The Hillhouse

The Journey of a Mother and Son

Day Away July 28, 2013

Had occasion to visit a new friend in a neighboring community yesterday. It was about an hour’s drive west, and I was excited to visit the town, as I’d known about it all my life but had never been there. Gloversville, NY, was once upon a time the very seat of America’s glove-making industry. Sorry – no historical pics of the town or its industry here. In fact just snapped a very few, but just enough to remind myself that I got out for a day and went someplace new…

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Now this lifts my heart – a good, old-fashioned music store, very much in the style of my beloved Village Music School ‘back home’ in Deerfield, Illinois. Saw four old-timers on the porch and just had to stop by and say hi. The future of joints like this seems a little iffy in our culture of big box music stores. But ya never know. There’s just no substitute for a place like this.

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Such sweetie pies! The men of Dad’s Music Shop invited Elihu and me to come and join em on a Saturday night jam. Our skills are rather primitive (at least mine are on the accordion) yet  I do think we might be able to keep up on a tune or two. It’s on the ‘to try’ list for sure…

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And look, I found myself a mid-century home in town! Hmm, gets me thinking…

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And an old filling station. A 1930s building, a 1950s light fixture. Awesome.

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But here’s the real Mecca. WATER. Plus mountains. Crazy silly awesome stuff of dreams. Man do I miss a lake…. The Great Sacandaga Lake is a river basin that was flooded in the late 1920s. While not truly a ‘natural’ lake, it is nonetheless a very beautiful place, with wide open vistas framed by the Southern Adirondack Mountains. Love driving over the bridge – it almost feels like I’m flying….

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Keeping my eyes on the road, I took a chance that these pics would come out…

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The end of the long bridge ride. The rest of the trip home was made up a steeply graded mountain and over miles and miles of dirt and gravel road. My ears clicked as the altitude changed and a cool mist covered the road in places. I imagine the folks two hundred years ago first carving these roads out of the forest – and I give up trying to even understand what that must have been like. I may still use the archaic flip phone (is it old enough yet to be ironic or cute?) but nonetheless I am a modern woman. While I may engage in some minor farm activity each day, truly, there is no ‘pioneer’ in me. Not sure how well I woulda fared in 1830.

I am eternally grateful for the physical infrastructure all around us, and in awe of its construction and design. All I gotta do is drive and take in the scenery.  Which makes for a very low-key, pleasant day away.

 

Fiddling Around March 17, 2013

It’s been a fine weekend here at the Hillhouse. On Friday we enjoyed a visit from the girl twins with whom Elihu had grown so close months ago. Their moving away this past fall broke Elihu’s heart (see the post “Heartsick” from November 2012) and being able to spend an afternoon with them gave my son joy as he hadn’t known in a good long while. The following day we were still coasting on that great feeling, and we celebrated with a bountiful breakfast of fruit-filled crepes, oh-so-good bacon, and deviled eggs. Elihu requested the deviled eggs, and in that we have no shortage of eggs around here, and no one to justify it to, I made a good dozen of em. (Strangely, my Atkins diet even allowed me to enjoy some, albeit in moderation). We were both enormously contented and sated after our decadent brunch. So I began the clean-up with a happy and light heart, as Elihu retired to the living room and began to play his violin.

Usually, Elihu will choose to play his recorder when he’s in the mood for something aside from the piano or the drums. And he’s actually gotten quite good at it; he can play chromatically as well as play a handful of different scales. He began to learn the chromatic stuff in an effort to duplicate a blues scale. It was a good motivation; now he’s off and running. He hasn’t played the violin so much lately, so this is nice. I hear him go through his modest beginner’s repertoire; just a bit beyond Twinkle Twinkle, he’s off into the territory of Cripple Creek and Old Joe Clark. (I smile to myself as I recall my brief stint with banjo lessons years ago. I remember learning the iconic Boil Them Cabbage Down – as taught by the equally iconic Bob Gand at the Village Music Store in Deerfield, Illinois). What a sweet time this is, I think to myself. I know my son is growing up, but I also know he’s still a young boy. Sometimes he’s so smart, insightful and articulate that it’s often a bit difficult to realize that he is still so young. But he is still little. Still not ten. Still believes… And while the world is becoming more real to him each day, there is still some magic present in his experience which only belongs to the very young. He’s not quite there, but change is underway. This too will be a memory before long. I try to focus on this moment. I breathe in, I pause, I try to suspend time as best I can…

As I stood at the sink, my hands in the warm, soapy water, I looked out over the lovely pastoral view outside my window. I listened to Elihu making up sweet little variations on his violin, and I sank as deeply into the moment as I could. We were two happy people with nothing much to do, except just to be… A perfect day just to fiddle around.