March 19, 2014 —
It’s no secret that I’ve had a bad attitude over the weather for the past few months. I’ve moaned, complained and whined incessantly about the cold, the snow and ice. Like many of you, I had come to the conclusion that it just wouldn’t end and that spring would never arrive at all. According to the calendar, as of today, spring is officially in the air. Hmm. Oh sure, there are signs of life. Yesterday, from my sick bed, I saw my first robin and quietly rejoiced. Glimpsing the proverbial red breast, I hauled myself up and grabbed the camera, determined to capture the moment to review later and ensure that it wasn’t a mirage brought on by high-temperature hallucinations. I’m on day nine of the flu and not a happy camper. Again, many of you have also succumbed to what has been described as a season fraught with “dramatic cases of the H1N1 [Swine Flu] across the nation” (www.weather.com ). I don’t know anything about drama and personally never exaggerate, so I’ll just stick to the facts. This has been the worst cold anyone on earth has ever been forced to endure, and it’s a miracle that I’ve survived at all. Most likely, I am the only man on the planet to suffer this much, and undoubtedly deserve a medal of sorts for getting up each morning, walking the dog and putting one foot in front of the other, defying the odds and (IMHO) inspiring others with my super-human will to live.
Even though I am amazing, inspirational and a legend in my own mind, I still didn’t feel up to hitting the streets of Jeffersonville, NY for the annual St. Patrick’s Day parade, and asked cub reporter Eric Breihoff to fill in for me. Thankfully, he accepted and managed to snap a few pics in my absence, which was glaringly obvious to the throngs who attended, constantly barraging Eric as to my whereabouts. Perhaps I should stay home more often, since it would appear that I’m more popular when absent. Hmmm. Feeling guilty and knowing that CAS Executive Director Bradley Diuguid (www.catskillartsociety.org ) would be positively despondent over my inability to attend, I hauled myself over to Livingston Manor and joined the other storytellers (www.facebook.com/yarnslingers ) for “Chapter Two” of the Yarnslingers year-long “Memoirs Project,” which Diuguid is hosting with Ramona Jan. “Thank goodness you’re here! I heard you were sick,” Jan exclaimed, keeping a safe distance. “Without you, the entire event would fail. You’re the glue that holds Sullivan County together!” At least I think that’s what she said… I’m on a lot of medication.
The second installment went off without a hitch. I’m pretty sure that I was brilliant and even Dharma (the Wonder Dog) was in awe over my ability to stand and speak at the same time. Coughing, hacking, sneezing and crying, I went home and crawled back into bed, confident that I had undoubtedly spread good cheer and bad germs to many of you. You’re welcome. The River Reporter’s resident task-master and (let’s be honest here) just-plain-cruel managing editor Jane Bollinger made it clear that she “didn’t care how sick I was” and insisted that I “crawl out of bed and show up” at the St. Patrick’s Day in Narrowsburg the next day, so (against doctor’s orders and all common sense) I obliged, knowing full well that Bollinger’s bite equals her bark. “Oh, you don’t look good at all,” she smirked. “Now get out there and take some pictures.” It was so cold that my teeth chattered and the dog shivered, but those who lined the streets to cheer on the floats and be showered with candy had a good time at my expense. “I don’t feel too well,” I moaned softly to the boss. “Oh, fine—go home, crybaby,” was Bollinger’s response. “I’m sure you’ll blame me anyhow.”
With a temperature over 100, I’m writing this from bed. Bollinger made it clear that I’m “out of excuses” and expected to hit the next week running. Therefore, I’m hoping to make it to Hawley, PA (www.silkmillharmony.com ) on Friday to catch vocalist Dorothy Stone, whose repertoire includes Broadway tunes, which sounds like my cup of herbal tea. On Saturday, CAS is hosting its version of a “Spring Fling” and the Krause Recital Hall (www.artsalliancesite.org ) in Narrowsburg, NY is presenting Jazzmosis as part of its ongoing “Alliance Salon Series.” I’m told that this group “combines the energy of rock with the improvisational brilliance of jazz to create the element of surprise” and that this show is not to be missed, so I don’t really need my editor threatening me to attend. At the end of the day, as Gloria Gaynor so famously noted, “I will survive.” I hope she’s right.