Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Joe Sees America(and Canada too!).

   So there I was, traveling from my home state of Delaware, though the Pocono Mountains to The Holiday Inn in Liverpool, New York , where I would be attending Cinefest 26. For those of you unfamiliar with this event, it's a film festival where fans from all over come to see old ,rare movies, buy movie related items( 16mm films, movie projectors, dvds,ect.) and talk to one another about this wonderful hobby. And when movie fans get together, we don't only discuss the latest releases playing at the local cineplex, but about the films, actors and filmmakers from Hollywood's rich and glorious past.

At the place where I work, I was once engaged in a conversation with a female co-worker about the 1976 remake of KING KONG. She actually said to me," That's an old movie, isn't it?'' Now, this girl is in her mid to late twenties, but still, that kind of remark tells me that in her mind an old movie is one not worth watching. She certainly wouldn't enjoy Cinefest at all. This is a place where black and white movies and films more than ten years old aren't relegated to the realm of antiquated obscurity ,but where the stars and the films of bygone days are talked about and remembered fondly. And people such as esteemed critic Leonard Maltin(see picture at the top) and author Arthur Lennig(his latest book is a biography of Bela Lugosi titled The Immortal Count. Buy it. You'll like it.) attend the convention not as luminaries, but simply as one of the fans. I can't wait till I return next year.

Another reason I was in Upstate New York was to visit the neighboring country of Canada. Now was the time because I had discovered that in 2007, anyone crossing the border would be required to brandish a passport instead of simply showing the border guards your drivers licence and a copy of your birth certificate. It's a sign of the times(sigh).

Originally, I had planned to drive to Niagara Falls(barrel optional)to enjoy one of natures magnificent wonders, but I had been up until three in the morning the night before, so by the time I actually got rolling it was eleven thirty in the afternoon.The four hour trek each way meant that I wouldn't be back at the hotel until very late. There was, however,an option open to me: it was only a two hour hop to Ontario and back. Sure, it wasn't Niagara Falls, but I would still be able to visit Canada and check out The 1000 Islands near the end of New York State.

If you ever have the chance to visit The Thousand Islands do yourself a favor and go there. It's a place where the river is dotted with small islands. On the islands summer homes have been built, each with it's own boating dock for going to and from the main land.Imagine being on your own island, looking out at the water and seeing natures splendor sans the ugliness of urban sprawl. Not a bad way to spend one's summer, I do think.

After savoring the beauty of The Thousand Islands, I headed for Canada to see what wonders awaited me. What did await me was the customs officers at the Canadian Border who proceeded to ask me a slew of questions and run a background check on me while thoroughly searching my car for contraband. Twenty minutes later, with that out of the way I was free to roam through Canada to my hearts content.Unfortunately, time was not on my side so I went to a local casino to play the slots and enjoy a delicious prime rib dinner. Then, it was back to my hotel room in New York. I promised myself that next year I would to see Niagara Falls come hell or high water(as the saying goes).

It was later on that night a vicious snow storm began. I turned on the television in my room where the local weather man informed me that it was expected to accumulate between three to five inches. This was not part of my plans. I mean, I checked the weather report the night before I left Delaware and there was no mention of snow in the New York State region. Besides, it was just two or three more days before the start of spring. This isn't suppose to happen. Or at least, it not suppose to happen during my trip.

The first thing I did as soon as I woke up was look out the window to find a winter wonderland in the middle of March(did I already mention this wasn't suppose to happen?). Although it was still snowing, I decided to pack my things and head back to Delaware before the snow accumulated to the point of making the roads impossible to maneuver my car through. I need not worry,though. Even with the falling snow, the roads were clear and the visibility manageable.

During the drive back a strange thing happened:at one point, I drove through a part of New York State in which it wasn't snowing at all and there was very little snow on the ground. Then about a half hour later it became almost blizzard like and the snow started sticking to the road. I even noticed a car that had slid off the road and into a ditch. Luckily,a police car was on the scene to help the stranded motorist.It was twenty to thirty minutes after that the snow storm stopped completely and the roads were clear again. By the time I reached the Poconos,there was not only no falling snow, but no sign of snow anywhere -period.

All I know is, next year I'm going to have a little talk with Mother Nature before I next venture forth to Liverpool. I'll ask if she can hold the snow,at least until I leave. Oh well, hope springs eternal. As do I.

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