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Hats Off    |    by
Column dedicated to sharing news about community activities, service projects, and other events that are important to the life of the residents of our "mountain."

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published on 03/08/2007

Hats Off . . .to Peace and Joy

By staff writer

Long Island Sound
A couple of years ago I told you about a birthday trip I took to Louisiana where I spent a weekend antiquing, relaxing, reading, and eating good Cajun food. It was a vacation, after all and meant to be fun.

Since it had been a couple of years, I decided to do it again, only this time I went in the other direction and visited my brother and his wife in New York. Having lived on Long Island for almost twenty years, they both welcomed me with open arms, three huge housedogs, an eighteen year-old Persian cat, and high temperatures in the twenties. I don’t own a heavy coat so I borrowed one from my son. It was too big but with all the layers of sweaters, vests, and jackets underneath, it didn’t matter.

On the first morning I saw the shores of Connecticut across the wide Long Island Sound. The wind was blowing so hard my body was leaning. I had jumped out the car as they waited for me and could barely get back inside thanks to the wind. Sunny and clear but the white caps on the water proved the wind blowing me down was real.

Later that day, we drove down the coastline on a street called Dune Road. Completely destroyed from a Nor’easter seven years ago, the majority of condos and houses had been rebuilt. A ghost town, not only were the massive structures boarded up for the winter but the landscaping and hedges were cloaked in brown burlap to protect them from the winter weather. At the end of the road was a park with a long pier. This time my sister-in-law joined me on the pier. We walked to the end and the steps down to the beach were completely covered in sand now reaching the top of the pier. Here the Atlantic Ocean was a magnificent turquoise blue and a sight to behold and not far from where TWA Flight 400 crashed eleven years ago.

I awoke one morning to big fat snowflakes falling and the path to the river that runs behind their house covered in snow. It wasn’t going to last, I could tell, but we hurried out to the water in time to see a flock of swans paddling gracefully down the river. Later that day, my brother showed me the point in which that river turns from fresh water to salt water and then even later in the day we stopped by the shore of the Peconic Bay which the river flowed into. On the shore was frozen ice not sand.

We headed back to LaGuardia on Sunday morning talking fast and making sure nothing was left unsaid. My brother apologized for not bringing me into the city at least one day. A carpenter by trade, he drives into Manhattan every day and told me that when he spots the skyline, his heart skips a beat at the beauty. Surrounded by rivers and oceans, sod fields, and wine vineyards at home and still impressed with the beauty of the city gave me a whole new perspective of my brother.

My perspective of New York comes from movies, television, and the news. We passed the “Globe” built for the State Fair but what I remembered blowing up in the movie “Men in Black.” They pointed out Shea Stadium next and then I spotted the top of a building to my left over some houses and trees and asked what it was. My sister-in-law said, “Around here we call that the Empire State Building.”

That was the closest I got to see New York City because my seat on the plane was on the opposite side when we took off. But I wasn’t disappointed; instead my heart skipped a beat not unlike my brother’s. My visit was a success and now I was going home; home to my family, friends, work, and my real life. Returning home I found my husband and sons had been working hard all weekend on a birthday surprise for me.

Somebody said I should get away more often and maybe that’s true. But if getting away became the norm; then coming home to the people and life I love would not give me the joy and peace that it does.