Posts Tagged ‘Hudson Farmer’s Market’

Letter from Claverack 06 04 2017 Comforting things in touchy times…

June 5, 2017

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The pearl grey of twilight is settling on the Hudson Valley and I’m playing the Joan Baez station from Amazon Prime Music in the background, wrapped in the warmth of a fleece pullover as the day has been infused with a chill closer to October than June.

We have had 4.5 inches more rain than normal this year.  Last year was a drought; this year a flood. Saturday started with rain and then became a brilliant early spring day – except it’s not quite early spring anymore.

At the Farmer’s Market, I picked up fair trade coffee and some incredible chevre from an amazing artisanal cheese maker that I discovered at the winter market.  In a way, I feel disloyal to the other cheese purveyors I frequent and her cheeses are over the top wonderful.  She is in the market, center aisle, on the east end.  Goats and Gourmets.

And all this is very hygge.  And oh, my god! Do I need hygge right now!

Donald Trump has removed us from the Paris Climate Accords.  It was not unexpected and it is disappointing.  As I watch, from my point of view, I am witnessing the President of this country diminish us with every move he makes.

It is something that saddens me every day and I know I must live with this for the rest of his term, be it four or eight years.  All this impeachment talk is not very real as it is hard, as it should be, to impeach a president.  It’s my hope that we will have only one term of this man and that the country will elect someone in 2020 who will deal with the very real problems we face.

Trump trumpeted he would spend money to restore the infrastructure of this country which is in desperate need of restoration.  His plan for that seems, to me, a little incoherent.

As is my custom, from my Catholic childhood, I light candles at church on Sunday when I come back from communion.  One candle is for me.  Call me selfish but one candle is just for me.  Another is for the people I know who are having health issues.  It includes the daughter of my friend Clark Bunting, whose daughter suffered a traumatic brain injury and the son of a former boyfriend who has a son who also suffers from that and seems to be doing well as well as all the others I know who are dealing with health issues.

And I light a candle for Donald Trump and the world in which we are living, praying we will get through this.

Then I light a candle for all the things I said I would light a candle about and have forgotten.

It is very comforting for me to do this.

One of the reasons I attend Christ Church is that I am getting older and at some point, in this getting older process, I won’t be here and I would like a community of people to mourn me.  Christ Church will.  In the last few years, I have become an integral part of that community.  My coffee hours after the 10:30 service are legendary as are the Easter brunches I have organized the last two years.

And I would like there to be a great good party on the deck of the cottage or, if that’s not possible, at the Red Dot.  I’m part of that community also.

It’s my hope it will be some long time before there will need to be a celebration but I am laying the ground work for that.  That, too, is hygge for me.

Sitting here in the cottage, I am grateful and that is so comforting, to be grateful.

Letter from Claverack 11/05/2016 All about Hudson…

November 6, 2016

It is fall like but not November fall like.  In Minnesota my brother went to a football game wearing Bermuda shorts; it was 75 degrees there.  In Claverack, it scraped 65 and I was warm in my pullover fleece.

When I left home this morning, I wandered the Farmer’s Market, picking up a few things I craved like the Sea Salt and Onion cashews from Tierra Farms and some of their Free Trade Honduran coffee.  Meandering over to the Red Dot, I had the omelet of the day and then went wandering the streets of Hudson, marching up one side of Warren Street and returning on the other side, an adventure that took me three hours.

There are all kinds of changes on Warren Street and while I have been aware of them, I haven’t walked the street the way I used to when I first arrived here.  Some antique stores are gone and seem to have been replaced by clothing stores.  Several times I thought I could be in SoHo in Manhattan.

A fancy pizzeria has opened and Olde Hudson has expanded beyond belief.  Dena, who owns it, is a friend so I had seen that.

Many of us have been joking lately about the number of expensive cars seen on the street.  Not so long ago I spotted a Ferrari parked on Warren Street as I was on my way to meet Larry Divney for lunch.  We both said it was the beginning of the end.

When I arrived here fifteen years ago there were no expensive cars on the street.  My Acura was an anomaly for the time as was Larry’s Infiniti.

Hudson is becoming a destination.  For better or worse.  Better for my house value but perhaps worse for those who liked the edge Hudson had when I arrived, a little bit of rebelliousness that was a treasure.

