Letter From New York 12 23 2015 Peering through the fog…

It is relatively early in the morning and I am on the train, heading to New York City, where I will board a train to DC where I will board a train to Martinsburg, WV where I will be picked up by my friends Sarah and Jim Malone for the Holidays in Shepherdstown.

As I move south, rushing now between Rhinecliff and Poughkeepsie, the fog is so dense, it is impossible to see the Hudson River to my right.  It provides an eerie atmosphere to the morning, so warm that a light jacket is all one needs.  It is supposed to be seventy in Claverack on Christmas Eve.

Yesterday, I celebrated Christmas twice.  Once with young Nick, his partner Beth, and their three year old daughter, Alicia.   It gave me great smiles and bright eyes to see a three year old devour Christmas.  Earlier I gave her a “communicator” that allows her to talk with Santa Claus each day from December 1 to Christmas.  Nick and Beth tell me she is having a blast.

Then I cooked “Christmas” dinner for Lionel, Pierre and myself, mushroom soup, salad, a roast pork loin, mashed sweet potatoes and asparagus with a butter garlic sauce.  We had no room for dessert.

All day yesterday, I pretty much ignored the world, living in the solitude of the cottage, listening to Christmas carols and prepping for dinner.  The exception was at the gym, on the treadmill where I listened to the sad story of the young woman accused in the car rampage in Las Vegas.  A troubled youth who turned her life around and then…Las Vegas.  People are attempting to understand.

Then there was a long exegesis of the Middle East with Wolf Blitzer, the CNN perennial, and a Congressman and retired General, that left me feeling depressed.

The Congressman predicted that we will be engaged there for decades and the retired General opined our efforts are inadequate.  The Congressman wants more bombing, forget the civilians.  They are the necessary sacrifices to move the needle.  It underscored for me that “W” let the genie out of the bottle and he’s never going back in.

The Afghans have the best army they have had in years but corruption in Kabul is keeping them from getting bullets.

The Iraqis are fighting to retake Ramadi and have sent more troops in to help in the effort to hand IS its biggest defeat in two years.

The Donald keeps marching forward in the polls, up to 39% at this point, twice Ted Cruz’s standing and, according to recent polls, the Republicans are beginning to accept that Trump will be their standard bearer.  What?  Is this really happening?  Can’t I change the channel?

I lightened my mood a bit by reading the wild adventures of Madame Claude, arguably the most famous brothel owner in Paris’ history.  Her clients included most of the great names of the ’60’s and ’70’s.  She died in France at the venerable age of 92. 

The fog is still thick as we begin the last leg into New York, having just pulled out of Croton Harmon.  There are forty minutes left before we hit the city.  At noon I will board an Acela for the next leg.

Behind me there is a woman who has been on the phone now, non-stop, for well over an hour.  Occasionally when she needs to do something, she puts her caller on speakerphone.  I didn’t realize anyone talks on the phone that way anymore just like I can’t believe the Republican Party is thinking Trump is the hope for 2016.

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