Last spring above Albany the land greened with spring. I traveled north with Kilmer on the weekend, transporting a U-haul filled with antiques. It was a five-day process and this morning we slept in late, re-charging our batteries for the return trip to the city.
In the afternoon Kilmer looked for a new car. I begged off this excursion. Most of the time I was strictly a passenger. Driving on the Interstates was purgatory and Kilmer believed in speed. I preferred obeying the speed limit, so when we reached Greenwich, New York, I asked to be let out of the Ford SUV. I wanted to walk back to Middle Falls.
Kilmer understood and said, "Call me when you are close to home."
I got out at the Batten Kill River. The sun was strong. Small flowers sprouted from the grass. I walked to a railroad bridge rusted by the seasons. The still river poured over the old mill dam with the overflow of a rainy week. Cars rolled on Route 29.
I walked through town past the post office and closed stores. Several buildings had taken on the ghost of ruin. It was hot. A cold beer was a good idea and I and searched for a bar. There were none.
I stopped to take a photo of a Civil War statue. The soldier faced south, although after Trump's triumph the Deep North felt more like Dixie.
I strolled along the sidewalk. This side of town was better off than the mill side. Several houses had been refuges for escaped slaves fleeing on the Underground Railroad to Canada. There were no blacks in Greenwich now.
No Mexicans too.
But the few other pedestrians looked like junkies or meth freaks.
Everyone else was in a SUV or pick-up truck.
At least none were sporting a Confederate flag.
The commercial section of town had expanded since my last visit. Tech firms were opening in Saratoga. Property prices were soaring for old milk farms. Gleaming tractors crowded the parking lot of the farm equipment dealer and brand new trucks shone in the car lot. A lot had changed, but the Green Acres Tavern remained a destination for early afternoon drinkers. I texted Malinda to meet me there. I entered the bar. One man sat at the bar. The TV was on a sports channel. I ordered a Labatt Blue from the bartender. Canada was only 110 miles from Greenwich.
The other drinker was slightly younger than me. His head was razor-cut and skin tanned by outdoor work. A bearded friend entered the bar. He was younger than me too. I was the old man at the bar. They said hello and spoke about the Giants. Big Blue reached far north from the Meadowlands. Malinda hated this bar. To her the Green Acres was filled with racists. She wasn't wrong, especially after I heard buzz-cut say, "Why do people celebrate May Day?"
"I don't know."
"Probably commies dance around a maypole."
I could only tolerate so much ignorance and I said, "No, May Day commemorates the Haymarket Riots in Chicago. The workers were striking for an eight-hour work day. The police charged the rally. A bomb exploded in the ranks. The violence as always was initiated by the police."
"Well, if the cops shot in Ferguson, there wouldn't be any marches."
"They ordered Bud Lite.
It was the fascists' beer of choice.
"Bank bought it. Shut it down."
I raised my glass.
"Death to all bankers."
We drank our bottles dry.
A horn beeped outside.
"It's my wife or as I call her my 'designated driver'."
We high-fived and I stepped outside into Spring.
Malinda gave me a dirty look.
Like I said she hated this tavern, but I can drink with anyone as long as they're willing to listen to my bullshit.