In my humble opinion

‘The hurrier I go—’

Posted 6/14/23

“… the behinder I get.” Thus spake the White Rabbit in Lewis Carroll’s “Alice in Wonderland,” and I know just how he felt.

It all started about a month ago, …

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In my humble opinion

‘The hurrier I go—’


“… the behinder I get.” Thus spake the White Rabbit in Lewis Carroll’s “Alice in Wonderland,” and I know just how he felt.

It all started about a month ago, when my computer sputtered, gasped and crapped out. It’s not the first time that technology has failed me, and undoubtedly won’t be the last—but I found myself up the proverbial creek and it took blood, sweat and a whole lotta lettuce to replace the infernal bane of my existence.

As a result, the photos I’ve taken during the downtime have piled up, held prisoner in my camera until now. “Are you aware that there are more than two hundred thousand photos on your hard drive?” asked my computer doctor in an email. “Why yes,” I replied. “Yes I am. Help me,” I pleaded. “I can’t lose any more than I already have.” He did, I didn’t, and here we are.

Even though summer has not officially begun, (it will on June 21) the hills are alive in the Upper Delaware River region and there are more art exhibits, festivals, concerts and parades than you can shake a stick at.

That’s great, but I’ve noticed lately that I’m a) not getting any younger (no comments from the peanut gallery) and b) just one man. Add being computer-free into the mix and we’ve got a recipe for disaster. So I’m playing catch-up, and running as fast as I can.

During the electronic hiatus (and feeling bereft without my dog), I missed Brandi Merolla’s exhibit, “Activated,” in the Digital Gallery, which is located inside the Narrowsburg Union.

“The opening was wonderful,” Brandi shared in an email. “Folks sat inside the gallery space taking in six screens of constantly changing images of activists of all ages, voicing their concerns in the signs.”

Hearing that the exhibit had been extended through June, I hopped in the truck and went. So many friends had raved, telling me that they felt “inspired” and “hopeful” after taking it all in, and now I know why. “It’s art with a conscience” I scribbled in my notebook. “Social commentary that raised my awareness and made me want to make my voice heard.

“Simultaneously tragic and hopeful,” my notes continued, “the exhibit forces one to look at how corporate greed can destroy us all, unless we speak up.”  

Brandi has thoughtfully compiled more than 400 stirring images documenting 10 years of peaceful protests in what she calls “an homage to those who make a difference.” Honestly, it made me want to be a better person. My advice? Go.

With my new computer paid for (sigh) and operating at lightning speed, I loaded the pics I took at the Union and gasped, noticing photos from events gone by. Images of the Sullivan County Music Festival flashed before my eyes. I discovered pictures of the vendors, performers, fans and bands showcasing all-original tunes on the grounds of the Hurleyville Performing Arts Centre, and I’m glad that I’ve got ‘em. I’ll post some (I swear!) on our social media, just as soon as I stop hopping around like that damn rabbit.

Remember the smoke-soaked orange-tinged scary sun just a week ago? Apparently I took photos through the haze, cursing global warming and thinking about Brandi’s political commentary, which is effectively enhanced by a soundtrack. “We shall overcome?” I sure hope so.

Catching up with the onslaught of emails, invites and commitments I’ve made has been intimidating. It’s become painfully clear that the Wonder Dog had somehow kept me grounded, and without her, I’ve spun out of control. “What?” I cried aloud, as if she was still at my feet. “The Trout Parade is this weekend? And the Tractor Parade, too? Oy.”

As many of you know, I live for the parades that snake their way into our hearts in the Catskills, and the Livingston Manor Trout Parade might be my favorite. Each year, the powers that be choose a fishy theme, and when I read that “Once Upon a Trout” was the selection for this, the 17th annual cavalcade, I chuckled. “I’m guessing there will be rainbow trout wearing tiaras and Cinderellas with fish-heads,” I said to myself. “And puppets, of course. Lots of giant puppets.”

I was not disappointed, and neither were the hordes of admirers, revelers and folks on floats. I’ve said it before, but it’s always true. Bigger and better than ever. Perhaps it’s because of what we’ve all been through over the past few, having been cooped up and unable to rub elbows with our friends and neighbors, but this year’s Trout Parade was just freakin’ stupendous.

The floats were amazing, the marching bands in fine form and the volunteer puppeteers (IMHO) went above and beyond. Animating the larger-than-life fantastical creations and engaging with the crowd, this year’s team made me forget my troubles and join in the fun, snapping loads of pics along the way. It takes an army of dedicated volunteers on all fronts to bring this fan-favorite event to life, and I’m not alone in expressing my gratitude. Thanks, I needed that.

To see photos from the events listed above (and some I didn’t bring up at all) go to, ‘like’ us on Facebook and follow us on Instagram. We’re the River Reporter. We’ve got you covered.

Ask the Google: Q—Is “spake” a word? A—According to the Cambridge English Dictionary, yes. “Spake is the past simple of speak. It is an archaic term that is no longer used except in overwrought poetry and for comic effect.”

Narrowsburg Union, Brandi Merolla, Sullivan County Music Festival, Livingston Manor Trout Parade, Hurleyville, puppets


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