Typically, I don’t like to leave the peninsula on a holiday weekend, even though that was not always the case. Back in the day I would think nothing of piling the kids in the minivan and driving to a far-off location for some family fun and adventure. But with the kids out of the house, I really enjoy being home and soaking up the beauty of our small slice of paradise here in Rockaway.
This year however brought us invitations to two destination weddings, a sure sign that we have arrived at an age when as they say it’s either wakes or weddings; and we certainly prefer the latter. The first wedding earlier this summer took us a to a location we had never been before, so it was an adventure! And the wedding itself was a blast, with people as close to family as you can get. Although it involved traveling and a longer commitment of time, at this point in our lives, time is readily available!! Being away with so many people that you know and love proved to be really fun.
The second wedding was a little more involved because it included driving far north to a location that we had been to with the kids, but had not been back to in almost 20 years. And it was a holiday weekend, breaking the Publisher of this paper’s rule that you never invite anyone from Rockaway away on a holiday weekend for any event. As some of you know, driving is not my thing and a five-hour drive could easily turn into a seven-hour drive, but heading north to the Adirondacks brought a flood of memories from years gone by.
If you have never been to Lake Placid, it’s something you should consider. The site of two winter Olympics, the town itself is small but cute, and the two lakes that frame the town, Mirror Lake and Lake Placid are beautiful. In the distance stands the majestic Whiteface Mountain, gazing down and around at the other 45 high peaks in the region. People who climb all 46 high peaks are known as 46er’s. The highest peak is Mt. Marcy, and also takes the honor as highest in New York State. The Adirondacks are protected by the NY State Constitution to be “forever wild,” something I thought only my kids had title to. It’s about six thousand acres of untamed forests and lakes and streams and rivers; in short, an outdoorsman's paradise.
Visiting this area also provided an opportunity to relive some family adventures like climbing the summit of Whiteface with our three kids, one of whom was a two-year old with a penchant for running off. As the mermaid and I ascended the cliff to the top, we watched in horror as parents grappled the rocky abutments to get to the very top, and we wondered who the hell would do such a thing! Then we remembered: we did too. When we got to the top we visited the rock that the very same blond headed sprite tried to jump over to what we were sure was complete oblivion! Luckily, we had grabbed her, but we wondered on the way down, how did we ever do this? Of course, 20 years makes a big difference. It was wonderful actually to relive that time in our lives.
And it was fun again to be with so many friends, so close that you considered them family, so far away to celebrate such a happy occasion in such a beautiful setting. We felt doubly blessed this year. Of course, checking the weather back home gave us a bit of schadenfreude, and the prospect of a long drive home was not appetizing, but we realized in reflection, as it was said by an angel to George Bailey, “it really has been a wonderful life.”
By Lou Pastina