Friday, October 4, 2002
My 12:00 meeting went long, mainly because I couldn’t stop talking, but I broke away and drove home by 1 p.m. and parked the Buick in the driveway. Monika was already waiting (patiently) for me outside with a sandwich in her hand, so we were off by 1:15 on our drive to Poughkeepsie, NY. At first she drove while I ate the sandwich and tuned the radio to get traffic reports, and after Baltimore we switched so I would drive over the Deleware bridge (a beautiful suspension bridge but not her cup of tea) and up the New Jersey Turnpike. We switched again and had a snack at a rest area just before the junction with I-287 which we were going to try as an alternate route since it was by then 5 p.m. and we were near enough to New York to get rush hour traffic.
So it happened that Monika was driving again when we hit the traffic jam right after we joined I-287, and it took us an agonizing 45 minutes to traverse the 15 miles around the town of . We could use the cell phone to keep Judson and Sarah updated on our (lack of) progress, however, so they delayed dinner in the hope we could still make it in a reasonable amount of time. Fortunately, we encountered just one other 15-minute delay when another interstate with New York commuter traffic joined us. Then we were home free for the rest of the drive up I-87, crossed over the Hudson River on a beautiful small suspension bridge into Poughkeepsie and arrived around 7:45 p.m. We were still “on time” for dinner, so we could all eat together and talk, talk, talk.
First, though, we got the grand tour of Judson and Sarah’s new digs. Sarah had painted and decorated their nice-sized two-bedroom apartment to a fare-thee-well, and it just radiated hominess (which my grad students might have described as “feng shui” (sp?)or some such foreign phrase like they said about my office decorations). The furniture was different and yet all seemed to hang together. We also enchanted to meet “Red Hank” and “Blue Hank”, who were exotic fish each living in their own small fishbowl attached to the wall. They also seemed excited to see us, but of course they get agitated whenever anyone big moves gets near their turf, especially if it’s another fish! I got to feed them, which seemed to be the high point of their day, and then we all sat down to a lovely meal.
During dinner we mostly brought ourselves up to date on all the people in the extended families, and especially what Sara and Judson were up to in Poughkeepsie. After dinner Judson showed me some illustrations of what he was working on and I tried to get a handle on it. Monika decided to talk with Sarah in the kitchen, as I recall, rather than get hip deep in silicon and the intricacies of P-N doping, etching, and all that sort of thing. It’s nice that Judson enjoys it, however, and I think I got the drift. So we yakked until around 10 by which time it was way past our bedtime and we collapsed into bed. It was so nice to be able to just bunk down in the guest bedroom cum computer room rather than drive off to a sterile hotel room like we always did when they were in the tiny Cambridge apartment. I mean, this room had Judson’s Rice degree framed on a wall and a family picture of all of us hanging from another wall, so it felt like home. Copyright 2002 by Robert W. Holt