Areas of Unrest
3 September 2001 - Taking the Waters
QOTD: "In real life, unlike in Shakespeare, the sweetness of the rose depends upon the name it bears. Things are not only what they are. They are, in very important respects, what they seem to be." - Hubert H. Humphrey
Reading: Dick Francis, The Danger
Listening to: Steven Bergman and David Kruh, The Curse of the Bambino
I had an easier time getting home than I'd had getting to upstate New York. No weather delays and a nice cozy business class seat left me in a good mood. I'd never pay for business class, but the free upgrade certificates I get for having status sure help on those long flights.
So, to continue the story, the most distinctive thing in Albany is a performing arts building on Empire State Plaza. I have no idea what the official name is, but everybody calls this structure "The Egg." It's actually a nice example of extremely futuristic architecture, something I like only in moderation.
I also went to Old Chathan to go to the Shaker Museum and Library. That was a bit of a disappointment, despite a nice collection of chairs, because they had almost nothing about Shaker music and because I had (mistakenly) thought it had been the site of an actual Shaker village. It is near the Mount Lebanon village, but was not a Shaker site itself. It turns out you can actually go to Mount Lebanon, which I'll have to do on another trip. I also want to go to the Watervliet site, which is essentially next to the Albany airport, and was the original Shaker colony in America. (It's also where Ann Lee is buried.) The music remains my primary interest, but I've also realized why women, in particular, were attracted to joining such an odd sect. If one didn't wish to marry (or wanted to leave a bad marriage) there just weren't as many options in the 19th century, and celibacy probably seemed a small price to pay. And, of course, when times were tough, the temptation to live in a community that guaranteed at least food, shelter and clothing, was obvious.
Then I drove out to Johnstown where I stayed overnight. It wasn't quite as near Cooperstown as the map made it seem. The Sunday drive was not helped by having to pass several Amish horses and buggies on the way. However, it would be a perfect area for bicycling, with rolling hills and no traffic. As for Cooperstown, I already said it was wonderful and I spent nearly six hours at the museum. (The Hall of Fame gallery itself is really a small part of what's there.) The multimedia show they have includes footage of the most incredible plays, including a catch (by a Japanese outfielder whose name I didn't write down) who actually climbed the left field wall to backhand what would obviously have been a home run. Try doing that in Fenway Park! Most of the exhibits highlight how silly baseball statistics can get, with things like the bat used to hit the 350th hit by a left handed third baseman of Albanian descent. The descriptions of players got rather poetic at times. I don't remember who was described as "the lanky Yankee with the wide stride" but I do remember them pointing out that the interior letters of Mickey Mantle's name made him a "KEY MAN" for the source of all evil in the universe. (They did not bother mentioning that the Yankees play that role in the running of the world, alas.) The most depressing thing in the place is the actual contract for the sale of Babe Ruth.
I drove on to Saratoga where I wrote yesterday's brief entry. Then I watched the Red Sox play the source of all evil and was heavily relieved that at least Carl Everett prevented a perfect game. I've not quite given up on this year, but I'm getting close. Usually they wait until last minute to break my heart. (By the way, I was discussing the game with a friend at work and he pointed out that the Sox are apparently for sale. I mention it in case anybody is wondering what to get me for my birthday.)
As for Saratoga, it is obvious why it was such a popular resort. It seems like most people who go now go for arts events or horse racing, but it's really a beautiful place. I did a Volksmarch that took me through much of Saratoga Spa State Park. I sampled the water at two springs. The Hayes spring was awful, sulfurous stuff, but the State Seal water was delicious, among the best I've ever tasted. And the weather was cool and crisp - ideal for walking through the woods. Overall, it was a very enjoyable weekend away.
Copyright 2001 Miriam H. Nadel
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