Altamont, May 29, 2014

We got a call from Jim’s niece the other day that really excited us. Laurie and her husband Steve wanted to check a date to see if we would be around for a visit from them. Of course, we said, “Yes.” If we had other plans, we would have changed them in order to see Laurie and Steve.

Laurie is the oldest daughter of Jim’s sister, Joan. She was raised in West Hartford, Connecticut.  Her husband was employed at Pratt and Whitney in East Hartford. When her husband was offered a position with Boeing, he jumped at the opportunity.  Hence, Laurie and Steve moved to Seattle, Washington. 

Steve was born and brought up in Arizona. He missed the area of his roots, and when he and Laurie started to talk about retirement, they decided to buy a home in Arizona. Steve jumped at an opportunity to telecommute from their new home in Arizona.

In past years, Jim and I have had the opportunity to visit his niece in both Seattle, Washington, and Sierra Vista, Arizona. Both visits were so very different from life here in the Northeast. I am glad that I had the opportunity to share some of those trips with you in past articles.

Laurie’s daughter married and stayed in Massachusetts, where both she and her husband had gone to college. When she called her mother to tell her that she was going to be a grandmother, Laurie started counting the days and making plans for a visit around the date of delivery. That is when they ran into a few snags. Laurie and Steve had a dog and did not want to board the dog for the length of time they would be gone. They soon found out that many of the hotels, motels, and restaurants are not pet friendly.

After a lot of time spent on the computer making plans that would accommodate their travels with a dog, the route was set, friends and relatives were called to visit on the way, and the grandmother’s march to Massachusetts was good to go. They had a great time, enjoyed their visits, and reveled in the joys of being grandparents. When their second grandson was born, Laurie decided that she wanted to spend some quality time with the grandchildren, and Steve had a lot of work to do. Therefore, Laurie took the easy route, and flew literally to her daughter’s side.

The third grandchild arrived recently. This time we were informed that they arrived early and were with their daughter and new granddaughter when the baby arrived. They called, e-mailed, posted on Facebook, and informed everyone they knew, and probably many they did not know, that Michelle had delivered a daughter. Now, after fulfilling her grandmotherly need for now, it was time to return home. They are luxuriating in their travels with their new motor home. The last trip discouraged them from using public housing with a pet, so they decided to overcome that obstacle with portable housing.

While we made plans for the arrival of Laurie and Steve, we started reminiscing about the days when our family was on the road camping. Like many other young families, we began our experience with blankets, sleeping bags, and a tarp serving as our tent. Our enjoyment for camping was growing just as our family was growing. Camping trips became more difficult because we looked like the Beverly Hillbillies driving out of the village. One trip included all three of our daughters, two friends, Jim, two bikes, a high chair, a playpen, two tents, two dining canopies, four folding chairs, two folding tables, food, and a double dose of patience. Whatever could not be packed in the station wagon we were driving at the time was tied on the roof.

Our arrival at the campground was like a scene from a movie. After checking in at the office, we drove in the rain to the site assigned to us. Waiting as long as we could for the rain to stop, we finally started to set up – in the rain. It was like a three ring circus getting the tent, tarps, and equipment where it all belonged – in the rain. We even remembered to trench the tent. For non-campers, that means digging a trench around the tent to catch water and help lead it away from the tent. It didn’t really work. It rained so hard that the water filled the trench and ran into the tent soaking everything inside, including the sleeping bags. 

The following morning, we rejoiced because the rain had stopped, and we could begin drying everything out. Just a short trip down the road, we found a laundromat so we could dry our sleeping bags. Clothes were hung on bushes, and we turned to the task of preparing a meal. As we assigned duties to everyone, we looked for one of our daughters, finding her sitting in the middle of the fire pit playing with the wet charcoal. Everyone had a good laugh as she was covered in black. It made for a good picture.  But after that experience, that was when we decided that if we were going to continue to camp, we needed to be off of the ground. Our next trip out, we sported a pop-up camper.

Traveling around the country can be exciting, interesting, educational, and downright great for a family. We have traveled with our daughters in the summer, winter, and the shoulder seasons. Our trips have taken us to other states, lakes, mountains, and valleys. We have learned to enjoy other cultures, how to overcome adversity, and enjoy ourselves whatever the conditions.

If you haven’t tried camping, you should start small and local, and then spread out from there.   Above all you should just plain enjoy yourself. Happy camping – tis the season! 

Book fair

The Spring buy one get one annual book fair at the Altamont Elementary School is scheduled for today from 2 p.m. until 6:30 p.m., and Friday, May 30, from 8 a.m. until 6:30 p.m.

Students had the opportunity to preview the books yesterday, Wednesday, May 28, and today during the school day.

Gift baskets

Members of the Altamont Reformed Church are seeking goods for welcome home baskets for families in the Schoharie Valley now through June 1. There are many folks who lost their homes in the 2011 floods, and who are yet unable to return to their homes. Items such as kitchen, cleaning, laundry and bathroom supplies, as well as personal items, such as towels, washcloths, and soaps are needed. Any and all donations can be left in the baskets located in the back of the Altamont Reformed Church sanctuary.  The church is located at 129 Lincoln Avenue in Altamont.

Information regarding this project can be obtained by calling Theresa Lasselle at 872-0072. 

Recess day

It has been announced that Tuesday, June 3, will be a recess day for high school students.  The school will be administering the new required Common Core Algebra 1 regents for freshman students.

The exam will be given to all eligible eighth grade students at the Middle School on that day.  Students needing to report for the exam should have received a letter with additional information.  Transportation will be provided to the students taking the test.

Parents and students take note that this is a recess day for the High School only.  The Middle School will be in session while the testing is being administered. 

FMS art show

The Farnsworth Middle School’s annual art show is now being held through June 4 in the FMS art gallery outside of the cafetorium.

Food pantry

The food pantry located at St. Lucy/St. Bernadette’s Parish Center always has needs.  Consider donating items such as dish detergents, soaps, and facial tissues.

All donations can be left in the basket in the gathering space located inside St. Lucy/St. Bernadette’s Church on Grand Street in Altamont.

Canyon country trips

Interested in traveling in the USA?  This trip will take you to Phoenix, Sedona, Oak Creek Canyon, Lake Powell, Monument Valley, Bryce and Zion National Parks, and Las Vegas. Only a couple of seats are available.  Registration forms can be found in the gathering space at St. Lucy/St. Bernadette Church on Grand Street in Altamont.

Movie tonight

Looking for something to do tonight?  The Guilderland Free Library, located at 2228 Western Avenue, Guilderland, will be showing the classic film Fahrenheit 451 tonight at 6:30 p.m. at the library. 


Happy anniversary wishes are extended to:

– Lil and Rob Paeglow on May 30;

– Sher and Rick Seppa on May 31; and

– Pat and Ken Rau on June 4.


Happy birthday wishes are extended to the following:

 – Gary Adams, Diana Arnold, Cheryl Hatch, and Bob Thomas on May 30;

-– Daniel Joseph Battista, Caitlin Delzotto, Charlie Richards, and Carolyn Roberts on

May 31;

Tammy Coller, Michelle Neet, Sarah Rau on June 2;

 –  Doris Vojnar on June 3;

 – Mary Alice Weller Mayan, Jackie Perry, and Michael Ross on June 4th; and

 – Ernie Friebel, Kirsten Ross Preuss, Jacob Evans Shank, and Rbeca Schultz on June 5.