carlson, was very low-key, with a barbecue, some wine and beer, and lots and lots of nostalgia about our high school years.  What great stories!

But there was also a surprise attendee - a former music teacher and his wife.

The last time I had seen Dalton Berringer (what a great name for a jazz musician, isn't it?), I was about 16 and he was working as a parttime sheriff's deputy on Chautauqua Lake keeping the waters safe. Most teachers in those days worked summer jobs to supplement paltry regular teaching salaries. I am not sure what infraction I had committed - thought I am sure I was guilty - but he let me go with a word of caution to be more careful.

Fast-forwarding to 2011, Dalt is now back in the Lakewood area after living all over the country. He gave up classroom teaching but stayed in education. But he never let loose of the jazz music and I have three recent CDs to prove it. In fact, I hope that if I can ever get my video-making back on track, he can provide some original music for my next production.

The classmates who attended all looked great. Somehow, they don't seem to be getting old. 


Family homestead in Lakewood, NY
Adm. Fox and I also took a side trip out to Lakewood and I stopped by the home I grew up in - 156 1/2 West Summit Ave.. The house has been renovated in and out and the family that took it over has boats everywhere - in the yard, on docks, on buoys out front. My kind of people.

The whole neighborhood looked good and I suspect people's property taxes are, well, higher than when I lived there.

We then rocketed back from Jamestown to Valois for the birthday party for Cheryl Fitch, sister of Jennifer Fitch who is a boat partner with me in two boats. Several years ago we bought the 16-foot Red Rocket sailboat as a training vessel for Jennifer. This year she moved up to a 17-foot Siren class sailboat with the moniker Panacea.

I don't know if Panacea will stick as a name - that's Jennifer's call. But as part of the party celebration for her sister, we took the vessel out for its maiden voyage under our watch and it is a sweet-sailing boat. Jennifer is likely already plotting voyages for next summer when she returns from Arizona.

With Panacea on the trailer
This week I will be installing a permanent mooring in the lake for Panacea, which involves filling a drum with cement, attaching a chain and buoy, and dropping said items in about 15 feet of water off the end of the Valois Point Yacht Club dock. (NOTE TO CAPTAIN: steer clear of the chain when the barrel gets shoved off the bow of the pontoon boat.)

And then as the finale of the three-day fun marathon, we celebrated my birthday Sunday with breakfast at the Hector Volunteer Fire Department, then a day on the lake (including a pontoon boat cruise), a beer or two at the Valois Point Yacht Club and then dinner at home, overlooking the lake which Sunday night was as calm as a pond.

And Monday and today? Surprised you couldn't hear the snoring.

But tomorrow is another day, as Scarlett O'Hara says.


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