Thursday, December 07, 2006

A Visit to Granpaw's House


Phew! I haven’t had a moment with all the holidays to tell you about my latest trips.

Honestly, it was colder then than it is now, so stop complaining about the weather and get out there.

We went to Grandpaw’s house in Saugerties, NY in early December.

Bet you didn't think I had a Granpaw? That's silly, everyone does. My Granpaw happens to be human and a little famous, in his own right, so that should be the only surprise.


He's not crankdacious either: no, he's a spry, fit, handsome gent who still rides a bike and takes a great interest in farmers' markets (if you guessed who he is, you're right!)

Anyway, going to Granpaw's house is always a little tenacious, if you catch my drift, as it should be of course with all multi-generational mixing.

First there's this big old white cat named Lulu who is current Queen of the manor, and boy is she mean! She almost sent me running up a tree last time, You won't see us in the same picture, because as a rule, I have to be on a leash in a separate room of the house 24-7.

And as much as Granpaw adores, and I mean, simply adores his grandchildren, his friends still for some reason don't like me.


It could be because for most of my adult life I have been what the Dominicans in our neighborhood say, "brava".

Now I have to admit that in the past I have added a bit of charge to scare Granpaw's friends when they stray unwelcome onto his land. I have since mellowed but they haven't had a chance to experience the "new" me.

Unfortunately those peace-loving Beatnik Benepes, just don't get the idea of "dogshweh" which means "to protect the family" in Tiggilingua.

A trip to the market

On Saturday morning, we discovered, as per usual, that there was no milk left for breakfast. I decided to use this as an excuse to continue experimenting in telling mother what to do telepathically.

I have been able to get past the “go left”, “go right” orders, and have now entered the more complex territory of telling her actually where to go.

We hustled Uncle Simon to go with us, and headed off down Van Vlierdan Road to the Blue Mountain market about three miles away.

Note: almost everything is about "Van this" and "Van that" because the Dutch were some of the first people to settle here in the 1700’s.

In fact the name Saugerties is derived from the Dutch, Zager's Killetje: Zager which means sawyer or sawmill, and Kill which signifies creek or stream, with the suffix "t j e" to indicate small or little (now modernized as "t i e s"), according to Richard Frisbie, owner of Hope Farm Press and Bookshop, a bookstore in the town. The sawmill on the 'Zager's Killetje, means Little Kill, or Saugerties.

First we passed the quintessential upstate-NY, Trash House.

Their yard is scattered with junk, old clothing, abandoned toys, and garbage. For one reason or another you see more trash houses in NY State than elsewhere. What's up with that?

Then we came to the turn in the road and passed the reservoir, where I have been known to jump in the water to chase the geese, much to mommy's chagrin. This time she had me firmly leashed (darn).

One late night we even saw a baby bear here running away from our car (of course she was a spitting image of me).


We arrived at the market, a simple place with not much more than newspapers, milk, and a lot of local gossip. My chief complaint about the joint is lack of dog treats, and the fact that locals leave their cars running outside: what a waste of fossil fuel!

We took the “long” way back, along the ridge of the Blue Mountains on Blue Mountain Road where some of my favorite farms and vistas are to be had, past the old schoolhouse, the Blue Mountain Church (it does get repetitive), and the notorious Mafiosi house (see above, and just joking).

Thanks to two enterprising Saugerties cyclists, Gil Hales and Mike Harkavy, part of the route we traveled has been well documented and can be accessed on the Village of Saugerties website as well as three other bike trips.

Uncle Simon paused for a pic in front of the mountain that reminds me of freedom.

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