Hour 19- Rainlentless
I’ve transversed New York State horizontally for over half a century. I can’t remember making it all the way across without at least one fierce squall regardless of the season or time of day. This trip is exceptional only because the rain is relentless. The Erie Canal breeched her banks and sports white caps beneath the churning mist. We are towing Finn, our Boston Whaler. Like me, she detests semitrailers and would prefer salt water beneath her hull rather than a cockpit drenched by sooty highway rain.
Jay Gatsby took his fortune east to claim fame and accidentally pursue love. I go East with my love secure, his hands comfortable on the wheel, nary a white knuckle to be seen. I am drawn to the New England Coast with out hope of fame or quest for fortune. I am driven to satisfy a relentless need to measure summer days by tidal time.
We are listening to a Cards vs Mets game that seems appropriate. The Cards are winning and the announcers are flummoxed that the fierce Durocher (a strong wind and rain storm) has not yet made its way to NYC but is raising havoc in the Poconos. We don’t have great winds or hail here in the Catskills. The clouds have dipped beneath the mountains to blanket Rip Van Winkle’s resting place. Conversely, ground fog is rising to mask road hazards and exhaust weary drivers.
We might tuck in somewhere in Massachusetts between Stockton and Boston because the deluge has made driving is treacherous at best. I am not oblivious to risk as I was 50 years ago while making the trip with my parents and brother Scot. I was busy, splayed across the back seat reading Trixie Belden, begging Pop to turn the radio to the NYC station that played I Wanna Hold Your Hand and smacking Scot because he was bugging me. Seat belts didn’t exist, both folks smoked with the windows open “just a crack” and I still hadn’t figured out Mom that was pregnant with my brother Tom. It was a time of innocence protected by Pop’s confidence that he knew what he was doing. By my estimation, he was on that first trip the same age as my sons are now.
Pop moved our family east because of his growing fame as a businessman. Success secured his ethic that hard work – over time, would make his fortune. The trip was a pilgrimage to unite our family with our grandparents and extended family who lived in western, “Upstate” New York. Rather than be torn by adolescent sturm and drang that made many of my peers yearn for places they’d left behind, if only in their imaginations, I was content in either venue. The New York Thruway was a simple path that connected the worlds I knew and the people I loved.
Tides kept their cadence; the planet circled the sun round and round, until eventually George and I were making a longer journey that included this Thruway to and fro with our young sons and daughter.
This annual sojourn is a constant in my life. It will be interesting to see over time how our kids and grand kids establish their own constant pathways that will bring them close to far away and back again. I hope love travels with them, that they know what they are doing, and they can well afford all of their travel expenses.