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I pushed out of the house this afternoon, sternly commanding myself “Out, out! Go out!”

It didn’t matter where, but I needed a change of scenery, a drive, any nebulous destination, one that could possibly crush my worried state.

I made the post office the first stop, picking up an accumulation of mail from the stuffed to capacity box, since we mostly forget about the mail for several days at a time. I knew my weights had arrived (yes, I’m going to make a stab at improving my upper body, arms specifically) when I retrieved the small but heavy Amazon box, grunting as I straightened up, and wishing for the umpteenth time that our box was not on the bottom row of the Glenford post office.

I drove over Ohayo Mountain road, and ended up at Bread Alone, because a cappuccino sounded extravagant, and I was in the mood for extravagant. Plus, it’s a good picker upper.

With my cappuccino and canelé (an enchanting little pastry that I tell myself is so small it can’t possibly matter in the scheme of calories), I settled outside at one of the small metal tables that are never level and annoyingly jiggle each time one side is leaned on, and observed the Friday infiltrators/interlopers, i.e., tourists. Today was not only a typical Friday afternoon, but additionally, heralded the revered Memorial Day weekend, traditionally the retail beginning of summer. I felt a kinetic energy in the air on the perfectly muggy, overcast day; it seemed like it could be cut with a knife. I watched as a plethora of designer dogs, anxious to please, strutted along blithely with their owners. I observed the fancy footwear of non-locals, impressive in their colors and styles, and …newness.

Shiny, clean cars in bright, punchy colors, like cherry red, pumpkin orange, squash yellow, ambled along Tinker Street. There were honkers. Annoyed, I pondered, who really needs to honk in a small town like Woodstock? Then, refreshingly, I smiled to see the beat up pick-up truck with plywood sides and ladders thrown in the back, askew, Aerosmith blasting out the open windows. Thank you, lord, for local contractors.

Some visitors walk alone, masked. A young woman with long black hair, shiny as a new LP album, walks by, hair swinging to her own rhythm, derriere bouncing tantalizingly in a green clingy one piece jumpsuit, sans underwear, causing men’s heads to swivel automatically, eyeing her as she sashays down Mill Hill Road.


Inevitably, I cannot help it, my thoughts travel back to those first years when I moved to Woodstock, 1992. Eons ago, yet fresh in my mind, as some of our best memories remain, close to the surface, so we can grab them and reminisce, and perhaps feel young again.

Back then, there were more locals than interlopers, more ‘Hi’s’ called out, more hugs observed, more pairs and groups stopping to chat, having coffee together. Patchouli drifted in the air, whether you liked it or not. Musicians walked by in baggy jeans, guitars slung across their shoulders, as they sought out a spot to sit and strum and sing, laying open their guitar case or paper coffee cup for donations. Bicycle riders wore no helmets or the dreaded, vivid lycra, and the bicycles were sturdy, not fashionable, with baskets on their handlebars. Poets with newspapers and notebooks, gesticulated with their cronies; artists with paint spattered clothes hustled along. There was camaraderie in the air. There were common purposes. Life seemed friendlier, easier. Did I imagine it?




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