For a brief time, Ian and I thought we might have to take up residence in Cambridge upon finding that we were unable to extricate our car from the small lot of our B&B. However, vehicles were shuffled, the situation was resolved swiftly, and we were on our way. Our destination: the middle of nowhere (also known as Cooperstown, home of the Baseball Hall of Fame).
Cooperstown is not the kind of place you could easily stumble upon, particularly when trying to drive and navigate in very hard rain, interspersed with periods of only moderately hard rain. Eventually, though, we emerged from wilderness into a sea of baseball umbrellas on a street containing, almost exclusively, restaurants and baseball-themed stores. Yup, we were in the right place. The Hall of Fame and Museum were worth the visit, even though one can only look at plaques and memorabilia for so long. It was interesting to see some of the old equipment (from before safety was invented) and to find one of the few places on Earth where Ian was more interested in the gift shop than I was.
Before I married Ian and changed my last name, people often asked me if I was related to Mel Ott, a right fielder who played for the New York Giants and whose name pops up in a lot of crossword puzzles. Although we’re not related as far as I know, eventually, I started answering in the affirmative to amuse myself. “Oh, yeah, sure. Good old Uncle Mel! I heard tons of stories about him when I was growing up.” Hey, why not? I got a picture with his Hall of Fame plaque, and Ian got pictures with those of some of his favorite Cubs.
When we were done at the Hall of Fame, we had lunch at the Doubleday Cafe and perused some of the shops. Then it was time to get into the car again and head back toward the Finger Lakes. We arrived at our next place of lodging, Belhurst Castle, checked in, and proceeded directly to the wine tasting room (before even going to our room) so we could get a tasting in before they closed for the evening. There we tasted what was probably the best dry Riesling we’d had in recent memory.
When we got to our room, I was delighted by one of the first things to catch my eye: a rubber ducky bearing the name and logo of Belhurst Castle. Alas, my delight quickly turned to consternation when I offhandedly mentioned taking the ducky home with us and Ian reacted with shock and dismay. I had assumed that the duck was a promotional item, a complimentary souvenir of our stay. Ian, on the other hand, supposed that the duck was akin to the wine glasses and coffee maker in the room–meant to be used only for the duration of our visit. Our debate became heated. I took informal polls on Facebook, and although “complimentary souvenir” won in a landslide, Ian was not convinced. My distress grew, quickly becoming completely out of proportion to the situation. For reasons I do not fully understand, I really wanted that duck. However, I did not want Ian to think less of me. He seemed to fear that he was married to a larcenist who was precariously perched atop a slippery slope leading toward a life of crime.
I had to settle this. The next time we passed the front desk, I approached and announced. “I have an extremely silly question.” The three staff members looked at me expectantly, so I continued. “The rubber ducks in the rooms–are those meant for guests to take, or are you not supposed to take them?”
A pause followed. The desk clerks seemed puzzled that someone would think to ask about this. “You can take them,” one finally said.
Yes! The ducky was mine!
I named her Isabella after a ghost that has been alleged to roam the grounds of Bellhurst.