By John R. Greenwood
I was out of town for a work related reason recently. The hotel I stayed in was three feet off Exit #37 of the NYS Thruway in Liverpool, NY. I’d been there once before for a business conference. This visit was similar in nature; a two day truck driving championship so my time was pretty well filled with activities. Although I wasn’t actually competing I was there in support of our company’s driver and as a volunteer helping with the event. On day one I had a couple of early morning hours to kill so I thought I would take a look around the area. Google Maps identified that Onondaga Lake was almost within walking distance. The search indicated a large county park lined with walking trails galore was in my future. I grabbed my camera and headed for the door.
Onondaga Lake was not hard to find. It was a cool week day so the parking lot was scantly dressed and covered in goose autographs. It was however a beautiful park with long stretches of paved paths running along the shore of a wide low slung lake.
I hadn’t been there more than a few minutes when I saw a NY Giants hat approaching with tufts of white cotton peeking from underneath. Ah, one of my peeps. I picked up my head and with a warm NY welcome said, “Good morning. Do you live here?” The ‘Giants Hat’ raised up and a smile followed. “Yes, you from out of town?” It was that easy. Two sentences in and the next thing you know we’re talking about my birthplace Saratoga, the racetrack, and the Triple Crown attempt whose outcome you will probably know before this post hits the internet. That’s how simple it is to make a connection 150 miles away. One person, one sentence. Once a common ritual played out so easily, connecting is slipping away into the past. The art of verbal communication is an endangered species. Our world is destined to dissolve into head bent texting and low level grunts of one word sentences. I think both of us knew we’s better keep it short and sweet or the next thing you know we’d end up standing there for hours discussing everything from California Chrome to Eli Manning. We backed away slowly, smiling, and savoring the brief but informative exchange--the common language of place.
It was nice.
It was fresh talk.
It was the way it should be.
I turned and walked away, my eyes scanning for another connection.
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