Back from New England.
When the Village Harmony concert was over Sunday afternoon I hugged everybody and said goodbye and then hopped in the car. I was as anxious to get home as those Manhattan horses. In a way I, too, was galloping back to the stable after hard days of clopping around pulling tourists behind me!
The campers are wonderful, and they sounded great in concert, but the quizzical raised eyebrows, smiles and shrugs my bandmates in Mappamundi use to communicate while putting together arrangements and preparing for concerts are completely insufficient while working with 30+ singers of various ability - many were shy and inexperienced, though there were a few who understood my suggestions the very first time I made them...
Anyway, our concert (3 pm on Sunday) was in Ashfield - in Massachusetts near the Maine border - so it was a long haul home and my main concern was that every East Coast Monday morning rush hour was standing between me and my stable.
I drove west on beautiful, peaceful roads. Next, on the advice of my helpful friend who lives in Atlanta, but used to live in Vermont, I took a wrong road, and ended up squandering 40 minutes waiting behind red lights in precious little skiing villages. Finally I got right again.
There was a big fat late traffic jam heading south to New York City - this must have been its denizens returning from their weekend of fun in the country - so I decided to hole up for a couple hours. I pulled into the Ramapo NJ rest stop, which was, interestingly, full of orthodox Jews.
By the way, when I just now Googled Ramapo to be sure I'd spelled it right, the following article was high up in the search results:
New Jersey Nazis. I Hate New Jersey Nazis
By Ed Driscoll, March 29, 2006
What is it with colleges in the state I grew up in and The Reich Stuff, anyhow? Last year, Fairleigh Dickinson had on its staff an admitted Neo-Nazi. Now Mahwah's Ramapo College is running an art exhibition featuring paintings that look like they're straight out of Joseph Goebbels' private collection.
The guest curator is Isolde Brielmaier, a Ugandan art professor from Vassar College who seems to have a particular affection for anti-social "art" including explicit anti-Jewish themes. One work featured in the exhibit, created by artist Deborah Grant (who has no relationship to Ramapo College), depicts a Jewish rabbi dressed in phylacteries with a Star of David on his yarmulke, holding up Torah scrolls with the Nazi swastika instead of text. The inscription below the image reads: "The Old and the New Testament."
The implication could not be clearer: the Jews' holy text is fascism and they are the new Nazis.
For obvious reasons, the college has not been eager to publicize its controversial exhibition. Indeed, I learned of the art only after a Jewish student, upset with the college’s insistence on keeping it in the exhibit during its entire six weeks run, provided a photograph she had secretly taken of it.
Bonnie Franklin, the Vice-President of Communications at Ramapo ... was eager to defend the artist’s right of self-expression. Although admitting that she personally found the work "offensive," she stressed that it "has been extremely stimulating on our campus as an educational instrument."
Anyway, everybody was having a roaring time at the Ramapo rest area, which seemed absolutely full except for the one parking space I managed to find. I crawled into the back of my van and put in my earplugs and slept for two hours.
By then things had thinned out and I continued south. Just north of Baltimore, I was exhausted, but unwilling to brave Baltimore and Washington with the Monday morning commuters. So I pulled into a mall parking lot and took a nap from 3 am to 5 am and got back in the car and drove home. I never did that before.
It's good to be back, though I saw sadly that a couple of my blueberry bushes had purely dried up to brown sticks while I was gone. Must have been hot here, y'all.
Reappearing after a year's absence: my music stand, which was left in Paris Maine when the camper in charge of such things spaced out for a while. I was absurdly glad to see it again when Kennie Shimizu put it in my hand.
Left behind: my pitchpipe (which Peter Amidon suggests he may frame and put on the wall) and my cds (which I told him he should treat like fruit that falls off the back of the truck).
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