I love that song. Summertime… and the livin’ is easy. I am probably enjoying this summer more than any other I can remember. Last summer would top the list, except that I was frantically trying to find a job with benefits up in western New York in my quest to move back to my hometown. Although that didn’t work out as I’d hoped, I learned so much and had such a bountiful summer. Not in cash, but in friends, family, and new memories. Now that I’ve finally started to get my personal life kinda sorta a little organized, I thought I’d share some of my New York summer. Everything I did was cheap or free, and more enriching than any amusement park or mall.
Our trip to Zoar Valley started my adventures. My cousin Linda, her cousin Kate and I took two cars full of young adults on a day of creek walking. We drove down near Gowanda, New York and headed down to the water. There we walked along the Cattaraugus Creek. Most of the rock we encountered was shale, common in that area. One of the girls in our entourage is studying geology and shared with us the names of several rocks and fossils. The creek bed was full of fossil! I suggest you always take a geologist or geology student with you when you hike a creek. Awesome!
To learn more about this beautiful area in New York State, click here. Enjoy!
My friend Kate and I rested on our creek walk through Zoar Valley. The kids left us in the dust.
Daughter #1 must check her cell phone. Not such good reception in a valley.
What stories these ancient rocks could tell!
Life is… well, an adventure I suppose.
Or as someone pointed out to me, a series of adventures.
On my first official day back to work in Florida, I was offered a job back up in New York, which I just left because I couldn’t find a job.
What a moral dilemma, huh? I could jump in the car and race back 1300 miles to where I just left! I could do it. So what if two very nice people worked their tails off to get me a position back here. So what if my brother just bent over backwards to make sure I got safely back to Florida. I got offered a job where I want to live!!
Now obviously, you know any person with any moral character at all would know you don’t just turn your back on people who’ve worked so hard for you. But here’s what makes the decision to stay in Florida even easier. The day care center that couldn’t afford to pay me $10 an hour to take care of a room full of infants can now pay me that $10 – to be the director of the entire day care facility.
Holy cow. It’s a small place, but $10 an hour to be responsible for the safety and well-being of every little one there, and the employees? And I still don’t think I’d have any insurance. As much as I want to be in New York, and believe me, I want to be in New York, that’s just not okay.
So right now, I have a job that I am good at, with a good salary, medical benefits, and that’s all on top of the roof over my head, food in my stomach part.
And I guess I should feel good that I was offered the director’s job.
Here is reason number 1,393 why I love my home town.
Of course, you’ve heard of kazoos. They are those little metal horns you hum into. They’re actually famous. I watched an old episode of Boston Legal the other night in which William Shatner played a trombone shaped kazoo in New Orleans. And it was made right here in my little home town of around 8,000 people.
We are the home of the “Original Kazoo Factory”. Although it is now a working factory on only a limited basis, it is still the only maker of metal kazoos in North America. In fact, if you purchase a metal kazoo, it should have stamped on it “Eden, NY USA”. If it doesn’t, it was made in some other country. I would NEVER put my lips on a kazoo that was not made right here in town. I actually think it might make God cry.
These days, the Kazoo Factory, as we all called it growing up, is run on a limited basis, but the front of the “factory”, which is actually an old house with a factory built out the back of it, contains an amazing gift shop owned and operated by an old family friend of my in-laws, Karen Smith. If you happen to be in western New York, stop by. You may even have a chance to make your own kazoo!
For more history and information about the Original Kazoo Factory, click here.