William and I have a regular route when we walk: Allen, Second, Warren, Fourth, West Court, Allen. Sometimes we do it clockwise; sometimes we do it counterclockwise. We often walk at first light, when there are few people on the street except other dog walkers and kids waiting for the school bus. This morning, however, we didn't start out until 8:30, and our walk on this glorious day in May reminded me of why--in spite of a painful assessment and disappointing results in the school district elections--I love living in Hudson.
We did our route clockwise this morning, both of us content to revel in the moment. Crossing Union at Second, we heard a voice from on high. It was Timothy Dunleavy calling down from the second floor of his house--from a part of the building that he has only recently laid claim to, after the tenant he inherited when he bought the house ten years ago moved out. We exchanged morning greetings and talked briefly about the success of Historic Hudson's annual meeting last Sunday.
As William and I headed up Warren Street, we saw Skip Weed in his DPW pickup with the light flashing, making a beeline toward Front Street. He waved; I waved back. The same thing happened when we rounded the corner at Fourth Street and encountered John Craig, chauffeuring someone I didn't recognize.
Outside the post office, we ran into Peggy Anderson and had a brief conversation about William's age. (He's 12 now--84 in human years--and more than a little gray around the muzzle.) In front of the courthouse, we encountered Diana Ladden, who introduced us to a colleague and friend named Laura. As Diana and Laura--both dog people--petted William and chatted about him with me, Bill Cranna (Judge William Cranna) greeted us as he entered the courthouse, and someone passing on West Court Street made the gratuitous observation that William (my dog) looked like a wolf.
[ASIDE: William, the gentlest of dogs, is often mistaken for a wild animal. Usually, it's a wolf, but not always. Once, as we were walking west on Warren Street, someone coming from the north on Second rounded the corner and stopped dead in his tracks. Recovering himself he explained, "I thought you were walking a BEAR!"]
On the homestretch back down Allen Street, we exchanged good mornings, in the middle of the 300 block, with Maria Miller. Then, in front of the Inn at Hudson, we met up with Fayal Greene and her border terrier, Malti, on the way to a play date with Dini and Windle's border terrier, Psyche.
Back on our own block, I exchanged congenial but frivolous comments about the comparative size of our pets with a woman walking a very small dog. Almost home, William sniffed a spot where another dog had recently peed, and I joked with a man I know only by sight that what William was doing was the canine equivalent of reading the morning paper or checking his email. Then it was back home for a big drink of water (for William) and a cup of coffee (for me).
Hudson has been described as a college campus for the middle-aged, and that's certainly a big part of its appeal. I lived in the same neighborhood in New York City for close to twenty years and in the same building for twelve, and I rarely ran into people I knew on the street. A few years ago, Furthermore held a party at the New-York Historical Society for its grant recipients, and, because Historic Hudson had received a Furthermore grant and I was the president of Historic Hudson at the time, I was invited. Not wanting to have to worry about train schedules, I drove to the city and parked in the garage under my old building at 79th and Amsterdam. Walking the three blocks to the Historical Society, I experienced something that never happened to me when I lived there: I kept running into people I knew. But they were all people from Columbia County--people I knew from my life in Hudson--who were going to the same party I was.