Friday, July 10, 2015

Friday, July 10th, Hudson


The past week has been very exciting.  Stepping forward a few centuries, this part of the trip was designed to spend time and conversations with present family members.  In Whitesboro and Hudson, New York.

Before catching the train on Saturday for the ride down Lake Champlain from Montreal, we spent the day at the Gardens, Insectarium, and Biodome near the site of Montreal's Olympic Stadium.  Just a short Metro transfer away from our hotel, we took in many garden designs, an immense variety of insects, and a large indoor array of climate-controlled environments containing animals we've seen in their original habitats.

Our favorites were the sloth enclosure (featuring two nearby couches of sloth people waiting for the baby sloth to emerge), and an exhibit of stick-like insects which were really difficult to detect amidst the green twigs they inhabited. Montreal is an easy city to inhabit, and extremely tolerant of the large mixture of international cultures, lifestyles, and social classes.  Now if it could just do away with the winter snow, I'd consider spending more time there.

Pat's cousin Jan Kuta, and wife Maryanne, picked us up from the Albany train station.  Their three days hosting us could not have been more gracious and welcoming.  Most of Pat's relatives dropped by during our stay, and so much family history was discussed, I could not have dreamed of a warmer, more inviting embracement.  We hope we can repay their generosity in the future, and will certainly incorporate the family history data we discussed and shared into our Ancestry family tree.

On Wednesday, we drove a rental car down to my Aunt Kitty's house in Hudson, New York, and have spent the last few days getting to know better her life and friends.  As you'll remember, she's only four years older than I, and we grew up together in my early years living in La Jolla with my grandmother.  More like an older sister, she made sure I was safe and cared for before I went off to a military academy in the first grade.   I owe her a lot for the guidance, and we've stayed close over the years.

One thing that was a bit overwhelming throughout the entire region is the lush green lawns, gardens, parks, and forests.  There is no such thing as a drought out here, and we're jealous of the results.  Not so jealous that we aren't aware of the downside, as increasing snowfalls in the past years attest.

These little towns all around us certainly are works in progress.  The old buildings are undergoing renovations, receiving new occupants, and helping create new places for the community to meet and socialize.  My aunt works in bookstore/ale/toyshop combination called Spotty Dog, where we enjoyed a great evening last night and met several of her close friends.
On Sunday, we'll drive down to Jackson Heights in New York to have lunch with one of my cousin's family.  Their new daughter, Luela, is the newest addition to my Ancestral tree.  She's the descendant of royalty in five countries, and the founders of two democracies, and I aim to make sure she grows up appreciating those genes, and understanding the work it took to get her here.  We all should do to think about what others have done for us, and know how much we are all one big family.

Here are links to the photos taken over the past week:

Saturday, July 4th, Montreal
Monday, July 6th, Whitesboro
Thursday, July 9th, Hudson
Friday, July 10th, Hudson

ps.  We'll be flying home early Monday morning, so don't expect any public appearances until at least noon.

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