Monday, November 2, 2009

A Trip to New England

Kathie and I just got back from a quick trip to New England to attend a folk art show and have a visit with the kids.

I have been pleading for this because it felt like I haven’t been out of the house since July.

We left on Saturday morning and got back on Sunday evening. It was one of those trips where everything dovetailed perfectly. We called Elisabeth from the road and set up a lunch with her and her fiancé, Alex, at the Cheesecake Factory restaurant in the Natick Mall. They were coming from Boston and we were on the Mass. Pike. Not only did we get there at the same time, but they were parking in a spot two spaces over from ours when we arrived. The visit was great and the food was okay. The noteworthy thing about the Cheesecake factory is that they have an 18 page menu. How they turn any tables is a mystery since it took me a half hour to get to the end. I suspect most people are like me and order something from the last page, since by then they have forgotten the tasty morsels they spied on pages 5 and 12.

We got back on the road and headed north for Marlboro, Mass., the site of the craft fair. We checked into our hotel and headed for the show. There were lots of wood carvers there and I soon developed an inferiority complex. While most seemed to be more technically adept than me, they seemed to devote most of their creativity to carving images of Santa and Uncle Sam.

The highlight of the show was the presence of Will Moses, noted folk painter and grandson of the even more famous Grandma Moses. Kathie and I are fans of his work and actually own several lithographs. He was sitting alone at a table waiting to sign copies of his books and calendars. After a brief conversation with him, I understood why he was alone. He brings new meaning to the term taciturn New Englander. I asked what he remembered about his grandmother hoping to gain some insight into the life and work of this beloved American icon. “She was old,” he replied after a few moments consideration.

After the show we headed to Andover and spent a delightful evening trick or treating with our grandson, Owen, and Kris and Jen.

We had a comfortable night in our hotel room and in the morning decided to avail ourselves of the complementary breakfast. Here I had another in my long series of epic struggles with technology. As I perused the buffet I decided to have a piece of toast. The toaster was one of those commercial conveyor types where you put your bread in the top and it comes out the bottom all nice and toasty. I did this and got a piece of barely warm bread for my troubles. I tried again with the same result. Frustrated, I found the temperature control and turned it all the way up. My piece disappeared into the toaster and slowly made its way through the inner workings. After what only seemed a few seconds into its journey smoke started to belch from the machine. Of course I broke into a sweat as there was no way I could stop it or retrieve the toast.

After what seemed like hours, and just as management was arriving on the scene, the charred remains of my toast plopped onto the plate. “I like it well done,” I commented with all the cool I could muster to the panicked looking kitchen staff surrounding the smoking machine.

When I got back to our table, Kathie said: “Where is all the smoke coming from?”
“I just set fire to the buffet area,” I replied.
“Oh. I’m not surprised,” she said without looking up from her plate.
“You’re not going to eat that?”, she said as she gazed at the steaming slab of pure carbon on my plate.
“No. I just didn’t want to leave it for evidence.”

We checked out and headed down Route 28 on the way to Andover for another visit with Owen. Two fire trucks with sirens wailing passed in the opposite direction. I stepped on the gas.

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