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In These Otsego Hills

June 7, 2012

In These Otsego Hills: Back in Cooperstown ...

We are happy to report that we have returned from our annual spring sojourn to the midwest. We began our vacation this year by spending a little over a week in Ohio with the Widge, a.k.a. our granddaughter Abby, and her parents. And although we may be prejudiced, we find her to be most charming.

Not long after we arrived, it seemed that the latch on the back door stopped working. Attempts were made to resurrect it without luck. Thus, it was removed in anticipation of replacing it. Not long after that, the Widge announced, heading for the back door that she was going outside. When she got there she reached up for the doorknob only to discover it was not there. She recoiled, saying “Whoops!” We did our very best not to laugh. We also quite enjoyed helping with the dressing of her various dolls, all of which seemed to spend much of their time in a state of undress.

However, each morning she would arrive in front of us with a naked doll and a piece of doll clothing, saying “Help please.” Once the doll was appropriately dressed, she very carefully put the doll to bed in the dining room. And then at the end of the day, she would arrive with the dressed doll, again saying “Help please” for assistance with removing the doll’s clothes. We assume that the day will come when she will be able to dress and undress the dolls by herself and we will greatly miss being asked to help.

From Ohio we motored up to Michigan to spend about three weeks with our brother and sister at the family cottage on Lake Michigan. Even though the fate of the cottage remains unclear, we all thought that we should spend a bit of time sorting through and cleaning out years of accumulated stuff.

We made what proved to be a somewhat unfortunate decision to get to our destination in Michigan via the Indiana Toll Road, something we had done before. However, unbeknownst to us the toll road now has replaced real toll takers with machines. As a result, it took what seemed to be hours to get off the toll  road. When we pulled up tothe toll booth there were five cars ahead us in a line that did not seem to be moving. And when we finally got to the toll taking machine, we found out why.

We inserted our ticket, as the instructions indicated we should do. It was promptly rejected with the explanation that it was not a valid ticket. Unfortunately it was the only ticket we had. We put it in again ... and again ... and again ... and again and each time the machine rejected it.

We finally found a help button which we pushed only to have a disembodied voice ask if there was a problem. And while we were tempted to say there was no problem we just wanted to see if the help button worked any better than the slot for the ticket did, we didn’t, explaining our dilemma instead. After a minute we were told to insert the ticket again which we did. And the machine, of course, rejected it again. We explained we had no luck and were asked to try it again with the same result.

It was only then we were told that we weren’t really supposed to insert the ticket, even though that is what the sign said. Instead we should just hold the ticket near the slot and then the machine would take it. This fact quite made us wonder why the instructions did not say that. But once we did it that way, the ticket disappeared into the bowels of the machine. We were then told to insert our money, which the machine promptly rejected.

Needless to say, by the time the little gate finally lifted and we were able to exit the toll booth, there were 10 cars behind us. However, we did find the experience to be most educational as we learned to never drive on the Indiana Toll Road again.

Of course, we learned all sorts of things during our time in Michigan. We discovered the wonder of the Take N Bake pizza, something of which we had never before heard. Of course, we were greatly puzzled by the fact that we ordered a vegetarian pizza with Italian sausage until we learned such a pizza was not on the menu but something our sister special ordered. We also discovered that while the Grand Rapids Press publishes seven days a week, it only offers home delivery on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays.

And much to our horror we discovered the Glenn, Mich., post office has been closed, although the hardware store in Glenn seems to be picking up some of those post office duties.

We also discovered we could live without Internet access at the cottage. Of course, we had to keep running to the Saugatuck-Douglas Public Library to use their free wireless Internet service least we suffer from withdrawal. And we actually discovered that worked rather well except for the day we encountered a women at the library working on a computer when her cellphone rang. She told the caller she couldn’t talk because she was at the library.

However that fact did in no way deter her from not only carrying on a conversation, but also taking the caller’s order for food items to be purchased through an online food service. We learned that a bag of almonds was $5.79 while the tomato bisque soup was $2.75 a can before we decided to leave in order to take in the Friday night fish fry at the What Not Inn in Fennville.

And while we can’t speak to the quality of the online food, we can say without hesitation that the fish fry at the What Not Inn was the best fish fry we have ever had anywhere.

Of course, our time at the cottage was actually a work session. We all had our assigned jobs. Ours was to sort the gazillion family pictures, some of them dating back to the Civil War, which were stored there. Not only were we supposed to sort the pictures by family, but to also identify as many as possible. We puzzled over which baby picture was Aunt Olive. We tried to discern how many of the Cathcart children were in various school pictures.

