I’ve always believed that if you want to see where you’re going, it’s advisable to see where you’ve been. This holiday season allowed me to do just that…
I’m in love with a new part of America! (New to me, that is.) My friend Deborah Aydt Marinelli, a soul sister with whom I spent years of my much younger life,invited me to spend Christmas holiday with her in Niverville, New York. Because my sons and grandchildren wouldn’t be coming to visit until the end of December, I decided “Why not?” It would be only the second time I hadn’t spent Christmas in Santa Fe. The first time was when I travelled to India to research a novel. (That’s Clara and The Hand of Ganesha, to be completed in 2019).
Deborah is one of my most brilliant and accomplished friends. She’s a PhD in literature, a professor, world traveler, author of over a dozen books, mostly young adult novels. After losing her beloved husband Larry in the spring of 2018, she came to Santa Fe, New Mexico, to revisit old, formerly familiar places. We spent time together. Our mutual Santa Fe years, in the 70s and 80s, had created in us a deep bond, one that survived the 30 years that had passed since we’d last seen each other face to face. She knew my children when they were in elementary school; I considered her son and daughter as part of my own family.
When I accepted her gracious invitation to visit for Christmas, I fully expected to help her with estate and business matters. Having been through the process of losing a husband, I would be the supportivel amanuensis. Instead of that scenario, however, she treated me to a tour of the area around her hometown of Niverville, New York.
We enjoyed a magical performance of The Nutcracker in Albany. Other days found us at a matinee of the new Mary Poppins movie, and a beautiful program of Lessons and Carols at a Dutch Reform Church. I went with her to a Friends meeting in Chatham, we relished lunches at little general stores and country inns, feasted on shepherd’s pie at the Beckman Arms Inn in Rhinebeck, New Yorkthrough. The Beekman Arms has hosted many luminaries throughout the centuries, including President George Washington. Deborah invited nine of her friends on the 25th and we enjoyed a magnificent turkey dinner with lavish trimmings.
After Christmas day, we traveled by car, bus and the subway to meet a friend for lunch in New York City. After lunch, we walked all over Greenwich Village and the West End, including along the iconic Highline. We passed by the former brownstone apartment of poet Edna St. Vincent Millay, popped into galleries, found post-Christmas 80% off sales at small boutiques. Two sweaters for the price of one? Who could resist?
We drove through the countryside to attend events.The rolling land around Niverville and Albany is lovely. Forests, farmland, fields of sheep and llamas: a refreshing change from the high desert environment of northern New Mexico. We passed by the home of Robert Frost, Bard College, the Culinary Institute of America (CIA), the Village of Red Hook. Many villages, boroughs, and hamlets exist cheek and jowl in this corner of our country. Except for the often overcast skies of Winter (I’ve resided in the sunny Southwest too long), I could live there quite happily.
Nine days flew by. The visit, all too soon, came to an end. The best part had been reuniting with Deborah. I invited her to the sunny Southwest for Christmas 2019, and we vowed to keep in closer touch throughout the year. I’ve always believed that if you want to see where you’re going, it’s advisable to see where you’ve been. This holiday season allowed me to do just that. Discovering upstate New Year, an old friendship made new again, walking around The Big Apple: all of this comprised a grand finale to 2018.
May YOUR 2019 be full of health, happiness, prosperity and productivity. May we bridge the gaps with those who do not share our beliefs. As Gandhi put it, may we be the change we wish to bring. HAPPY NEW YEAR one and all!