The first stop on my memory lane tour is Colgate University, where I spent a beer-drenched year enjoying football games and fraternity parties. The Brawny Sherpa and I set off on the scenic route from Westchester to Madison County—the only option available, and a good one. Embarking on a gray Wednesday, we take an easy ride northwest up Route 17.
What we notice, besides the leaves, are the lack of traffic, the lack of people, the presence of farms, plenty of cows, small shelters for those calves destined to become veal chops, and barns that are in better shape than their accompanying farmhouses. I remember as we drive through one tiny town after another the poverty of this area. We cruise past a Chobani yogurt plant, a business keeping so many dairy farms in central New York alive.
I wonder about cultural disparities, about animosities between the highly educated and the workers serving in their ambit. I wonder as we get closer to our destination whether my memories are accurate: I remember a beautiful campus, a charming little town, a very civilized bar and restaurant at the Colgate Inn. Will everything be the same? Better? Worse? Or just not at all as I recollect it?
I am reassured as we reach our very first stop. The Colgate Inn is as dignified and large and impressive as I remember it.
Next: Catering to a College