And who, we wondered, was the young women with our grandmother in an early professional photograph. It was not an easy task, made all the more difficult by the fact that we cannot tell our baby pictures from those of our sister unless our brother is also in them to give some perspective of time. Thus we rather arbitrarily decided that all the really cute baby pictures were of us and the rest were of our sister. Even so, we thought our task to be better than some of the other opinions. Our brother, for example, was given the chore of rebuilding the outhouse.

And while we survived our time at the cottage, we do think our age is catching up with us. We simply do not seem anymore to have the stamina to work endless hours on any project.

Thus, we suppose we must admit that the Widge probably had it right when she announced “Gramma old, but Gramma OK.” Our only fear is that in the future the “old“ may be more true than the “OK.”

PLEASE NOTE: Comments regarding this column may be made by mail at 105 Pioneer Street, Cooperstown, NY 13326, by telephone at 607-547-8124 or by e-mail at cellsworth1@stny.rr.com

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In These Otsego Hills
  • Thoughts on traffic and roads We recently enjoyed a brief visit from Jon Battle, one of our late husband's college buddies, who always enjoys visiting Cooperstown and passing howdy on the front porch. And while the front porch is not as welcoming as it used to be since there are no chairs on it, we were able to pass howdy from the comfort of our family room. And during the many subjects that we covered in our conversation, the topic of potholes came up.

    July 17, 2014

  • Potholes and oversights bring bumps We have received a number of comments regarding our discussion on potholes in last week’s column. And most of them were in agreement that the potholes are indeed a problem.

    July 10, 2014

  • Potholes need place on village agenda We have long thought that the concepts of perspective and priorities have the ability to present problems for people. As we are inclined to say, getting one's ducks all in a row is often difficult. And as we have learned about issues currently under consideration by the Village of Coopertown it does make us wonder about their ducks.

    July 3, 2014

  • Summer unofficially begins with ice cream Although summer officially arrived this past weekend, we have long thought that the kick off event for the summer season in Cooperstown is the annual Ice Cream Social sponsored by the First Presbyterian Church on Pioneer Street.

    June 26, 2014

  • Splitting logs gives splitting headache We are happy to report that Woodside Hall is continuing with its presentation of programs which are open to the public. This evening at 6:30 p.m., they are hosting Glimmerglass Festival designers Troy Hourie and Erik Teague who will discuss their role in the company's summer production of Strauss' opera, "Ariadne in Naxos: Unplugged."

    June 19, 2014

  • Summer right for driving in the streets We have realized, having consulted our trusty calendar, that next Sunday is Father's Day. And thus this past weekend we were online looking for an appropriate printable Father's Day greeting card which we might send to the wee-we. Since we have been somewhat housebound this year, we have discovered the convenience of printable holiday cards. We used them rather successfully, we thought, when we sent them to the granddaughters for both Valentine's Day and Easter.

    June 12, 2014

  • June musings XXXXXXXX Difficult as it is to believe, it seems we have made it to June which always seems to be a fairly busy month. And this year is no different. In fact when we turned to our calendar to June we were stunned. We always hope to find we are entering a month in which we have little, if anything, planned. But when we turned to June, we quickly realized we were faced immediately with three meeting as well as four follow-up appointments with four different doctors at Bassett. And much as we would have liked to simply move right on to July, we decided that was really not an option. So we are plowing ahead with June.

    June 5, 2014

  • Presidential reading replaces viewing ince we knew we were not in a position to take in any of the festivities surrounding the president's recent visit to the Hall of Fame, we decided we needed to celebrate in another way. And, as luck would have it, we are currently reading the recently released biography, "James Madison: A Life Reconsidered." What better way, we thought, to mark the current president's visit by reading about a former president's life. It seemed perfect. Besides, it gave us a reason to spend the day with our nose in a book.

    May 29, 2014

  • Best not to push luck on spring This week we note that the Literary Discussion Group meeting, originally scheduled for today, May 22, has been postponed until Thursday, May 29 at 2:30 p.m. in the Village of Cooperstown Library. William Shakespeare's "The Taming of the Shrew" will be the topic of discussion at the rescheduled meeting.

    May 22, 2014

  • Thoughts on the upcoming votes Next week, on Tuesday, May 20 voters in the Cooperstown Central School District will head to the polls to vote on three important issues, the CCS 2014-2015 budget, the election of members of the school board and a resolution for changing the funding of the two pubic libraries located within the school district, namely the Village of Cooperstown Library and the Kinney Memorial Library in Hartwick.

    May 15, 2014