Sunday, November 6, 2011

a day in upsate new york (lyn)

August. 1969.  Vivien and I are holding tickets to Woodstock.  I don’t remember buying them, but somehow Vivien has them.  We talk about hitchhiking to New York, but in the end, we don’t.  Despite the monumental event that Woodstock turns out to be, I’m still not sure I would have enjoyed it.  Too much rain and mud. 

But I did enjoy my trip to Bethel New York today to see the museum that has been built on the magnificent grounds of Max Yasgur’s farm.

I haven’t seen John since March.  On our last date he tried to convince me why we might make a good couple.  The next time I hear from him is when I call him a few weeks ago.  Good that neither of us have expectations.

John picks me up at 10.  It’s a gorgeous autumn day, the first Sunday of November.  This also happens to be the same day as the NYC Marathon.  Streets are closed everywhere.  It takes an hour to get out of the city.

We arrive in Bethel after one.  We get out of the car and John looks at me and says, “Wow.  You really are thin.  I’m used to seeing you in winter clothes.”  He is very sweet.  Then, with masculine insouciance he adds,  “You can be sure that I didn’t lose any weight since the last time I saw you.”  

The grounds are magnificent and we take a few pictures before going inside for a quick lunch of tomato soup and crackers.

The museum is empty.  There are probably as many volunteers working as guests visiting.  The focus of the museum is Woodstock, and the 60’s culture from which it evolved.  There are long and short videos of the era and the festival throughout the museum.  Putting on a pair of headphones, I’m immediately  transported to the time of my youth. 

We stay until 4:30 or so, and then drive over to Monticello for dinner.  I had done some online research and had chosen a steakhouse called The Old Homestead. We arrive to an empty parking lot.

Consistent with the empty parking lot, we are the only people in the restaurant.  “Sundays are slow,” our serious waitress tells us.  We ask her to take a picture and her nervousness at handling a camera is apparent.  “I’m really not good with anything technical,” she tells us.  “That’s, okay, “ John says. “It’s pretty easy.  Just snap here.”  She takes one picture.

We both eat too much of their homemade bread, and split a tuna tartare appetizer (that looks like a giant meatball).  Salad and potato comes with the meal, so we skip the vegetable side.  We each order the 23-ounce rib eye, cut it in half, and take about 12 ounces home.

Another two diners walk in.  The large restaurant is still empty and they seat the new diners at the table directly behind ours.  Soon they are picking up parts of our conversation and incorporating it into theirs.  Odd.  Another couple walks in and they are seated to our immediate left.  By the time we are done drinking our cappuccinos, the six of us are in conversation together. 

Being with John is always easy.  With me, he is uncomplicated, accommodating, well-mannered, and generous.  I am relaxed and comfortable with him.  And each date is like a first.  Still filled with some wonder of what will happen next.  And in John’s case, there is always the question of when next will happen. 

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