I had to make some creative decisions yesterday to get home since the Thruway was closed and there was a lot of congestion on the backroads between points A and B. My familiarity with the area proved helpful, I trucked up some paths that barely resembled a road. At one point I had to stop and pull a tree branch out of the way to make the road passable; it was when the cows started running alongside the Jeep that I realized that I had in fact fallen so far off the beaten path that I was actually in the middle of a farmer’s pasture, so I found the quickest exit and got myself on the real roads again.

Calm down, I’m kidding about that last part.

Actually, when I emerged on the main road at the top of a fairly large hill, I found a car nose down in a ditch. The back end was so far off the ground that the wheels were in the air. The New York State tags pointed towards the sky. Two people were standing outside of the car. I pulled up.

“Are you OK?”, I asked.

“Yeah, we’re alright.” His voice was thick with an accent that seemed to resonate from the deepest core of the Big Apple. The man and woman looked pleasant enough. They were looking up the road.

“Do you need me to call someone or something?”

“Nah, we got a tow truck on the way,” he said.

“OK, I just wanted to make sure you were alright”, I said as I got ready to get back to the cow pastures.

He responded with, “Ya know, you guys up here are nice for stopping and checking on us.”

I smiled and waved as I moved on. I guess folks don’t stop like that down where his accent originated. I drove off and continued my quest to get home, waving to the man I call ‘Farmer Bear’ as I passed his farm. He waved back.

Even though driving around these parts has been a bit of a challenge and the cable news channels are blaring on about how much damage actually happened here in Upstate from Irene, I have to admit that I’ve been smiling. Neighbor helping neighbor, stranger helping stranger, friend helping friend.

I think I have once again found my pride in being from Central New York.