Pilgrimage to the Adirondack Mountains

During the month of September I took a pilgrimage back to the beautiful Adirondack Mountains in New York State. I had not been there in 25+ years.

In my early years we would travel as a family to Indian Lake – both a small town and a lake – to visit my dad’s sister and mother. Aunt Peggy and Grandma Beckary had an house in town and during the Summer months stayed outside the town in the house that Grandpa Beckary built in 1917. My dad sold the Beckary House in 1987 – it has changed hands several times since then.

Blue Mt. Lake Inn, Hamilton County

I stayed at the Blue Mountain Lake Inn and enjoyed meeting very nice people there. Meredith the Innkeeper is a lovely young lady who was native to the area and had great recommendations for places to explore.

There was a co-working couple from Holland who took advantage of their weekend and wandered from their consulting job in Central New York to check out Blue Mt and the surrounding area.

It was fun to have breakfast with them and regroup after dinner to share stories of our adventures that day.

This trip was a bit of a pilgrimage for me to see the area I knew as a kid but have been away from for 30 years. I needed some closure on the fact that the House was no longer in the hands of a Beckary and am happy to report it is in very good hands. The current owner and his rescued cat are having a great time there.

 

 

The Pig – Route 30 North of Speculator

One of the highlights of the drive up from Perry in Western NYS was the annual sighting of The Pig – a rock that was resembled the face of a pig and was repainted from time to time over the years. The Pig is on NY Route 30 north of Speculator and was a sign that we were almost to grandma’s house!

The last time I encountered The Pig was in 1986. I was thrilled on this trip to see that someone has maintained the paint tradition.

 

 

 

 

Annual Moose Festival – Indian Lake

I set out on my first full day to see Town of Indian Lake much to my surprise was able to take part in their annual Moose Festival. I posed with the only moose I saw – he did not talk much but was very accommodating when it came to photo ops.

I saw the two houses in town where my Aunt and Grandma lived in back then. They were both a bit run down from when I last saw them and one has an ice cream parlor on the side.

I don’t expect too many people to be around who would remember any of our family as it has been so many years.

 

 

Beckary House – Dr. Albert M. Beckary 1917

Prior to the trip I was unsuccessful in reaching the current owner of the House and was blessed to meet up with him there. The Brown Family has lived next door to the Beckary House for generations. Elva Brown is the matriarch and remembered me when I dropped by. I have learned to check in with her before heading to the House as she drove up on an ATV and greeted me with a shotgun across her lap when I visited after being discharged from the Air Force in 1986. A lady friend and I hung out there for a several days back then and learned quickly that Elva was watching the road. This time I checked in with the gatekeeper who remembered “Beckary” after 30 years and informed me that “Jimmy” (the current owner of the House) was on his way. Elva is watching, Elva knows all.

 

 

Long & narrow driveway to house

This long narrow driveway brings back some memories. Family legend claims that this is reminiscent of Grandpa Beckary’s homeland of France.

My strongest memory of this driveway is when the car brakes gave out on one of our guests as he pulled to the top and was going to back into a side lane – he wound up navigating a speeding car backwards through those trees until the car slowed on the flat.

This happened after we went on some sightseeing with the mom and dad of our guest family. My dad navigated and narrated while I proceeded to vomit the large quantity of Oreo Cookies and milk I had just eaten before the drive. I did not do well on these roads – carsickness maximus.

Details aside – I should have stayed back at the house and passed on the three-hour tour.

 

 

 

Beckary House up on the hill

The Beckary House was built by my Grandpa Albert M. Beckary (my brother’s namesake) as a retirement property. Grandpa came over from Belfort, Alsace-Lorraine, France at the age of 16 (which I estimate was 1893).

He came over via Ellis Island and lived in NYC. He was a Naval Apothecary during the War of 1898 and went on to graduate from the Cornell Medical School practicing as a Family Doctor. His list of patients include J.P. Morgan’s granddaughter and some Vanderbilts. He was also well-known for being a French Chef.

He died in 1959, five years before I came on the scene so I never got to meet him.

