Earlier this year my sister Kathy had a brilliant idea. We needed to go camping together. Not only did she pick a place and make reservations for Labor Day weekend, she brought along a brand new trailer and her family to inaugurate it properly. We had a great time and can’t wait to do it again.
The place she picked was Sleepy Hollow State Park in Laingsburg, MI. We wondered about its name. Mystery solved by simply reading a sign down by the beach. At the time planners were fussing over what to call it. One of the founders was E. B. Crane. Apparently enough resemblance to the character Ichabod Crane from the Legend of Sleepy Hollow. Hence the name for the park.
After our campout the topic of the park’s name came up in conversation with my sister Sue. Somehow we both managed to miss that classic read our whole lives. That would not do. I visited the local library and was surprised to learn the book was cataloged in the juvenile section. Better later than never.
We decided to read it together. It only took a few hours. For a child’s story, however, I found it challenging. In my defense Washington Irving penned his small masterpiece nearly two centuries ago. I’d like to think his old-school word choice and sentence structure were a factor. As a refresher for those who haven’t read it for a while, or if you’ve not read it at all, here’s the first sentence to whet your whistle.
“In the bosom of one of those spacious coves which indent the eastern shore of the Hudson, at that broad expansion of the river denominated by the ancient Dutch navigators the Tappan Zee, and where they always prudently shortened sail, and implored the protection of St. Nicholas when they crossed, there lies a small market-town or rural port, which by some is called Greensburgh, but which is more generally and properly known by the name of Tarry Town.”
See what I mean? A little challenge is healthy and we enjoyed reading the classic ghost story. That was back in September before I left MI. Since then I rambled my way east. I’m currently in DC. On the way here from MA I wanted to avoid towing my trailer in big city rush hour traffic. That kind of challenge I can do without.
While skirting around the Big Apple I noticed Tarrytown and Sleepy Hollow on the NY map. So I paid a visit. Once I found shady parking for my rig I set off on foot to explore for a couple hours. That was Tuesday. The weather was gorgeous. I arrived just after noon. It was lunch time. Lots of hungry pedestrians. Children at recess in the school yard. Crossing guards on duty at every other corner. Everyone friendly. The only headless horseman I saw was on a sign.
As much as I liked both towns, especially the walking path along the Hudson River, I didn’t tarry. I crossed the Tappan Zee bridge and by dark was well into the Garden State. There was a full moon. Just saying.