The Inside Rail

It’s July 11 and we’re in Saratoga.

Designed as an August excursion before global warming, it’s now a July gig with global warming. Thursday morning was hot, like Adrian Cronauer hot. By Thursday afternoon, it was a deluge, one of those Saratoga storms that conjure up other Saratoga storms (Little Current/Holding Pattern, Birdstone’s Travers, Hurricane Irene…). And, yes, they have cancelled in the past. Tom Law just walked in the office, drenched. “Epic rain.” Admittedly, these are first-world problems, being in Saratoga and dealing with the weather and an added week. We’ll power through.

For those who recognized a good thing and moved here, it’s just another week with houseguests. For those of us who don’t live here, it’s another week of being houseguests, tourists, out of our routine, away from our pillars, our rocks (Annie! Sam! Miles! Ryan! Jack! Nolan! Katie!).

But as always, there are positives and negatives. Good and bad. And, of course, an occasional ugly.

You decide.

My Virginia garden booms with tomatoes, blackberries, cucumbers, carrots, red beets, chard and a few volunteer pumpkins (no telling when they go orange) and other plants I don’t recognize and certainly didn’t plant. Leaving it Tuesday was like walking out of the movie right before the best scene, the birds and I competed for ripe raspberries and blackberries. The garden has been left to Miles and Annie, they don’t see the garden the same way I see the garden. It’s my sanctuary – ‘wow, look what’s growing here.’ It’s their confusion – ‘are these tomatoes in the beets?’ If you’re driving down Snake Hill Road in Middleburg, I know of a good “Pick your Own” patch behind the green bank barn. Bring a basket. Help yourself.

Rents have gone up. Tolerance could go down.

Eight weeks is hardest on the children, well, it’s hardest on the parents who miss the children, miss their rituals with their children. The Tour de France is already on stage 6. For Miles and me, no Cavendish, no Sagan, no arduous climbs, no harrowing descents, no joy of seeing those crazy life-size clocks the French design in wheat fields and lawns. We’ve watched the first week of the tour and then talked about the second week for Miles’ entire life. I’ll miss Miles’ grandfather’s service in Birmingham, a year after his death, it’s a Greek thing. I won’t be able to drop Miles off or pick him up or help him recite lines for Hill School’s version of Annie at theatre camp, it starts Monday. Worse, I won’t watch him perform. We won’t watch the Baseball Hall of Fame induction. Smoothies and egg surprises with fresh herbs from the garden will have to wait another week. And his books, oh, I’ll miss hearing about the plot twists and the irony in the dozen books he reads from now until then.     

Five more deadlines. Five more columns. Five more issues.

A couple of more trips to Four Seasons Natural Foods, for better or for worse. Another week of pizza, for better or for worse. Perhaps, two more sessions at Henry Street Taproom, for better or for worse. Another couple of dark days to somehow clear our schedules to spend an afternoon on Rich Cristiano’s boat, for better, if it happens and for worse, if we fumble it again like last year. Another week of shows at Caffe Lena, anybody want to catch Cindy Cashdollar, Bella Fleck or The The Band Band (that’s not a typo)?

Another round of Mig stories.

A couple of more chances to run, not conquer, the five-mile trail in the state park. Another 5K with the Saratoga Stryders? Tom has booked Joe and me for the Boilermaker, yeah, the Boilermaker Road Race in Utica Sunday, as Tom says, “It’s just three 5Ks.” I haven’t run three 5Ks in a year, much less three in a row. We were safely at home when Tom’s annual assault on the Boilermaker happened in the past, offering our enthusiasm and our best, ‘Man, that would be great, wish we were up there…’ Well wishes come true. It will feel like a death wish.

Two haircuts.

A chance to get those Hall of Fame autographs that we haven’t been able to secure so far, where’s Ramon when you need him? Another week of visitors, you know the ones who come to Saratoga for two days and play their get-out-of-jail-free cards and expect you to be right there with them. An extra week, more importantly an extra dark day every week to get to Cooperstown, Woodstock, the alpine slide or that funny farmer’s market in Vermont.

Another week of stories. Another week of memories.