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December 03, 2016
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There’s an app for that!

The town of Jeffersonville kicked off the season with the 18th annual James Dworetsky Holiday Parade.

At the risk of sounding like a spokesperson for product placement, I love my iPad. The last week has been beyond delightful on so many levels, including (but not limited to) my ongoing love affair with technology. To be honest, I did not feel that I could live in the country full time until the Internet was available in the Upper Delaware Valley. Although slow to start, it is now in full swing. Being able to live in this environment and take advantage of all that the lifestyle has to offer, while being connected to the World Wide Web, is ideal.

Prior to preparing my traditional holiday confection, I checked the app store on my notebook and discovered a baker’s dozen of free apps to aid me in my search for the perfect pie, including “Cupcake Heaven,” “Tiny Chef,” and “What’s for Dinner?” That said, I eschewed being online for Thanksgiving and left my mobile devices at home, determined to enjoy the company and revel in an old fashioned holiday with friends. With a little help from said apps, I made an appetizer and a dessert (both were a hit, IMHO) and the conversation and convivial atmosphere provided by hosts Ramona Jan and Andre Turan was fantastic. On Friday, I had chocolate cream pie for breakfast and looked high and low for Dharma’s Christmas outfit, since she had been asked to make an appearance at the annual James Dworetsky Holiday Parade in Jeffersonville, NY.

Empty handed and panicky, I checked for an app. Sure enough, “Image Mask Costume” and “Dress Your Dog” popped up and I breathed a sigh of relief, before finding her Santy suit buried in a closet. The parade, now in its 18th year, was a festively lit onslaught of holiday cheer, replete with floats, festooned fire trucks, candy canes and jolly fat men flinging treats to the kids, who shrieked with glee, shouting for a “pawtograph” as the wonder dog strutted her stuff down Main Street. Having discovered pages of parade apps, I made a mental note to download a few in my spare time and marched on.

Determined to make the evening even more special, Joseph Franco of North Branch, NY surprised his girlfriend during the parade with a spectacular marriage proposal. As a beautiful banner unfurled in the middle of the parade, hundreds of spectators cheered, wept and threw confetti as his lovely bride-to-be, Jenna Ferguson, blushed and accepted. The young couple was mobbed by an entire town of well-wishers during the rest of the route as they begin a new chapter in their lives. To view pictures of the affianced (and the parade in general) go online, “like” The River Reporter (www.facebook.com/riverreporter) and tag your friends.

On Saturday, I had the good fortune to catch the Kazzrie Jaxen Quartet (www.music.yahoo.com/kazzrie-jaxen) in Callicoon, NY, where musicians Jaxen, Don Messina, Charley Krachy and Bill Chattin enthralled a brunch crowd with their improvised “free form” jazz interpretations of standards, including “There Will Never Be Another You,” “What Is This Thing Called Love?” and “The Man I Love.” Chatting with the crowd, Jaxen shared that they “love to play standard tunes, always improvising and never really knowing how it’s going to unfold. You [the audience] are a part of the process,” before taking her place at the Steinway. Great skills and smooth vocals combined seamlessly in Jaxen’s parlor, and I left the concert inspired to tickle the (virtual) ivories once more, thrilled to find multiple apps (“Virtuoso” and “Piano Free”) for that.

Sneaking out before the finale, I was anxious to catch the CAS “Winter Members Show,” (www.catskillartsociety.org) dedicated to the memory of founding member and potter Cecily Fortescue. Unveiling the gallery’s plan to dedicate a wing of the space to Fortescue, Cecily’s husband Arnie was on hand, and a mob milled about, reminiscing about Fortescue’s talent, contributions to the community and infectious joie de vivre. Once again inspired (and wishing that I could paint, draw or create pottery), I checked out the stunning CAS “Santa Room” created by Charlie Irace for the upcoming “Trains on Main” exhibit, marked my calendar to return, and installed the “Abstract Art Gallery” and “Sketchbook Express” apps on my Ipad, for future reference.

Imbued with holiday spirit, I’m definitely in the mood. Armed with my newly loaded “Virtual Menorah,” “Chanukah Jigsaw” and “Too Many Latkes” in place on my HD screen, I’m ready to roll. Having heard that there’s snow on the horizon to push the atmosphere into high gear, I did a quick search, delighted to find “Ski Safari,” “Magic Snow” and “Fresh Tracks,” while pondering who would help me shovel. I hope there’s an app for that.