By Gordon Hughes

Just like the swallows that return to Capistrano, New Yorkers return to the West Village at the same time every September. As I was sitting outside on one of the benches at Cafe Panino Mucho Giusto having my usual cup of joe (with some skim milk) on an early September morning, I took note of a New York/West Village ritual. It was the returning of summer travelers. Yes, those New Yorkers and West Villagites who are returning to the city from their summer retreats. They come in all shapes, sizes, demographics and family sizes. They are coming from the Hamptons, the Berkshires, Dutchess County, the Jersey Shore, the Poconos, and even some from the South of France. Now—I have a pretty good view of a number of streets from my roost at Panino Mucho and I get to see a lot of cars unloading: Ubers, big black cars, and even yellow taxis.

Most people are sunburned, some are suffering from poison ivy, and some are contemplating divorce. Most couples are
fighting about something like what they “left behind” at the Airbnb, rented house, resort, hotel, yurt—well you get the picture. This, for the most part, is small time stuff; except for the couple who were missing their child. Yikes! (She was hiding in the front seat with the driver so that worked out okay.) Perhaps you read my story about perambulators? Well, that is a major unloading issue. I am so thankful I didn’t witness the loading of those two contraptions on the plane or the Uber.

Those folks visiting the Adirondacks are hysterical. Their tents are not neatly packed. Their hiking boots, all six pairs in assorted sizes, are falling out of their backpacks along with their hiking sticks which are clattering to the sidewalk. All the while the dog thinks this is great sport and is running down Hudson Street with a mouthful of plaid shirts.

These scenes play out early in the morning during about a two- week period in mid-September. Many of these folks are friends of mine and we all enjoy our normal routine at the cafe. But now I get to see the pictures and hear the stories of just how peaceful it was wherever they were. Thank goodness for the pics or I don’t think they would remember any of it!

Welcome home, and feel for me as I go down summer memory lane.

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