Just like realizing you've out grown snow days, discovering you no longer have a place in a city you previously called home, is a hard pill to swallow. It may be a gradual realization or it may hit you head on when you return for a visit, either way it's your first step in going forward - especially if you've been dragging your feet as much as I have.
Above picture courtesy of Max Horowitz
I went back to Binghamton this weekend to go to Spiedie Fest and to spend a night out with some friends before we scatter to all parts of the country, including Alaska, South Carolina, Georgia and New York.
We raised our glasses and celebrated with those who are leaving to settle in a new place and commiserated with those who don't know what to do next. We made promises of visits and tucked loose questions into neatly packaged answers wrapped in promises not to fall out of touch.
Saturday night blurred into Sunday morning without skipping a beat. The sun rose, as it always does, and brought with it a new relief and nothing left to do but head off in our various directions.
The drive back down state was three hours longer than usual but somehow underlined with a sense of calm; the monotony broken up by a roadside farm stand in Monticello. A small sign on the highway lured me off with the promise of local peaches but I left with no less than two pounds of tomatoes, 2 onions, 2 green peppers, 4 ears of corn, 1/2 pound of string beans, 1 pound of white peaches and 1 and a half pounds of the best apricots I've ever eaten. The farmer was friendly and talkative as were his customers and suddenly nothing seemed as important as his local produce. The traffic and roadwork became irrelevant and the uncertainty of tomorrow faded in the presence of a plump, imperfect tomato. After that, I opted to avoid the main thruway for as long as possible, instead choosing a winding state road that meandered through small towns.
When I finally walked in the door at 9pm, I turned one of my farm-stand tomatoes into bruschetta, topped with basil from our backyard. The simplicity of it was familiar and comforting and I ate it on the back patio in the cool, dark night. Afterwards, I folded myself into bed and set my eyes toward tomorrow.
1 Large beefsteak tomato; washed and chopped, seeds removed
1-2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil, plus more for brushing on bread
freshly ground salt and pepper to taste
1 large clove of garlic
2 large slices thickly cut bread
Toss chopped tomato with 1-2 teaspoons olive oil, salt and pepper. Set aside.
brush both sides of bread lightly with olive oil. place in oven or toaster oven on 375 degrees or grill on medium until golden. Remove and rub garlic clove on top side of bread.