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8.23.03 Adirondack Mini-V

Maria invited Jim and me to join the gang at her fiancÚ's family lodge in the Adirondacks - a 5-hr drive from Rochester. I brought a split of French champagne to celebrate the first check from a paying customer for Cosmopolitan Productions -- Rochester Institute of Technology.

The lodge itself is a conversation piece -- late 19th century, classic Adirondack "twig" architecture, with giant elk heads in the library and the original Stickley furniture. Scott's school-teacher parents bought it at auction to summer with their 6 kids. It easily accommodated the weekend's 19 visitors for a classic house party.

Thursday night we played "Taboo" -- a game where your team has to guess your word without your saying the obvious clues. It requires lots of clever energy and spontaneous inventiveness -- not me at all. My only salvation would have been if I were one of those compulsively competitive people, who must triumph no matter how small the encounter. Not me either.

The neighbor came in and told us to quiet down. Odd to be in the wilderness and have neighbors in your face. What was once a single compound for a large Jewish family was now an enclave of 5 or 6 private lodges -- a village.

To me it's one of the great paradoxes. In high-density cities, everyone politely ignores one another. We build psychological walls to protect our privacy. Loud overheard conversations are lullabies. The more rural you get, the more you are expected to interact and be friendly and care about one another -- as a city person, it feels creepy to me.

J and I retired to the bedroom off the kitchen. Our lullaby was Maria and Sheila lecturing the assembled teenagers. They were freely sharing all their thirty-something wisdom on life and love, while the 6 or so teenagers giggled. Maybe it was the Jewish house spirits (plus the spirits in the Absolut bottle) that turned them for a while into yentas.

Someone videotaped their session -- a male yenta who thought it would be "good for" Maria and Sheila to see themselves. We watched on Friday night. I pity anyone who found it shocking. It was only the heartfelt blathering that goes on in millions of big families worldwide when the hour is late and the adults are relaxed on alcohol and the children too tired to sleep.

For what happened the next day, check out this "Babes in Boyland" episode.

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