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Monday, September 13, 2010

The Church of San Bambino

While we tend to the mundane here at home, our friend Jack is still on the road, and happily for us, writing back:

September 11 flags still flying in beautiful back country New York State. Cooperstown is in the middle of nowhere, but it is a gorgeous nowhere. Fall colors are threatening. In a few more weeks the countryside will be ablaze and, sadly, we will be long gone...

My dad loved baseball. He was a decent left-handed pitcher on sandlot teams in the Bronx, and he joyfully took me and my bro to Yankee games. First game I remember was in 1948, the summer Babe Ruth died. Joe DiMaggio was Yankee centerfielder and his bro Dominic was Red Sox centerfielder, playing next to some guy named Williams. Years later I was a high school catcher. So our trip to the Hall of Fame this morning was special for me....

If you are a baseball fan, you must visit Cooperstown some day. I'll leave you to the website for details. My only comment is that the part of the Hall where the inductees' plaques hang is set up like a Romanesque cruciform church, with the central altar dedicated to the five initial inductees (Ruth, Cobb, Wagner, Matthewson, and Johnson) and the side altars to the others. It is set up to evoke awe, like every church. We found ourselves whispering. I saw an older man in a Red Sox jacket staring at the Ted Williams plaque with tears coursing down his cheeks. Quite something....

Economic and Political Report: Not that you asked, but it feels to your inexpert observer that there is a limpness in the land, having driving 4000 miles so far. Lots of little shops shuttered, many foreclosure signs, "for sale" signs with DRASTICALLY REDUCED banners. We also find many restaurants darn close to empty, and are often the only people in our B&Bs. On the other hand, the trucks are rolling along the highways, so who knows? On the political front, applying the same sharp scientific analysis -- which in this case means reading local newspapers and listening to local chatter -- it seems clear the Democrats are about to take it in the shorts, primarily because of the limp feeling in the land. I am not saying anything new, but now I feel it.

Political Sign of the Week: "Elect Enea For Coroner," in Mohawk, N.Y. I wonder if there's a pro-life candidate in the race.

Cool Place Name: Lovers Lane Road, near Pembroke, N,Y. Like to know the back story.

Comments (1)

Lots of little shops shuttered, many foreclosure signs, "for sale" signs with DRASTICALLY REDUCED banners.

One of the observations we made on our cross-country trek earlier this year is that mom-and-pop, locally owned and operated places were over represented among the shuttered and abandoned. For the most part, the chains and franchisees are doing well -- the corporatization of America continues.

As should be no surprise, we also saw many partially completed, ex-urban housing developments that appeared to be struggling. Kind of reminded me of the sidewalks I discovered in the local woods when I was a kid. Trees and bushes grew over and out of the cracks. Fallen leaves and the detritus of a forest floor covered most of the rest. At sidewalk end, where a street corner was intended, there was stamped into the cement a symbol with the name of a construction company and a date -- 1929.

We also saw indicators, on our trip, of economic strength in the Great Plains and the Mountain States. From the western border of Montana through the center of Iowa, life is good. Agriculture, mining and energy are doing well in those generally business friendly locales. So the wise advice is to Go West young man, but not too far West.

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