Racquet Lake

The Adirondack mountains are very cool. I kind of doubt that it’s an old growth forest, but it is definitely natural, not domesticated. It was still off season when I arrived, so everything was at go slow. Very much like Tahoe was in the shoulder periods when first I moved there, back in 1978. I slept on the side of the main road in the region I found myself in when it got dark, and there weren’t two cars that passed that night. First time I’ve seen the milky way since leaving Nebraska, I think.

Not that there haven’t been plenty of places that you could have seen it, just that I don’t recall my having seen it. Probably that’s because the silence of the woods makes it so much more impressive. It was certainly the first time since leaving Nebraska that I was in a place where the noises man makes weren’t a constant feature, and a periodically intrusive one, of my surroundings. Christ, we are a noisy lot!

I’m convinced that one of the most important features of the Movement will have to be the frequent and prolonged exposure of our children to raw nature. One of the most important things that we should teach during those opportunities is that it is bad manners to talk while in the woods, or the desert, or on an icy clear night. And I don’t mean just that it’s rude to the others around you that would like to relish the silence–which it is–I mean it’s disrespectful of Nature. She’s talking, then, and people really need to start listening to Her. What better way to drive that point home than to teach the children some manners when in her house?

Which, of course, is everywhere. But there’s something very special about places that we haven’t hardened with our noise and concrete yet. It wouldn’t hurt us to pay a little more attention.

When I awoke I went seeking breakfast and a restroom (self-contained is very cool, but it ain’t as good as using someone else’s bathroom). I spied a little restaurant, Harry’s, I think it was, in a place called Racquet Lake. I noticed it more by the collection of old cars parked around it than by the sign. Not antiques, just old. Clearly a locals hang out. So I zipped right in.

Part of why I almost missed it was that it looked more like a bar than a breakfast place. As true on the inside as the out, and it surely served that purpose as well, but it was clearly where people went for breakfast on a Sunday morning. There were two men that, from the conversation, were electricians apparently on their way to a contracting job without much pressure to show up on time. They were in active conversation with another guy at the bar and the waitress, very much like a family over a meal. Occasionally they’d bring in the cook, who was somewhere out of sight around the side, by means of a shouted query or comment. If you’d been kidnaped and brought in hooded, you’d have instantly known you were in a really small town.

It felt very good.

The waitress came over to get my order, and I gave it without looking at a menu. I always have two eggs poached lightly with home fries if they have them and no butter on the whole wheat toast.

“Sorry, we don’t do poached.”

“Oh, how about soft boiled?”

“Nope. Sorry. We only have a frying pan.”

“Well, can you baste them?” As soon as I said it, I knew I should have tried using “blindfolded.”

No, we can’t do anything fancy.”

I decided to look at the menu for awhile. When she came back I admitted defeat and ordered sunny side up. She was happy with that.

This was the first time, in forty-four years of eating fairly frequently at breakfast places, that I understood why virtually every restaurant I’ve ever gone into, had “eggs, any style” on their menus. It’s actually quite a contrast to “one style.”

They had home fries, by the way, which only seems civilized to me. Apparently it’s one of the ways most of the Northeast is ahead of us, where I’ve noticed an alarming trend toward hash browns lately.

Shortly, more locals came in and one pair of obvious outlanders like myself. There was only one conversation but it permeated the room, including everyone except the three of us. It felt like viewing a play from excellent seats right on the stage.

The main theme gravitated to a dog that had been abandoned early in the summer, and still wouldn’t let anyone touch him. Apparently a lot of people were feeding him, but he was too skittish to be caught. Everyone agreed he was a very nice dog, probably badly abused by some A-wordhole who then abandoned him without a qualm. They apparently were concerned he wouldn’t make it through many more weeks as the winter approached if someone didn’t get his confidence.

I hope he learns to trust someone again, before it’s too late.

Well, that’s the news from Racquet Lake, where all the people are friendly and good hearted, and all the eggs are fried.

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