York and Connecticut:
on the Tappan Zee Bridge over the Hudson River is 45 mph much to my great
relief so I wasn't eaten alive by rushing New Yorkers. Joined up
with the Merritt Parkway and it is now my favorite highway. Ups and
downs are gradual, curves are graceful, everything is well marked and more
importantly there are TREES on either side, close to the road blocking
the horrendous wind. A very civilized highway.
Connecticut--very sunny, very pretty and monumentally gusty. I was cruising
Main Street looking for the Barnum Museum when I came across this amazing
building. I had to stop and get it on film: it looked like
4 or 5 styles of architecture made of Oklahoma red clay collided and landed
in the middle of a modern main street. And, of course, it WAS the
Barnum Museum because P.T. himself had a hand in the design. And
like Tina Turner, he didn't do anything "nice and easy."
you like to have the job doing Public Relations for the P.T. Barnum Museum
in Bridgeport, Connecticut? IMAGINE the possibilities! Well,
I got to meet the lucky lady who has this job. Her name is Arvis
and she is also Ruffles the Clown. She told me about clown colleges,
the clown association and clown chapters. (And you thought your professional
group was a bunch of clowns!)
director of programs, with a great radio voice and academic award-winning
wife (Stacy, I think it was) gave me the royal treatment--the boardroom,
coffee and a stainless steel whistle with an engraving of the museum building
on it. The building itself is over the top! Check out: www.barnum-museum.org
that P.T. Barnum was just the first major advdertising shyster but, as
usual, when you get to know somebody, they aren't all they appear.
He was, among other things, mayor of Bridgeport. His life was influenced
by his grandfather who pulled a practical joke on P.T. over a piece of
swamp land. And after a stint at retail left him bored, he bought
a museum and started in. Now 150 years ago the only form of family
entertainment was museums. P.T. was the first P.R. genius but then
you knew that. He had musicians play outside his museum and play
so horribly that people would come inside to get away from the noise.
Barnum is a source of inspiration too. For 2 reasons. He experienced
some major set backs (business going up in flame, etc.) that would have
crumpled anyone. He really lived his religious faith which was the
Universal Church's teaching of "all things ultimately are for the best."
reason ya'll should know about P.T. Barnum is that no matter how old you
are or how old you think anyone else is--you're NOT too old. P.T.
Barnum retired for 1 year and then went into the circus business.
And that's why you remember him, right? He was 60 years old when
he started his new career. He's been called the Shakespeare of Salesmanship
but I think I'll remember him differently now.
Gail Brown, reporter for the Connecticut Post, arrived at the museum to
interview me and get photos of Seno parked outside the red building.
Well, she and Ken and I had a fine old time, more like camp mates around
a campfire there in the boardroom swapping stories. SHE was an inspiration
to ME--she recently lost 78 pounds (that's pretty great) but she told an
amazing story about why it was such a good idea to get in shape.
She and her photog had to run for their lives in downtown Manhattan on
September 11 when the third building collapsed. She probably wouldn't
be here if she hadn't shaped up for that important run.
8, then 15, then 5 to I-91 and went headlong into Hartford rush hour.
I did shoot out the other side of town and make it to I-84 but I missed
two exits and therefore two youth hostels. The wind was so strong
it blew trees down in Central Connecticut and I read in today's paper that
the gusts were up to 55 mph. Exhausted, I crossed the Massachusetts
state line and pulled into the first place I could find. The desk
clerk recommended a restaurant and I was off down a country road to find
I found some people come to Connecticut for PERIOD! What luck!
Around the corner I came and pow! there was the Publick House, built
in 1771 (231 years ago!) and still serving the Yankee traveler. And
they had my two favorite words: BAKERY OPEN.
an old car to Sturbridge, Massachusetts and you'll be warmly welcomed by
Brad Areoite who had a small bevy of cars himself and made his boss look
at Seno and come meet me. Albert Cournoyer, Innkeeper, has a '62
Vette and he told me that the Publick HOuse was used during the Civil War
as a troop training area. Even my waitress Kim, very pretty and very
efficient, has a dad with old iron in HIS garage!
got to tell you--both Brad and Albert win the best dressed category in
the men's division so far--both had great suits. Albert looks like
a TV actor whose name I don't know.
visit the Publick House in winter they will make a hot buttered rum for
you after your sleigh ride and their brochure is so elegant that it is
suitable for framing (not kidding, folks!). www.publickhouse.com
What a remarkable surprise this place was and I left with a bag of cornbread