Letter From New York November 26, 2014

There is a song that goes something like:

Outside the weather is quite frightful

Inside, it’s quite delightful…

And that’s the way it is today, November 26, 2014 in Claverack, NY. Outside, there is a traditional Nor’easter happening; snow is falling relentlessly, several inches having accumulated with more promised.

I just got a promotional email from a restaurant in New York appealing to folks who might have had their travel plans changed today because of the weather. My friends Nick and Lisa got up at oh dark thirty this morning so they could beat the weather to Massachusetts so they wouldn’t miss the annual Thanksgiving at Lisa’s mothers house.

Prayers have been said for all my friends who are flying somewhere today; some flights were cancelled already last night in anticipation of the storm.

It is undeniably beautiful outside – my little woods are all white and pristine. I scurried out early this morning just as the snow was beginning to fall to buy groceries as I am cooking dinner tonight for my friends, Lionel and Pierre.

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving and I will be celebrating it with Lionel and other friends at Larry Divney and Alicia Vergara’s house up in Stuyvesant. I’ve spent at least ten of the last dozen Thanksgivings with them, either at my house or theirs. It’s become something of a tradition.

And while I am being traditional tomorrow, while most of America is being traditional, across the world, OPEC is gathering to determine if it is going to cut production to support oil prices that have been falling. Why gas is close to three dollars a gallon here in New York and we’re on the high side of the country. Apparently, this drop in demand is squeezing countries like Venezuela pretty hard, used to petrodollars to support itself. I’m sure that it’s squeezing Putin’s Russia pretty severely, too, even though they are not an OPEC country.

This is something important that is going to happening while we are feasting and I doubt many of us will give it much thought – unless, of course, like me, you have signed up for breaking alerts from CNN and the BBC. They’ll ping my phone the moment there is any news.

I took a test today to score my knowledge of the international scene. I did okay; apparently I did better than 92% of my fellow Americans. I missed a couple of questions that I should have gotten. It annoyed me that I missed them. Pew is the organization behind the quiz. Apparently it is trying to find out how smart – or dumb – we are. I’m sure they will issue a study once the quiz has provided enough information. I like Pew for that – they keep us informed about where we stand on social issues as well as political ones.

On this snowy Wednesday before Thanksgiving, I can feel the world slowing down. We’re going into a long weekend; many places being closed Friday as well as Thursday. Many folks I know, if they are working today, are only working half days. The trains coming north last night were packed with folks getting out of Dodge ahead of the storm.

And with flights being cancelled I am sure the trains are a zoo today.

I’m thankful to be here, cozy in the cottage, a fire burning in the Franklin Stove, getting ready to celebrate the most American of holidays, Thanksgiving. I’ve much to be thankful for this year. It’s not perfect but I’m not in Mosul or any other “hot” zone. I’ll be curled up with friends, raising toasts to each other and to the magical moment that is Thanksgiving.

Happy Thanksgiving to one and all! Eat, drink and be merry. Have fun. Don’t drink and drive. Try to be kind to those crazy relatives! Be thankful!

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