There are Many Adirondacks

Oh, you have totally wandered into one of those rare Small Pines serious-minded posts. Oh, yeah. I’m totally going to ruminate.

I’ve posted previously along these same lines. However, since I honestly don’t remember what I wrote, and since my feelings may have changed now that I am a full-time resident, I thought I might write about the topic again. I may not recall my previous words, but the sentiment stays with me. I think about it a lot.

There are many Adirondacks.

I think about it when born-and-bred locals badmouth preservationists. I think about it when preservation groups refuse to see the long-time locals point of view. I think about it when I hear someone badmouth the lesser villages. I think about it when folks from the lesser villages call the vacation home folks rich snobs. I think about it when my dyed-in-the-wool neighbors don’t understand how I could find value in some of the artsy-fartsy stuff that happens in Saranac Lake. I think about it when I realize that Saranac Lake has five groups raising money for five different charitable projects, none of them working together. I think about it when I remember that many of my neighbors would likely not get along with my friends in town.

There are many versions of this awesome six-million acres we call The Adirondacks, and each of us has our own specific version; each as valuable and valid as the next. And I wonder how nice it would be if we all dropped our agendas for a while. If we were a little more, “You live that way? That’s cool. I live this way.”

Perhaps this comes from the fact that I have a hard time completely fitting in.

I’m an über-NPR arts geek who has a bad habit of adapting Victorian literature for the stage. I use phrases like raison d’etre in normal conversation, but I curse like a sailor. I like a good Chardonnay, but you could have caught me any evening last Summer with a Keystone Light in my hand. I love beautiful clothes, but I wear ripped flannel most of the time. I play the piano and I tear down houses. I have a large library of theatre memoirs, and I have a chicken coop built out of scrap wood. I straddle a line, I guess. That’s cool. Just a little hard to find anyone that I have a whole lot in common with.

Anyhow. There are many Adirondacks, and being a straddler, I’ve learned that everyone has something to offer. Everyone. Some of my backwater redneck friends are near genius, and better read than your average Columbia grad. And some of my more well-off friends are the least snobby, most down-to-Earth folks you’d ever want to tip a Budweiser with.

If we could all just give each other a little more of a chance.

How awesome would that be?

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14 Comments

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14 responses to “There are Many Adirondacks

  1. From another girl who’s straddling the line as well…I say we create our own sub-culture. with a secret handshake.

  2. would be a good Christmas present – to give each other a little more of a chance.

  3. I love that thought, SP! (said the gal who never listens to NPR, but loves great bluegrass, will shop in Walmart but has several wonderful antiques, who enjoys nice new clothes but will wear hand-me-downs and love it,…. ) I think perhaps we are related? So to you, and to Joanna who suggest giving each other more of a chance for Christmas,… I raise my glass!

  4. amy

    Oh… if we all were more multifaceted and tolerant what a fullfilling life we all could share. Nice post.

  5. I toast your honesty and well worth…
    Myself and many of my friends (YES, friends) live the same way, it was how we were brought up…
    I like nice clothes, but wear my Dads old flannel shirts…Don’t make them like they used to…
    I’m an old Yankee, Use it Up, Wear it out, Make it Do, or Do Without are words to live by…

    You learn something New every day of your lives AND never stop learning…Everyone DOES have something to offer…

    Wishing you Contented Happy Neighbors…

  6. Love this post. I think you find the people you have things in common with online much more easily than in real life… at least I do. I am full of the same sort of “contradictions” as you, and wouldn’t want it any other way!

  7. Your musings are much like mine when I first moved to the Northeast Kingdom in Vermont right after going to college. Most people did not understand what I was saying. My words were too big. It was the first time in my life that I ever met illiterate people. I was shocked by folks not knowing how to read or write! Over time, the rednecks became my best friends. Then I moved to the Montpelier area where many were flippy, dippy new age hippies who listened to NPR. Most of my friends were gay and lesbian with a few regular old rednecks thrown in. No matter where I lived, I adapted, but I have NEVER really “fit in”. Perhaps most people feel like outsiders? Maybe I’m just too eclectic? I’ve always enjoyed having many facets and being able to mingle with anybody and talk about anything.

  8. hideawayhill

    You said it well, Adks. I’ve been here 40 years from suburban NY and still straddle the line. We all need to practice tolerance. Not only does everyone have something to offer, but everyone has a “story”.

  9. Marie (adktricollie)

    As I think you know from prior posts, I am a born and bred New Jersey girl. Worked and played in Manhattan for many years. Bought our house in Long Lake, NY six years ago. Did the weekend warrior five hour schlep from New Jersey to New York for years until we moved here permanently last winter. I like you, feel very out of sorts at times. I sometimes feel I have absolutely nothing in common with the likes of some of these locals. I like you also enjoy the diversity of music and such and listen to the likes of jazz, classical to Pink Floyd. I like a cold beer but also like a fine glass of wine. I embellish a great restaurant with a view but love even more a sandwich at a picnic table or pizza on the couch.

    As much as I have always been friendly and outgoing, I sometimes feel living in a very small town and being considered the “downstater”, has caused me to become the intravert. This town also for the most part, suffers from the “you will never be accepted if you weren’t born here and have no relatives here” syndrome.

    As you know, living in a small country town there is no anonymity when you have only one place to get your milk and have to go to the Post Office to pick up your mail. Although I have meet and befriended some very nice people, I have days where I say to myself “what am I doing here”. On the positive side, as much as I lived in a nice New Jersey town, I don’t miss looking out one window at my neighbor’s vinyl sided house, and looking out the other window at a garden apartment complex. Nor do I miss the constant traffic or the never ending strip malls and box stores instead of the view of beautiful tall pines.

    Your post was like music to my ears. All aside, I think this takes some “getting use to” in more ways than one. But, I do think the good outweighs the bad. It’s a big adjustment and just takes some “getting use to”.

    Remember one thing, no matter where we come from, we are all going back to the same place.

  10. Great post, and I’m a fellow straddler! I think actually there are a lot of us up there. I have met a lot of people from New Jersey even in the short time we’ve owned our cabin. The farm where I buy our just-laid eggs over near Schroon Lake is run by a couple from New Jersey!

    We are still getting to know folks in the area around our cabin – and are about to have some new neighbors soon in a trailer they are moving up from Whitehall. So far everyone we’ve met has been friendly, even the ATV-ers who go by on our gravel road. But I’m sure if we lived there full time we would come across some that think of us as outsiders. But that’s OK too.

    I am envious that you are up there now, while we are stuck in New Jersey for the winter. I have a feeling our big project next year will be to winterize our cabin so we can be there in the winter.

  11. I think MOST people are straddlers, of one sort or another!! And the longer I live here the more diverse my circle of friends grows…the nice thing about our little hamlets is this: if you want to socialize with more than say 4 other people you are going to have to hang out with people different than you are or you will be very very lonely. Now, if you don’t want to socialize this is also a great place to go hermit!

  12. People should hire you to give the preamble at all “Stakeholder”-type meetings!

  13. Here here! Wonderful post. I think straddlers will always have a hard time fitting, as we wander between groups. But much is to be learned by not instantly categorizing people and enjoying friendships for their differences, not just sameness.

  14. Alliedog

    Straddlers are an asset to the economic development of these small towns. They demand culture activities in their areas which in turn provide activities for tourists. In the end, the town becomes so charming, that the visitors may relocate bringing their money with them. Saranac Lake has come so far. I look forward to the time we will relocate to the area and be able to take advantage of what it has to offer.

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