How Obama Spent Your Summer Vacation

August 8, 2011

We chose a vacation in upstate New York in an attempt to escape the oppressive Philadelphia heat, at least for a week. It was a seven hour drive and traffic wasn’t bad, despite it being a Saturday in August. Weird. New York state is one of the most beautiful places on earth. The mountains and flora are simply majestic.

But I digress.

Upon arrival at our destination on Lake Champlain, we are thrilled with our simple, but well placed accommodations. The view of the lake and the mountains can be seen from every window. Our front porch is covered and is right on the lake and has two comfortable rockers. We both know that this is where we will be spending most of the week, on those two rockers.

We can see Russia from our front porch. Okay it’s Vermont. Close enough.

We arrived a bit early to check in so we drive around a bit looking for a place to dine out lakeside. Our trip into town was revealing.

Like many Pennsylvania towns, once filled shopping centers here in NY are largely empty. Many of the big anchor food stores are closed. Most of the independent stores are gone and mostly the drug stores and liquor stores remain. Many of the old small neighborhood bars and restaurants are also closed. We ask in the liquor store if there are any restaurants on the water that remain in business, and the gentleman kindly fills us in. There are two.

We chose the restaurant that is very close to our cabin and had a marvelous meal. The service was excellent. We left happy. As we are leaving, we are startled as the waitress runs out to speak with us, before we drive away.

She came to thank us. Apparently a 20% tip is no longer expected around these parts. Holy crap. We promised to return.

As we departed and arrived back at our humble but perfect cabin, we settle in, unpack and take our subconsciously assigned seats on the porch were we intend to sit for the week and watch the world go by.

Except it doesn’t.

There are maybe 100 boats, most of them sail, anchored off shore and not docked in the marina. No one is on any of the boats. The lonely vessels are without skippers or passengers; they bob like corks in a tub, their sails tucked away.

Night comes and still there are no signs of life on the boats. No lights, no nothing. No fisherman, no sailors, no party animals. Dead. Its a Saturday, and it is August.

Sunday comes and only a handful of boats pass by. Only one of the anchored sailboats has left us. It was towed, with its life raft lagging behind.

The sun is bright, the sky is blue. It is about 80 degrees with no humidity and a steady breeze, yet no one sails. None of the motor boats are coming or going with the exception of a very small vessel that seems to be occasionally taxiing a person or two from the island across the way.

I can almost hear Rod Serling’s voice telling me I’m in the Twilight Zone. What I do hear, way back in the deep and haunted recesses of my mind, is a voice that talks about shared sacrifice.

It is expected that the Obama family will be vacationing this week in Martha’s Vineyard. They will be staying at a rented mansion that they have taken a liking to that has been reported to cost up to $50,000 a week. The Obama’s pay for some, but the taxpayer covers a great deal of the expense.

I see the sacrifice, but am wondering where the sharing starts.

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