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Ralph Gardner Jr.

  • A major celestial event occurred at our house this week. It’s not the one you’re thinking of. Indeed, the total eclipse of the sun turned out to be a partial bust. Thick clouds rolled in approximately half an hour before totality – or the ninety-five percent of it we were granted in our part of the Hudson Valley – and didn’t part for a good sixty minutes.
  • I don’t feel depressed. I’m actually sleeping more soundly than normal. My appetite remains robust. I’m able to focus. Energy is good. My self-esteem is relatively sturdy.
  • The recent closing of Kozel’s, a Columbia County restaurant that had been around since 1936, felt like a death in the family. Maybe not an immediate family member, but a family member nonetheless.
  • I owe David Becker, a Columbia County artist and a friend, a debt of gratitude. David gave me something far more important than a hot stock tip or the name of a physical therapist that works wonders. He introduced me to a dependable diner.
  • The village of Kinderhook, NY has undergone a remarkable renaissance over the last few years. The revival has been anchored by a complex of shops and restaurants, an art gallery and a yoga studio, together known as the Knitting Mill. The Old Dutch Inn, overlooking the storybook village square, has been transformed into a boutique hotel. And lest anybody think I’m exaggerating, Taylor Swift was spotted at one of the yoga classes and rumored to be house hunting.
  • As you age you become something of a connoisseur of friendship. Perhaps it’s because the arc of your life becomes more distinct; you can stand back and examine the people that have come and gone, and those who remain. The exercise provides something of the satisfaction of viewing a rainbow after a downpour and taking in the whole dazzling thing, from one end to the other; though I’d like to think that the contours of my own journey remain incomplete.
  • It wasn’t my idea, but we’re getting a puppy. Don’t get me wrong. I love dogs. A home without one is just a house. Especially our house. It’s large and rambling and buried deep in the woods. If ever a domicile and its residents were crying out for canine companionship this is the place.
  • Apparently they’ve given a name, or names, to that time of life when you’ve hit your late fifties, sixties or seventies and you’ve retained use of your motor skills, most of your marbles and cling to the belief that fame and fortune remain within reach.
  • My father used to describe himself as a “fun dad." He probably cribbed the expression from some Sixties TV commercial involving a father doing stereotypical things with his child like playing catch or frolicking in their backyard pool.
  • Christmas Eve means it’s time to start holiday shopping. I jest. I’ve been shopping for days. At least one day. Last Saturday I made my annual pilgrimage to Great Barrington and Fluff Alpaca. I’m not very good at coming up with gift ideas. What I’ve learned is that you can give the same gift, or category of gift, year after year. People come to rely on your lack of creativity; I mean predictability.