Gail and I have known each other since she was four and I was six, when my parents and I started spending weekends and summers on her parent’s dairy farm in Old Chatham. Some of my richest childhood memories are brought back with her description of the land around her home.
Friendship at arm’s length
by Gail Behrens Day, Old Chatham, NY
In junior high, girls attended home economics; boys, shop. Our teacher taught us the correct operation of a sewing machine and how to do a rough measure of fabric off a bolt. That was, fingertip to nose, equals one yard. If each of us does that upon meeting, we have 2 yards, or 6 feet.
We live in rural New York, in an area that has zoning—minimum of 5 acres. Our road is dirt and a dead end, about seven-tenths of a mile, walking end to end is about a mile and a half, on firm footing, shaded by hardwoods, quite hilly—it’s a nice short work out, and plenty of room for two arm’s lengths. Then there are acres and acres of woods around us where one can walk without seeing anyone.
My hens are laying, I have more time to watch them as the weather is turning to spring and they’re scratching away all over. I have a new horse that a young friend is helping me bring up to speed and we’re hacking out several times a week. I’m totally absorbed by jigsaw puzzles to a point that I lose track of time and have had some very late nights. I can download books from our public library and read them from my laptop that I can see without my lamp on—that pleases my husband. Today, we’re cutting up a big pine that fell in yesterday’s rain and wind storm, a family job.
I’m probably classified as an introvert and aside from not shopping in over a month, having no meetings, doing yoga via Zoom, my life has changed only a small bit. But let’s face it, I get mildly panicked when I do need to go out to fetch the mail from the box, open a package. I’m of Medicare age and my husband hits 4 of the 5 vulnerability classes. I worry when listening to talk about opening up the economy. Will I be safe to grocery shop? Will I get sick as the curve flattens, will my husband get sick? It will likely kill him and I’m not ready for that.
I’m voracious about reading COVID19 news and current politics but can’t stomach the right of center news so I ignore that. I really only want to read about the demise of Trump’s regime, like watching car races waiting for a crash.
I also have wonderful memories of time spent at Highland Farm. There is a photo on my office wall taken by my stepfather, Tony Cutroneo. It is a group portrait of Linda, Judy, Gail, and Ruth taken in the early 60’s. Over the past year, I’ve enjoyed seeing what Gail and her family are up to via Facebook but I’ve deleted my account for a number of reasons. I was delighted to find Ruth’s site and Gail’s “Arms Length.” I would like to stay in touch via email if possible, especially when we celebrate dumping Trump in sixteen weeks!
Warm regards to all,
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