Wonderful Outing with Carol and Al in the Hudson Valley (HV)!

Grrrrrrr, this is the 2nd time I’ve written about the super-fabulous-hilarious outing in the HV. How does the computer eat a document? It takes my hard work and stashes it some where deep and dark! I need to work through my grudges. OK, OK. It is a joy to be with Carol and Al. We are so lucky to have them. Of course, it is great that Len really toes the line in Carol’s presence. Nothing like a really tough-love-older-sister-matriarch!

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Carol and Al met us at our hotel where we overnighted after our flight from Austin to Hartford (Bradley). I jumped in the car with Carol leaving Al to ride with Len. I couldn’t wait to get caught up on all the family news and have my own private time with her. DSC05315.JPGA couple of hours later after following Len’s rental Hybrid, we were in FDR’s Hyde Park. After all kinds of erratic detours and U turns we ended up in a gated drive when we spotted a sign– Culinary Arts Institute. OMG!

What a windfall or, as Mom says, a bird’s nest on the ground! There we were right in the middle of what appeared to be–Home Ec Girl’s Heaven–almost Food Network Fantasy Land. Carol and I took the lead (not even a little bit of a challenge), parked her car, and into the fray! We discovered hundreds of student-chefs in a kitchen gadget-laden ‘book store’. We went mad. After we had sated our tiny kitchen tool needs we had a fabulous lunch in the bistro followed by a self-tour of the glass-walled kitchens. Ahhhhhhh. Bliss.

Off to the FDR Museum, Valkill, and a brief walk around the Vanderbilt’s mansion. Then we headed to the Rhinebeck B&B…exceptional location, space, decor, and breakfast. Len continued to be baffled by the car… it was so quiet that he couldn’t tell if it was really operative. I just love the photo of Al helping by having a ‘Come to Jesus’ moment laying his hands on the car … The next morning we drove up (?) to Stockbridge, MA so I could fulfill a life list quest–the Norman Rockwell Museum. It was everything I wanted it to be…but I sure didn’t expect to get weepy at the sight of the Four Freedoms.

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I love the history. After hearing FDR’s Four Freedoms speech to Congress in 1941, Rockwell was compelled to translate the high minded words into an illustration of daily life. Once sketched, he took the idea to Washington, DC where he and the sketches were patently

dismissed by the Office of War Information (OWI). Imagine this, he was told that he might be able to help by illustrating a Marine calisthenics manual! So, the rest is history. On his way home, he stopped in Philadelphia where he met with the new editor of the Saturday Evening Post. In response to an an off-handed remark, Rockwell revealed the rejected sketches. From that split in the road of a conversation, the Post requested the paintings in full. Those paintings became the centerpiece of the war bond drive, ultimately sponsored by the OWI. The bond campaign raised more than a whopping $133 for the war effort! Way to go Norman. This story is almost a narrative to match any of his illustrations…about the triumph of the little guy. Here is what I like about Rockwell’s illustrations: They depict our former values and way of life.

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On our way back to Stockbridge, I received a call from Shelley-belle who is the consummate traveler…she tells me there is a MUST SEE location right there–the Kripalu retreat for every true-blooded Yogaist. This was the place to learn the joy of chanting, the difference between tantric and non-tantric versions of yoga, meditation, and spirituality through residential immersion! Since none of us knew what any of that meant, we just had to go. I think I might have a better self-concept if I had lived in narrower times where there wasn’t so much to know…at any rate it was verrrry interesting. I felt like everyone there knew by the looks of me that I was a Sweet & Low user… Nevertheless,t was fun and I fell upon a Henna tattoo kit….soon to be applied somewhere on top of cellulite by artist Susan L — probably not my entire back.

We spent the night at the very old Rhinebeck Inn, complete with sloping floors and creaking furniture. I think the photo of Len and Al on the porch reminds me of slow day at the Veterans Administration Hospital! Anyway, then weDSC05391.JPG headed southwest to West Point. The whole point of the trip to the HV was to see nephew, Baby David at the West Point Cadet Tattoo but in light of some bad weather forecasting, the commander in charge cancelled the event. I was major disappointed. The good news is that David met us on Saturday for a full tour in glorious weather. He was fantastic….handsome, gracious, courtly, and very smart. Carol and Al were duly impressed. All of us are pumped to go back and see and hear the bagpipes–another excuse to go back. DSC05416.jpg

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Since the tattoo was cancelled Len just drove and drove and drove all over CT. Len really should have been a long-haul trucker. He does love to drive. I felt like I needed to be turned so I wouldn’t get pressure point sores on my rear end! Hmmmm. We did get to stop and visit the Yale campus which was fun…Carol and Al headed on home and we went back to the Windsor Locks Hotel to ready for Len’s return home on Monday. What a great time.

  

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