My friends and former co-workers threw a happy hour party last night, so I parked my car downtown and headed off on foot to meet my dear wife Karen.
Everybody was gathering at a nice joint by the name of J. Ryan’s, to honor Michelle, who’s leaving the big daily at the end of this year for a management position at the Syracuse New Times. I’ve noted Michelle’s friendship in several stories here. She was one of the co-hosts for the big daily reunion party along with my wife, and she was one of co-adventurers who shared the trip from Baltimore and Bermuda and back on the beautiful big boat. Heck, she was the one who got us all together to watch NFL football on all those flat screens at Chuck Hafner’s Restaurant and Grill just before Thanksgiving.
A special friend sharing an important achievement had me walking through the drizzly post-dusk at a good clip.
And then I saw it.
The Clinton Square Christmas Tree, proudly beaming its sparkle over the outdoor skating rink in Syracuse, N.Y.
For 29 years, I worked directly across the street from Clinton Square. At this time of the year, I could go to the Square-facing wall of windows, pause, and admire.
Karen and I had a pretty big string of years that we went with friends to the annual lighting ceremony, joining tens of thousands of happy folk singing songs, watching skaters, craning necks for a better view, and counting down to the flip of the switch. It was convenient. We were there.
But we didn’t go the day-after-Thanksgiving this year. In fact, we hadn’t gone the last couple. We had decided that we’d tired of getting jostled by the crowd constantly pushing for a good position, and braving the cold.
Last night the joy hit me square in the face.
I grabbed my iPhone 4 and clicked away.
I loved the scene, lights welcoming several lonely skaters as the countdown this time was of the dwindling days to Christmas, not the seconds until the lights came on.
That’s what I decided to share today. It ain’t Rockefeller Center, but it sure is a nice spot up here in Syracuse.
After a couple of beers and a couple dozen well-wishes for Michelle — yes, we will be working together again when she starts managing the ad sales staff and I continue blogging about films for the New Times — I walked Karen to her car.
Below is a building we passed on the way. Look two-thirds up for a message.
Go ‘Cuse, indeed.
Do you have a holiday location that brings you back and always makes you happy?