Sunday, October 14, 2007

from New England: color capers

How brilliantly clear! How astonishingly gorgeous! How embarrassing.

No, nothing left.
But, I booked on line and was approved for the smallest size!

We don’t know how it happened, but all we have left for you is the very largest. We’ll give it to you for the same price, of course.
But how will I look driving a Lincoln Town House luxury sedan? In white?
Wave to people. Be proud.
But the gas!

We’ll knock off $20 for the guzzling you’ll do.
But I wont be able to squeeze into tight parking spots!

Where are you heading?

What are you gonna do.

The car takes control. A mind of its own, wired in ways that I do not understand.

We head north west, in search of New England autumn foliage.

Massachusetts is still mostly green. It’s been a warm season. Still, the air is so astonishingly crisp that you needn’t fret about colors. It’s autumn alright.

We cross the Connecticut River…

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The road weaves through villages that are hardly tourist draws. They’re just small towns, looking simple and lived-in. In one such place, we drive past a sign that causes us to swing (I use this term generously; one does not “swing” in a Lincoln Town House luxury sedan) around and take another look.

Scribbled on a board: Boston Globe says we have the best Polish food this side of Krakow.

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They don’t know who they’re dealing with. I know pierogi. My grandma made fantastic pierogi and I’m not easily fooled by doughy tasteless imitations. We park our white tank and step up to the trailer/diner/best-Polish-food-eatery and order a plateful.

Here, take a look: a diminished portion (the mouth was faster than the camera).

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I tell proprietors: best pierogi EVER. (Except for my grandma’s, but then, she’s deceased.)

Next time, try the kapusta! (cabbage stew)

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We continue north. Vermont now. And the colors begin to emerge.

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We pass maple syrup shacks and general stores and so many white clapboard church spires that you almost want to yawn but for their loveliness. Eventually, we leave the white tank and stroll up and down a main street of a small town in south central Vermont. A café is open and the proprietors have just baked a batch of apple turnovers. We buy one in addition to the maple twist already before us and we munch on these in the late minutes of a perfect afternoon.

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It’s time to head back. One more look at the Vermont hills from the ridge of Hogback Mountain and the patches of sunlight moving from one summit to another…

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Okay, still another… how can I resist?

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…and we wind our way east, through New Hampshire, along route 9, heading… home.

New Hampshire isn’t as colorful here, in the south. Good thing we drove to Vermont.
It's lovely here...
I mean, if you want to see fall colors, you may as well invest the extra time, no?
Look, though, isn't it lovely?

(an hour later)

Did you say southern New Hampshire isn’t as colorful? Look outside!
(a brilliant display of red, yellow, honey brown…)

And look now! They colors are so intense!
You have a point...

I think to myself – maybe it’s the setting sun. Maybe. Still, it’s damn gorgeous now…

Why do you suppose the car indicator says we’re heading north?
I don’t know… This road isn’t on the map you printed out for us…
We’ve been driving for a long time. We should be in Massachusetts… All I see is dense forest.

Where are we??

Apparently heading north, getting awfully close to Canada.

It’s dark before we locate a road that promises to take us back to where we came from.

A star, another, the smell of burning wood, one small town, then finally, a dozen more and eventually, many hours later, we are in Cambridge. Barely in time for dinner.

I give the white tank one final slap on the butt as a parting gesture. It served us well after all. Though I will say we got our share of glares from those behind us. I would have glared too. Pushy white tank. Who the hell drives that kind of a car up north? Who indeed.

The day ends with a pear berry crisp, with ice cream.

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