The center of it was the Red Dot, owned by Alana Hauptman who is the Texas Guinan of our town.  Don’t know Texas Guinan?  She ran the hottest speakeasies in New York during Prohibition.  After 16 years, the Dot is still here and still a center of life in Hudson.  And Alana is our Texas Guinan.

And walking Warren Street today, I was astounded by the changes.  To think that I would be thinking it was a bit like SoHo, which is where I was living when we bought the house, is something I would never have thought then.  Sometime, long after I am gone, it will be a lot like Provincetown, I suspect.  Or Edgartown on The Vineyard.  It’s becoming that kind of place.

But will never be exactly that kind of place.  That’s what makes Hudson so special.

There were Porsches everywhere on the street today.  When I went back to the Dot after my tour of the street I ran into James Ivory, the director of films like “A Room with a View.”  He’s become a bit of friend,  has been at parties at my home and dinners too, and one Christmas I spent with him at his house.  With Alana…

It has been an interesting escapade to have lived here through all this, to witness the transformation of a community from rough and tumble to almost respectable.  It was and is an artist’s haven, a place where writers and painters and actors gather.

Across the river in Catskill, there is the Bridge Street Theater and I went last week to a performance of “Frankenstein.”  It was brilliant.  And I mean brilliant.  Steven Patterson, who did every role, was as riveting as Paul Scofield [“A Man For All Seasons”] when I saw him in London on my first trip there.  It was a forgettable script but his performance was transcendent.  Steven Patterson’s performance was like that.

Transcendent.

John Sowle directed.  Equal kudos to him.

Tonight, I am not talking about politics or world events.  I can’t tonight.  We are at the near end of the most awful political period I have ever experienced.  No matter who wins, the contentiousness will not end.

 

The creek at night.

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Letter From New York 06 21 15 Father’s Day, International Day of Yoga and Summer Solstice…

June 21, 2015

Today is Father’s Day. Happy Father’s Day to all fathers who might be reading this…

It’s a grey day in New York. I’m on the train down to the city where I will be attending a play in Riverside Park at the Police and Firemen’s Memorial near 89th and Riverside, a mere four blocks from the apartment in New York. A friend invited me to join her and her family and friends and I committed to it a while ago.

My own father passed away when I was twelve years old. He was a quiet, reclusive sort of man around the house, preferring to putter every evening in his basement woodworking shop to almost anything else. He maintained a golf course perfect lawn, was well liked at work. He managed a commercial bakery in Minneapolis, owned by American Bakeries; at the time it was the second largest commercial baking company in the world. American made Taystee Bread, “baked while you sleep.” The largest baking company was Continental; they made Wonder Bread.

We were not close the last six years of his life. He became more withdrawn. His health faded following two heart attacks. While recuperating, he played endless games of solitaire in the den, at the desk facing the window; playing cards and watching the world go by. Like him, I have a fondness for the game.

He and my mother were in a very rough patch of their marriage, though I only realized that later, with the wisdom that comes from growing older and ruminating on what has passed, coupled with conversations with my older brother and sister.

The night before he died, I was being a squirrely twelve year old. He was annoyed and told me to go to my room. It was our last encounter. In the morning, he suffered a massive stroke and was gone in minutes.

Over the intervening years, I have grown to have appreciation for him. He did his best with me, given what was going on with him and I now credit him for that. Rest in peace, dad, and Happy Father’s Day.

Today is the longest day of the year, the Summer Solstice; from now on the days grow shorter until the Winter Solstice. That’s a little depressing but there is still some time before the days grow short.

Today was chosen by India to celebrate International Yoga Day and all over the world Yoga is being practiced to mark the occasion. My friend, Raja Choudhury, created the official Indian Yoga Film, which is being shown at Indian Embassies around the world.

In Charleston, SC the Emmanuel AME Church has reopened for services after last Wednesday’s massacre. To me it is a sign of resilience and hope that they are worshiping there today.

Just about now, Greece’s creditors are having a meeting in Brussels in advance of an emergency meeting tomorrow to see if there can be a resolution of the Greek debt crisis. Tsipras, Greece’s Prime Minister, flies there tonight after meeting with his cabinet on a “definitive” proposal to their debtors.

Tsipras has also been playing footsie with Vladimir Putin, who says he might consider a loan to Greece. It’s been seen by many as a mutual attempt to thumb noses at Europe and unlikely to happen. But stranger things have happened in Putin’s Russia.

