We're camped just south of Ithaca on the south end of Cayuga Lake. Cayuga is 40 miles long and about a mile wide. It was gouged out by glaciers during a little ice age about 15,000 years ago..
A half mile under the lake is a salt deposit from an older sea about 400 million years ago. They mine the salt and use it on the highways to melt snow and ice. Sometimes they use the deep mines to look for evidence of proton decay.
We visited some of my ancestors yesterday. Mina and Arthur Robinson are my grandparents. They rest in the Catholic cemetery up on New York State road 13a. Arthur was a motorcycle cop who died about 13 years before I was born. Mina was my beloved grandmother. I used to ride my bike across town to sleep with her when I was five or six years old. You could do that back then before everyone got freaked about stranger danger.
Frankin was there too. he was born in 1857 and died in 1952. I remember him. He taught me how to cheat at a card game called Euchre. He was my great-grandfather. Aunt Bee and Uncle George were buried there too. They watched me during WWII when my Mom went off to do her quality control magic on proximity detonated artillery shell fuses.
Franklin, my great grandfather, Lived with George and Bee and wore a sports coat on his trips down the block to buy a pint of whiskey. He had a spittoon in the corner of the kitchen. He was a harness maker and left me his leather working tools when he died in 1952. Somehow he would blatantly cheat me at Euchre by moving cards around with his elbow. I was only six and unable to properly object.
Today we walked down the Taughannoch Gorge to see the 215 foot waterfall. I remember doing that with my grandmother, Mina, when I was 13 and she was 65. She was born in 1892 before airplanes or atomic bombs. When I was born they had payphones and party lines, but no jet planes, atomic bombs or twitter...
The kid around the corner back then was Tommy Rawski. He's a Harvard professor who specializes in China. His mom was my cub scout den mother...I get real freaky feeling whenever I come back here and play out my childhood memories of 60 years ago against what's left here in 2011. More traffic for one thing.
Mina had four children that raised during the depression as a cop's widow. She had three boys and my mother. During WWI Uncle Bruce was a glider pilot in the 101st Airborne, Uncle Walt served in the Navy in the Pacific. Uncle Everett was a tough MP in Europe. My dad drove a half-track into Germany. All Mina's boys came home alive. They each left a 1943 war baby behind. Strangely each of us went to Viet Nam 20 or so years later. That didn't work quite as well.