 

 

Backyard view looking South

The House has some really cool features. My favorites include the huge porch that wraps around two sides and the HUGE stone fireplace.

My dad sold the place in 1987 and we were a bit sad to see it go. In reality – we were not in a place to maintain it making me glad that someone is enjoying it and taking great care of it. A new roof and siding are schedule to be installed in the near future.

Jimmy gave me a tour inside and allowed me to take photos outside.

 

 

 

Rusty the Iron Dog

Rusty is an iron statue of sorts that watches over the Browns property.

I was very glad to see that he is still there and has an abundance of pine cones to eat – that’s what we fed him as kids.

I feel closure and a sense of letting the place go. Perhaps there will be a Beckary House II in a nice quiet corner of the planet earth someday.

 

 

 

Me climbing Blue with a dog named Mango

Day 2 – after a nice Blue Mt. Lake Inn breakfast I set off with the Innkeeper’s dog Mango for a hike up Blue Mountain – or “Blue” as the locals call it.

It was a steep and rocky climb that I found a bit difficult. Prepared with protein bars, bananas and water for both my companion and me we made it to the top and enjoyed the following view.

 

 

 

 

View from Blue Mountain Fire Tower

This speaks for itself and made the difficult hike well worth it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Blue Mountain Lake panorama

Peaceful Peace Out.

 

 

 

Manchester and Jerusalem

Manchester England experienced an horrific terrorist attack Monday evening May 22nd. I have been watching the live coverage on Sky News to stay informed on the aftermath of this tragedy.

Tuesday evening local UK time a vigil was held in the center of Manchester with civil and religious leaders gathered to share a few words. Poet Tony Walsh read a poem about Manchester and quoted Hubert Parry’s Jerusalem – commonly referred to as the unofficial anthem of England. Jerusalem is much like God Bless America – often sung before our nation anthem or in times of turmoil here in the USA – and known by all.

In 1916 Hubert Parry wrote an anthem based on William Blake’s poem And Did Those Feet In Ancient Times with the rest being history.

There are several versions of the song from the traditional style one would expect Queen Elizabeth to have on her playlist to a very jazzy version done my Emerson, Lake and Palmer. The one that stands out for me is from the soundtrack of Chariots of Fire with the song being sung in a church. Interestingly enough, Jerusalem includes the phrase Chariots of Fire in its lyrics.

I had the privilege of going TDY (Temporary Duty) in the Fall of 1983 as a young Airman and have returned for several other trips, the last in 2000. I always felt at home in the UK, having been to Wales, Ireland, Scotland, and England during my various travels. I am of the Heinz 57 Variety with ancestry from several countries including England and Ireland. I was able to blend in and recall being asked for directions while roaming around the beautiful City of Cambridge. I will return someday soon and sadly may find it very different than my last journey there.

I wanted to get my thoughts out and published here – I’ll add photos later.

Tune in next time:

Something that caught my attention watching the Sky News coverage was the use of the phrase Minute of Silence.  I have always heard it called a Moment of Silence. Perhaps I just discovered yet another difference between the USA and our English-speaking friends across the pond. More on this later. (Americans are in too much of a hurry!)

 

Legislating Tolerance

A wise man once told me that Morality cannot be legislated.

In light of recent chatter over North Carolina’s HB2 we are seeing the Departments of Education and Justice Legislate Tolerance. The Boss and others have shared their opinions and now the White House is threatening to pull federal funding from public schools nationwide that do not follow its decree of making all bathrooms accessible to transgenders based on their chosen identity.

Attorney General Lynch likens the opposition of HB2 similar to the Civil Rights Act of 1964 that abolished white-only bathrooms.

In an age where states are trying to take back control of issues that many believe should be legislated at the local and not federal level, we have the DOJ filing suit against NC while the White House is going beyond social engineering with a move being considered blackmail.

What would The Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr think about this?

Text from 1948

1948 TextThis telegram was sent to my dad in the Adirondack Mountains of Northern New York State from his uncle WT Farley in Albany as a means of congratulations after he graduated from Union Law School. The FBI was the next step in his life.