Thursday, July 21, 2011

Daily Dose #54 (07/21/11)


(Home as a "Reset" Button)

I had lunch with a very old friend of mine at the Cedar House Lanes in Skaneateles yesterday. I really love the Cedar House. It’s one of the last bastions of the town I remember growing up in. The rest of it, with the exception of the lake, has changed and mutated much over the past 50 years.

You can still go to a place called Riddler’s. but there’s no Ed Riddler to inject a personality to the experience. You can go to the Skaneateles Bakery, but you can't saddle up to the lunch counter to get a cup of cop coffee and chain smoke cigarettes, pretending to be a Bohemian in Paris as you ditched school for the day.

You can get a glazed donut, but it won’t even come close to the glazed donuts that used to be produced there. When it changed ownership, they got rid of the ancient machinery and secret alchemy that produced the best glazed donut in the entire free world. Those donuts (and the half moon cookies) were art, not just food. Every time I would land home after an extended ramble around the world, I could always count on the Bakery to snap my brain to grid with sensory memory back to Square One, Ground Zero.

Those donuts were like a giant reset button, re-booting me to my original "settings". It’s just evolution, and that reminds me of my own mortality I guess. I’ve certainly sailed into middle age collecting curmudgeonly barnacles along with my ever graying hair.

Originally, My friend Holly and I were headed to Cam’s (now The Willow Glen) up on the tangled intersectioning corners of Jordan St., Seneca Turnpike and Jewett Road, but we were greeted with a hand lettered sign written on a paper placemat that said, ‘Closed Tuesday in March.’ I don’t know if it was every Tuesday, but according to the sign this particular Tuesday we were to be denied.

So off to the Cedar House and The Hilltop diner.

I don’t have any axe to grind against all the other potential lunch spots in town; they all serve their purposes, and they put out fine food, in a great atmosphere. I sometimes pop into the Sherwood for a drink, but frankly I’ve been defaulting to the Cedar House for all my night time libations in public lately. There’s a little too much jockeying for position in the Sherwood for my tastes, and Dusty’s mother-in-law always makes me feel like a long lost son as she tends to her duties behind the bowling alley bar. I used to wash dishes in the Sherwood as a kid, so I do have a deep rooted connection to the place. The Blue Water’s been around for awhile (Their Portabello Mushroom Sammich is particularly yummy), but again, it still has new car smell to me, and I feel like an alien when I walk in there sometimes.

Morris’s Grill is now gone, to be replaced at some un-determined time with a ‘Bistro’ when the foreclosure on the Seitz Building finally gets untangled. And when I visit Skaneateles, I crave that "reset". As I age, the options for experiencing that are becoming limited.

To walk into the Cedar House, and to be enveloped in its yellow orange shellacked walls with an old and trusted friend, is like crawling back into the womb. After getting your ass kicked by life, sometimes you need that. Instinctually, when I do, I gravitate towards that reset experience.

Tear it down and build it up again.

Here’s how I start the process: a hamburger at the Cedar House, shooting the breeze with my buddy, Holly.

It’s not just the place, but the people in it. Here are all the ex-pats of the old town, that somehow survived the gentrification process that started in full force around 1980 or so. They tore down the trailer park and put up a spa. Some of us moved, some of us dug in our heels, and some of us just got plain left behind.

But those people, the descendants of Yankee pioneers with ancient bloodlines, as I remember them, are all here; like members of an exclusive club of wizened war veterans.

It’s just progress.

The "Old Skaneateles" of my memory wasn’t all that great. I mean we did have confirmed pedophiles running around at St. Mary’s Church and at the local movie house. It was down right creepy at times.

Sometimes, change is good.

I’m just grateful that the Cedar House is still there for me when I need it, even if a gas station now sits where Fabin’s used to be. I don’t know about the rest of you, but right now I feel like doing some keggling, and I thank God that I still can in a memory that I call "Home."

Sometimes, I need a little help in reminding myself who I am, and where I came from.

Fabin's demolition photo by Jorge Battle

"a parking lot in paradise"


Author's Note:

Just a few little updates for the regular peep-a-roos that get their Dose, daily.

1. Page Views: "The Dose" just eclipsed the 17,000 page view benchmark in 53 consecutive days of publication (17,071 as of 5:30pm, EST 07/20/11).

2. Feedback and Metrics Count: The confirmed Peep-a-roo network has 40 feedburner subscribers, 14 google followers, and 10 networkedblogs subscribers. That means 64 peeps are actively sharing The Blog-O-Thon, and generating page views at a ratio of almost 4-5/1 per "share", to achieve an average viewership of around 250-300 page views per day.

Peeps... THANK YOU! This is how its supposed to work, and you have made yourself an integral part of this publication.

I know there may be more regular readers out there that are firing into the blog through facebook newsfeed posts. I'm very grateful for the time you spend reading them, but if you would please consider using the sign up options in the left collumn, I could get a much more accurate read on just how united The Peep-a-Roo front really is.

3.Comment Protocols: Commenting directly on the Blog-O-Thon site is supposed to help promote it, but for the life of me I don't know how... that said, I moderate all comments before they show up, in case you were wondering. If people want to say negative shit, I generally post it anyway.

But I'm instituting a new rule. No more "Anonymous" comments will be posted. If you have an opinion, attach your name to it. Other wise, your opinion really has no value. This blog is about standing up and being counted, not sniveling behind a cloak of anonymity.

4. The Master Index:A Peep-A-Roo (Denise, you know who you are) pointed out to me recently that the Blogger Platform makes it difficult to access archived blogs, along with the fact that its hard to find a previously published piece if all you have to go on is a consecutive string of numbered blogs.

I created a Master Index of all The Daily Dose injections, with a brief description of each one to make them a little easier to locate. This index will be updated weekly, and sent out every Saturday morning.

If you would like to receive The Master Index, please send me a traditional email address to: You can always opt out at anytime.

Aside from receiving the index, this also gives us a chance to correspond one on one, probably the most rewarding part of the Dose experiment for me. Don't be shy!

Don't forget: "The Dose Is In The Discipline" and "Sharing" really does translate to a state of "Caring", no matter what you do, what you make, or who you are. If you participate in the Universal Recycling system while playing a game of catch with creation, great things will happen. They always do.



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