Yesterday, Major Kong left this comment at the mothership:
BBBB – I’ll be in your neck of the woods Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday this week.
For those of you who don't know the good Major, he is a pilot who, after an extensive and fascinating military career, now flies for a major freight carrier. Basically, he's a cross between Race Bannon and Santa Claus. Since he is a commercial pilot, when he says "I’ll be in your neck of the woods Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday this week" he doesn't mean he'll be in your neck of the woods from Tuesday until Thursday- he means he'll be in your neck of the woods on Tuesday, then he'll be back on Wednesday, and he will return on Thursday. Yeah, even more than myself, he's the sleep-deprivation poster boy.
At any rate, we made plans to meet up today- he flew into the region around six-thirty in the morning and sent me an e-mail telling me that he'd arrived and would probably sleep until about noon. Around eleven o'clock, I started driving upstate, to the greater Fishkill metropolitan area, then I pulled over at the three-quarter way point to check my e-mail for the message that the major was ready to road-trip. Shortly before one o'clock, we rendezvoused at his hotel and drove south to my workplace. I had called the site manager earlier in the day to tell him that I would be bringing a friend to the site, and got the all-clear.
When we arrived, there were quite a few co-workers on site, preparing for a spring fundraiser that is taking place this weekend. I introduced the major to the I.T. guys and a few other members of the day shift. While I was making introductions, I noticed that a pleasant-looking young woman had entered the building. I informed her that the site was closed, but I would point out some of the site's salient features. Next thing you know, her parents arrived, and I learned that the three were Westmeath residents on vacation to New York for a week. Since I immediately took a liking to them, I took them along with the major on a tour of our site. My co-worker **REDACTED**, who had just finished giving a tour to a school group, decided to give us an impromptu tour of the site, including a wonderful demonstration of the onsite **REDACTED**, a piece of machinery which I always watch operating with the raucous glee of an eight-year old.
In the course of our tour, I introduced the Major, who is a cat person, and our new friends from Ireland to Fred and Ginger. Atypically, Fred was not shy around strangers and Ginger did not try to climb up the Major's shirt. We bid a grateful farewell to my co-workers, both two- and four-legged and went together to another nearby tourist destination.
While there, I showed friends old and new the **REDACTED** of **REDACTED**, upon whom the character **REDACTED** of **REDACTED** was modeled. We then took a stroll to the **REDACTED** of **REDACTED**, who starting the whole thing off back in the day. The Major and I then took leave of our friends from overseas, it being time we headed north, the major having to report back to work by 7PM.
We took the scenic route north to Fishkill, including a ride on the "goat path" atop the cliffs on the east bank of the Hudson. I hadn't been that way in a long time so I was glad to play the "at home he's a tourist" game. The scenery along this particular stretch of road is nothing short of breathtaking.
When we finally got back to the greater Fishkill metropolitan area, we had an early dinner at a very pleasant local diner and I dropped the Major off at his hotel with plenty of time to spare.
It was a good afternoon- time spent well with friends old and new, and an opportunity to rekindle my love of the place I spend my workdays. Special thanks go to my co-worker **REDACTED**, who went out of his way to provide us with a fantastic experience.