We were only supposed to be gone for an hour. We had been sitting in the Adirondack chairs in the shade on a beautiful day that was the first break from humidity in a while. I was lying in the hammock with a dog and a cat. A couple of Turkey Vultures circled continuously waiting for some poor critter to pass.

I had talked about going to the music store in Hudson but we didn’t really want to leave this idyllic scene for that long. Tami needed to go to Passiflora in Hillsdale to get a wedding present and that seemed much more manageable.

We thought we could combine it with lunch, pizza. Neil wanted a slice. Two slices, to be precise. No, we couldn’t get a pizza and slice it up, it had to be a to-go slice. Apparently, the reheating makes a difference.

So, shortly after 1:00, we headed up to Hillsdale and stopped at the IGA for dill and beer, like you do. There was some amusing banter in the beer aisle while Neil and Tami assessed the wares. I got some oatmeal raisin cookies and a Budweiser Strawberrita. That was about 15 minutes.

We then drove next door to Passiflora and poked around in there for another 15 minutes. We went across the street to the liquor store for Gordon’s gin but it was $27 so we passed.

So we sashayed over to Four Brothers Pizza, about a half mile down the road. We went in and sat down but when we found out they didn’t have slices, Neil opted to drive to Millerton to go to Taro’s which he knew had slices.

Now, Millerton is about 11 miles south along one of the most beautiful drives in the country. You go down Rte 22 through a valley at the foothills of the Berkshires and pass farms and hamlets off in the distance across rolling hills and tucked amidst meandering rivers and an old rail bed. Old farms scatter the way, many of which have found a way to survive through the demise of local agriculture by cashing in on the locavore movement which is so popular amongst the rich New Yorkers who have made second homes in Columbia County.

Millerton was hopping when we got there. As we pulled into town the fire siren was going off. As we were parking, a pickup truck with flashing lights rushed past, closely followed by a fire engine and ambulance.

The girl cleaning up the patio at Taro’s didn’t know what was going on and bemoaned the fact that the emergency vehicles always pass by but she never finds out what the problem is. We waited for her to clean the four tables and then sat down under an umbrella which we had to play around with before it would block the sun.

The waitress came out and took our preliminary orders. Tami ordered the one beer they were out of, which always happens to Tami. We were joking around and the waitress said,”I think you may have broken the curse out here.”

“What curse?”

“Well, all day long, on that side there have been really nice people at those two tables. But on this side the people have been positively evil. But when I looked out and saw the beards on you guys, I thought, ‘Guys with beards are nice. Maybe the curse is broken.’ And now I see you are really nice, so I think the curse is broken.”

She was really nice and noticed that Tami asked if she could have a third of my sandwich and she’d split her slice with me. When our food came out the slice was cut in half and Tami got her own plate with a third of my sandwich. Great service!

The patio sat right on the main street. Behind it was a stand of yews and then a parking lot. Through the trees we could hear a couple returning to their car and the man saying, petulantly, “No, I don’t want to walk, Maria! I’m done!” We were laughing at him but I have to admit, I’ve felt that way myself. Low blood sugar, fatigue, being touristed out.

We ate, paid, and walked around a little. Tami got soft-serve at an ice cream place. Then we drove over to the CVS so Tami could get some cash. While we waited in the car, Neil and I discovered that it was past 3:30 and that we’d been gone much longer than an hour. By the time we got home after stopping at a farm stand for chocolate milk and two milkshakes made by the slowest person in the world, it was almost 5:00.