I’m Down with Upstate

There are dozens of lists circling the globe via e-mail that tell you know you’re from such and such area if …
I’ve seen at least four variations of the Upstate New York list, and as much as I’d to climb on my high horse and object mightily… I think they’re funny!
More than that, I have to admit some of them are true.
You measure distance in hours. Well, as they say in Sullivan County – you can’t get there from here.
You make a switch in your car from heat to air-conditioning and back again in one day… OK, I did that last week.
On second thought, perhaps I should quit while I’m ahead.
I object to these stereotypical attempts at putting as all in boxes on grounds that they’re just too darn close to the truth!
Oh well, I tried.
But I’m a proud New Yorker from the “real” New York.
I can drive 65 miles per hour in 2 feet of snow without flinching.
I say “the city” without a second thought that someone might confuse my reference with the thousands of American cities besides Manhattan.
My Halloween costumes were indeed designed with winter weather in mind, and I certainly know more than one person who has hit more than one deer.
Come to think of it, I know someone who plowed his way through nine in one calendar year!
I’ve been to the hardware store and gotten offers of help from people who don’t work there, but I’d like to think that’s true anywhere.
Really, we can’t be that different, can we?
Come on, you can’t tell me that only folks living north of New York City have been known to think the first day of hunting season is a national holiday.
We used to get the day off from school!
And ours is definitely not the only corner of the globe where the mayor greets you on the street by your first name.
Although he does, and I wave, “Hey, Ed.”
But I just found my favorite on any “you know you’re from” list.
You know you’re from upstate New York, it says, when you recognize all four season: almost winter, winter, bitter cold and road construction.
Well folks, it’s here!
I sat on the viaduct in Callicoon with my neighbor last week, our kids snoozing in their carseats in the back and waited as hefty machinery chewed up the pavement and spit it back out to create a new roadway.
I sucked in a deep gulp of air and let it sit in my mouth – so long I could almost taste the macadam.
That’s how I know it’s summer in upstate New York – the hot, bitter scent of asphalt mingling with the diesel fumes of the engines, blown by a gentle wind off the river.


  1. Found your blog this morning … Looking forward to being back in SC in two weeks!

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