As a few of you may have noticed, I’ve been gone a while. The wife and I flew up to see our son, daughter-in-law, and two of the grandchildren (the other is at Ft. Bliss playing soldier). Well, it’s only a handful of hours from their house to Cooperstown, so we decided to head over there so I could finally visit the Hall of Fame (my son was a veteran of Hall visits already). Our daughter-in-law isn’t much of a sports fan (I keep trying to get my son to remedy this failing in her life, but so far no luck) so she stayed home with the kids and we made it a nuclear family trip, just my wife, son, and I.
We left on a Friday morning in my son’s fully paid for (hooray) Ford. We threw a couple of changes of clothes, a few toiletry items, a book (in my case on Greek Tyranny, not baseball) in the hatchback, piled in with my wife riding shotgun and me as the guy in the backseat. It took several hours to get there so we were able to have a long conversation with our son. He’s planning a major career change and we were able to talk with him about it. Mostly nuts and bolts stuff, not philosophical reasoning for the change, but you have to know how you’re going to go about the thing and how it will change the family, both his and ours. We got a pretty good sense of how this is going to work and hopefully it will all come out fine in the wash.
We ended up staying in Herkimer, New York, which is on the Interstate about 40 miles north of Cooperstown and just far enough away to be reasonably inexpensive. OK, it’s not the Garden Spot of the Western World, but it seems like a nice enough town with a handful of sights to see, a reasonable collection of restaurants and fast food joints, and an assortment of motels. We got a fairly cheap place (about $100.00 a night) which did the job. It was simple, clean, the plumbing worked, and the bed had no bugs. OK, that’s not much of an endorsement, but I look for a motel room to do those things and not much else. If I’ve rented a motel room the odds are I’m asleep if I’m actually in the room; in which case both cheap and expensive motels look just alike–black.. And when I’m not in the room why do I care what it looks like? If you’re from Oklahoma the 100 bucks will get you a damned nice room, so the sticker shock (or maybe culture shock) was significant. Around here for $100 you can buy a third of the place, not just rent one room.
We slid on down to Cooperstown in the late afternoon, but it was too late to visit The Hall. It gave us a chance to look over the town, get our bearings as to where everything was, and plan how to do the next day (including figure out where to park). I’ll put up thoughts on the town later.
It was late enough that we decided to have dinner in Cooperstown. Some guy told us the best place to eat was an Italian restaurant called Toscana Italian Fusion and Grill. We weren’t quite sure what you fused Italian food with, but decided to give it a shot. Nice enough place. The cook even came out to greet us. The food was good enough but I’m not sure what fusion was going on. Then came the bill, $68 for three of us. Now, it was a good meal, but around here you can get three steaks the size of half a cow for $68 (did I mention that the Central New York area is expensive?). On top of that you had to tip the waitress. I seriously considered telling her to plant her corn in the spring (which is a legit tip, right?), but eventually added cash to the check. As for it being “the best place to eat” in town, we thought it was OK but I decided that if it truly was “best” then either the food in town was only OK or the guy who told us to try it had weakened taste buds.
Then back in Herkimer, we settled in for the night. It was, in most ways, the best part of the day. My son and I just simply sat around and talked baseball. We talked current baseball events, talked historical baseball, talked speculative baseball, talked about just anything that came to our minds. I loved it, and he seemed happy too, despite missing his family. My wife sat in the corner halfheartedly reading a book, but mostly just taking in the simple family nature of the evening.
Next time, I hit The Hall.
Tags: Hall of Fame