Take a relaxing ride over to Cambridge and visit Battenkill Books. Buy a book or two. Support Independent Book Stores. Tell them you were sent by a Raining Iguana! Click on the link below and visit via video before you warm up the car.
It has been almost 38 years to the day since I last walked the former Adirondack Community College (ACC), now SUNY Adirondack campus. The campus has grown substantially in those four fleeting decades. The enrollment and the stature have expanded high above the grassy fields and suburban sprawl that now surround it. This day I felt young for a moment. The smell of soccer season inflated my leathered lungs. The brisk November breeze mussed my grey wispy hair, yet I felt spry and alive. I absorbed the muffled chatter of youth as it played out around me. I sat happy at a picnic table amongst the still green grass and crisp brown oak leaves that fluttered gently by. I smiled with reflective thought of 1973 when my wife of 36 years and I walked hand-in-hand from our cars to class. We never completed our college experience. Instead we chose to wander off together and be one. We’ve enjoyed a winding, fulfilled life, buried in dirty diapers, dreams and discovery. We ran a business, struggled through late payments and power bills. We survived teenage boys and their broken cars, prom nights, and autumn weddings. We are now prepared for yet another chapter with hopes of more to follow. I breathe in deep. I am transposed into the healthy muscular teenager that once walked these lawns. The college experience was brief. A soccer season’s worth was all I had. I have no regrets. Maybe a little want. A want of higher learning. An “Educating Rita” dream of deciphered literature and classic interpretation. My beautiful wife and I chose instead to learn by trial and error. More of a Lewis & Clark Expedition through life. I am content. We are still holding hands, learning still, to embrace ground-level happiness and low flying dreams. What brought me back to (ACC) SUNY Adirondack this cool November day? A new found source of inspiration, talented author, Jon Katz. I met Jon recently at Northshire Bookstore. Jon was promoting his newest book “Going Home.” What I discovered that day was an interesting man who seemed to be on a parallel plane. His demeanor and gentleness a comfort in a sensationalized, cheapened world. There was calm in his voice, warmth in his heart. It showed right through his dark blue sweater vest. I was at ease and at home. On that day and today I publicly mentioned Jon’s photography. Both times his eyes glistened at the mere mention of his ‘other’ passion. I was sure his heart skipped a beat or two. Both days I felt his creative spirit pulsing out into the crowd. His love for animals is legend. His yearning for creative expression just as strong; regardless through which medium it choses to manifest itself. So here I sit again, warm and welcome, in a lecture hall on faintly familiar ground.
I would like to thank SUNY Adirondack as I promise to now call it. I am now refreshed. I now welcome change. I very much want to thank J. Courtney Reid for her part in bringing the Writer’s Project to the general public. I would like to also thank the Faculty Student Association of ACC, the ACC Foundation, the SUNY Adirondack English Division, SUNY, and the National Endowment for the Arts.
This is the first lecture I have attended at SUNY Adirondack. It will not be the last.
Lastly I would like to thank technology. If I had not made an internet connection, I may never have had the pleasure of shaking the real-life hand of Jon Katz.