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One Night At The Chalet Convinces Me

1191 words - 5 pages

I remember being sorry to see Hughie leave, but I know I was anxious to launch the Bobby, and thus have an alternative source of transportation. Deb and I smoothed out the rough surface left by the dried putty with sandpaper. Next we pasted masking tape onto the line we’d drawn to coincide with the waterline. I figured a carefully defined waterline would give our bottom painting a more professional appearance when done. I stirred the paint, and we both had our own brush and a small plastic container for the paint. Rather than taking an end and both painting toward the middle, we reasoned that it made more sense to each take a separate side, and paint the whole thing that way.
I remember ...view middle of the document...

Watertown is thirty miles down the road in the direction of Syracuse where Hughie lived. Harry and Mary Champagne greeted me on their way out the door with their 180-pound Great Dane. They were taking a break from their concierge duties, and going for a walk around the grounds that included a farm and inland canals built by George Boldt who had been a hotel magnate with properties that included the Waldorf-Astoria in New York City. He built a working farm near the Chalet and shipped produce to his hotel each day to provide his wealthy patrons with fresh food despite the metropolitan setting.
I have passed the Chalet for years, which helps to refresh my memory of the exterior that exhibited numerous porches, strips of wood inlaid into the stucco and decorative railings that evoked images of an authentic Swiss chalet. I can still picture the magnificent walnut stairway that led to the second floor where Mom was staying. This was one of those days that made quite an impression on me. Mom and I played gin rummy non-stop until it was time to get ready for dinner. Mom had wanted to teach me how to play Honeymoon Bridge, but I had no intention of being a captive in this setting long enough to learn the intricacies of that game. It would have been nice to sit on the porch, but the weather is fickle in the 1000 Islands even during the summer. I recall being forced back inside when the wind picked up, and it began to spit rain as the afternoon progressed. By the time we went to dinner it was raining hard.
We had long since gained the status of “regulars” at the restaurant. We had eaten there nearly a dozen times despite meeting Mom and Betsy at Edgewood and Pine Tree when everyone felt the need for a change of pace.
As was her custom, Mrs. Smith came by to check on us. I remember her formal manner of greeting patrons. It is rare that a hostess muffles a smile in favor of keeping her distance from the public, but I thought she had this down to a science. I began to wonder if smiling presented a health risk for Mrs. Smith. My memory of her exact looks is not vivid. I mostly recall her aura, which only seemed to brighten up when Dad was in attendance.
I recall Peter “Salad” offering...

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