Tuesday, July 31, 2018

America

Oh, yeah, we went to America. Sorry, I kinda forgot.

We left over a month ago and got back three weeks ago. And by the next day it seemed to slip into the past, as vacations are wont to do. I think this trip, more than others, slipped my mind for a variety of reasons: it was a shorter trip than usual, we didn’t take any side trips, and the weather was just the same as in Britain.

The decision to cut the visit short was based on our initial decision to go in July. I knew it would be hot, and the last time we were there in the summer my wife ended up in A&E. We hoped a shorter stay might prevent that from happening again. I’m not sure why we thought that; it only takes one afternoon of unrelenting sun to put some people on a gurney with a saline drip in their arm.


Chocolate health food. Yeah, we're in America.
Accordingly, we decided to take it easy on this trip, and stayed close to home. And home, this year, revolved around my son’s new house, which has a built-in swimming pool and central air conditioning. This, I found, made the 100-plus temperatures bearable. Just knowing the pool and AC were available made sitting in the shade, drinking beer and sweating, more enjoyable. Back in my day, knowing the only thing you could do to escape the heat was to drive to the nearest supermarket and stand in the frozen-food aisle, made hot days more oppressive.

We did manage one side trip, but that was just out to Cazenovia, the small town in mid-state New York where my daughter-in-law grew up. This was, by the by, the entire point of visiting during July. I wanted my wife to see an authentic, small-town, fourth of July celebration, and Cazenovia provided the perfect location.

Cazenovia has, somehow, become stuck in the late 1950s or early 60s, and is now some sort of Stepford town that looks like something out of My Three Sons. When walking down the street, you wouldn’t be surprised to see Fred MacMurray, or Ozzie and Harriet, step out onto their porch and wave at you.

(Gosh, you need to be real old to get those references.)

Hey, look! It's Ozzie and Harriet's house!
We went to Cazenovia early on the morning of the 4th of July to see my daughter-in-law run a ten-mile race around Cazenovia Lake. She finished about 9:30AM, but it was already hot by then. She said her time was about 9-minutes a mile, for those of you who care about such things.

Waiting for the race to end: My son, my granddaughter, my wife
my grandson and my other grandson.
My wife and I left my son and his family with their family and went off on our own adventure, which involved the shops and caf├ęs of Cazenovia, checking into our boutique hotel and watching the 4th of July parade.

What is a small-town parade without a tractor pulling a wagon laiden
with young ladies on hay bales waving at people?
And that night, we watched the fireworks over Cazenovia lake. It was one of those rare, perfect days, the sort you normally only see on Leave It To Beaver.

Credit: Cazenovia Chamber of COmmerce
The next day, we all returned to my son’s house to continue sitting in the shade, drinking beer and sweating.

I think this was the main reason the holiday was so easily forgotten. We left Britain on a sunny, hot day, enjoyed a stretch of hot, sunny days in America, and then returned to hot, sunny days in Britain. Outside of my own bed, access to a swimming pool and readily available air conditioning, there was very little difference.

The haul: though the list is getting shorter, you still cannot get Cream-o-Wheat or French
Burnt Peanuts here. You can get pipe tobacco, but it is three times the price I pay in the US.
An interesting aside: we spent one morning in the Biergarten in Albany watching
England beat Sweden 2-nil in front of an audience of cheering locals.
When did America discover the World Cup? Last I knew, no one over there had heard of it.
My apologies to friends I couldn’t see on this whistle-stop tour, and assurances that, next time, we’ll come in cooler weather and stay a bit longer.