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August 26, 2016
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Button up your overcoat

“Oy vey!” was the Facebook response to one of the frost photos Fox posted..
TRR photos by Jonathan Fox

For something completely different, I’ve a song stuck in my head. Although I would like to think I’m “special,” this is not an unusual occurrence and most people have experienced the same thing more than once in their lives. If you’ve ever read this column before, you know that this syndrome is not new for me. Happens all the time. Being addicted to the Internet, I surfed for an explanation, and although theories abound, there is no single, definitive interpretation, but of course, there’s a name for it—“earworm.” My go-to source ( defines earworm as “a catchy piece of music that continuously repeats through a person’s mind” and goes on to say that “the phenomenon is common and should not be confused with palinacousis, a rare medical condition caused by damage to the temporal lobe of the brain that results in auditory hallucinations.” Hmm.

Rather than believing that I have actual brain damage, I’ll assume (for the moment) that I’m suffering from the more common type of earworm and leave the fancy term for later. Meanwhile, the lyrics repeat constantly and there’s a simple reason—it’s cold outside. Waking up to frigid temps the other day, I glanced at the thermometer, (21 degrees), put a serape on the Wonder Dog and serenaded her on our way outside to warm up the truck. “Button up your overcoat,” I wheezed, observing the puffs of steam emanating from our breath, “when the wind is free, take good care of yourself, you belong to me.” Searching for the bright side, I grabbed the camera and snapped some pics of Jack Frost’s handiwork on the windshield and the surrounding countryside. As usual, I took comfort knowing that while life in the Upper Delaware River Valley might provide some weather-related challenges, there are stunning vistas all year ‘round and that I have the opportunity to document the ever-changing landscape. Thinking back and realizing that “Superstorm Sandy” had wreaked havoc across the region a year ago, I took a long, labored breath and soldiered on. “Better pace ourselves” I mused while planning my next move. “After all” I thought “It’s still apple picking time.” Sure enough, the musical demon raised its ugly head. “Wear your flannel underwear, when you climb a tree, take good care of yourself… blah, blah blah.” Officially, winter is still a long way off (December 21), but I got out the flannels, put the bed warmer on and made plans for visiting my first (gasp) holiday market ( in Monticello, NY.

Chanukah comes early this year. In fact, the Jewish holiday has never occurred on this date (November 27) before, and according to the Internet, never will again. Adorably dubbed “Thanksgivukah” by several online sources, the lighting of the menorah will take place on the night before Thanksgiving—hence the temple’s craft fair. Dharma was anxious to check out the new dog toys and start her wish list, so we headed out and chatted with the vendors, admiring their handiwork and making notes for the near future. The pooch snatched a handmade chew toy from Fiona Feltman’s table and raced around the showroom, delighting the kids, and coercing me to make an early purchase (a cute camouflage tug) from the young lady’s display. To find out how you can commission Fiona to make one for your pup, call the temple at 845/794-8731. Getting into the holiday spirit, Feltman’s project helps benefit the Sullivan County SPCA.

Paying for our purchase, I wagged a finger at the dog and informed her that she’d have to wait for more. Wondering if it was too early to start drinking hot buttered rum, I turned to the song lyrics. “Keep away from bootleg hooch, when you’re on a spree,” was the advice before the inevitable rhyme, so I drove home, posted a pic of the frost and sat back, awaiting commentary. “Oy Vey” was the first response, from Facebook friend Denise Sarett Connolly, which seemed in keeping with the impending holiday, so I read on. “I love this!” enthused pal Miriam Rayevsky, while chum Lorraine Allen chimed in with, “The frost is lovely and I could sooo live without it.” Counting my shekels after Dharma’s impromptu gift, I was amused to read Lynne Wilcox’s observation that a “beautiful pattern was all over my car this morning… in fact it took a good ten minutes to remove it.” With the last strains of the song (thankfully) fading from my reverie, I hear snippets echoing in my (hopefully normal) brain. “Eat an apple every day,” it advises, “get to bed by three.” With the clocks turned back, that seems almost plausible, but I don’t want to rush it, so I’ll just button up my overcoat and hope for the best.