Shortly, I will be off to see the play in Riverside Park. The grey and threatening day seems to have given way to sun and breezes, the air heavy after the night’s rain. It is Henry IV, Part 1 by Shakespeare. I had a small part in it when I was in college.

Right now, I am chilling the white wine in the freezer with a timer set so I don’t forget it. I am bringing strawberries, cherries, cheeses, apples and some bread from yesterday’s Farmer’s Market in Hudson. It should make a good repast. There will be five or six of us.

I’ll tell you about it tomorrow.

Letter From New York 05 17 15 Beauty contrasting with tragedy…

May 17, 2015

It has been a beautiful, summer like day in Claverack. The creek is still and the trees that overhang it are reflected back in the mirror that is the water. The trees have bloomed and a canopy of green has arrived to the view in front of me as I write. The days are longer and when I have finished today’s letter, I will find myself something to eat.

Today, I took the day for myself, caught up on my cluttered email inbox, luxuriated in waking early and reading The Times along with a mug of good, strong Honduran free trade coffee picked up a couple of weeks ago at the Farmer’s Market, on the day it opened its summer season in a parking lot at 7th and Columbia in Hudson.

I am relaxing in my freshly painted living and dining rooms and have had a lovely day. Yesterday, while doing some work I discovered that my vehicle inspection was now seriously overdue and so I went and had that done. I plowed through two weeks of mail, so much of it that it came home in a Post Office plastic bin.

Other than the vehicle inspection and picking up my clothes from the laundry, I have not wandered from my two little acres on the creek.

The news is not good. Ramadi has apparently fallen to IS, giving them a foothold seventy miles from Baghdad, which is closer than comfortable I would imagine if I were sitting in the Presidential Palace there.

In Syria, in a rare ground involvement, the US Army’s Delta Force made a daring nighttime raid Friday, killing Abu Sayyaf, a leading IS figure who had a commanding role in IS’s finances. They scooped up buckets of data before they departed with his wife, Umm Sayyaf, who is now being held in Iraq. She, too, was in the know about many things and is being “debriefed.”

Ukraine is claiming to have captured two Russian soldiers near the rebel held eastern zone. They are shown in a video, which has not been independently verified. More to come on this, I’m sure.

Whenever I hear the word “Macedonia” I think of Alexander the Great, who hailed from there. But it is a real country, once part of the former Yugoslavia, and it is in crisis. Tens of thousands of Macedonians have taken to the streets to demand the resignation of the Prime Minister, who has been revealed to be pretty dictatorial in a series of conversations that had been recorded. Think the Nixon tapes. He says he isn’t going anywhere and there is a chance this could become ugly.

In Nepal, the toll in the earthquakes which have ravaged the country are now climbing toward 9,000, surpassing the death toll in the last great earthquake in 1934. Six American Marines and two Nepali soldiers died when their helicopter crashed. Their bodies have now been recovered and returned to Kathmandu. They died on a mission to evacuate survivors.

Pope Francis, who never ceases to amaze, has canonized two 19th Century Palestinian nuns. He has also called Abbas of Palestine “an angel of peace.” The Vatican has implicitly implied that it recognized the “State of Palestine.” I am sure this is causing deep concern in Tel Aviv.

The canonization of the Palestinian nuns is seen as a way of offering encouragement to Middle Eastern Christians who are more embattled today than they have been for centuries.

In Egypt, former President Morsi has been condemned to death and the sentence has gone in front of Egypt’s Grand Mufti for consideration. I was once at a panel on which the last Grand Mufti sat. He resigned shortly thereafter. I think he didn’t want to have to deal with issues like this.

There is a very good chance that Ireland’s voters will vote in gay marriage. Stunning for a country that is heavily Catholic. In a recent poll, 63% were in favor. The Church’s influence in Ireland is on the wane.

Obama has said that full gay rights won’t be won overnight. And it’s very true. Even if the Supreme Court legalizes same sex marriage in June there will be other, local battles to be won. Discrimination against gays is not forbidden in many states and then we have Mike Huckabee…

Outside the room in which I am writing, I hear the distant sound of birds singing. A stray cat has wandered over my deck, calmly until it noticed me. It is a stunningly beautiful night.