Our marriage has a dark secret — my husband is in love with another woman. No matter how much I beg and plead, he spends his afternoons in front of the TV with Lucille Ball. I let him have these, what he swears are platonic, liaisons, as long as he doesn’t kvetch every time I wear my “Ladies Love Country Boys” tank top with Trace Adkins‘ name in the back stretched across my butt.
High on hubby’s bucket list was “visiting Lucy’s grave.” Back in the winter of 2000, we visited the Lucy/Desi Museum and her two childhood homes in Jamestown and nearby Celeron, New York, but never made it to the cemetery. Every time we pass Jamestown on our travels, he says, “I have to get to Lucy’s grave someday.”
So when, on a dark, gray and wet as promised Wednesday, we decided to take the 90 minute ride up to the Seneca Nation Reservation in Salamanca, New York, and then stop to visit my friend Tandra in the Bradford area, I agreed to a 30 mile detour to Jamestown. Through intermittent downpours, we made our way up Rte. 219, taking in the historic architecture, main streets and small town ambiance of Ridgeway, Johnsonburg, Wilcox and Bradford.
Turning onto I-86 toward Jamestown, we immediately noticed that the stretch of road spanning the Seneca Nation Reservation was in wretched condition! The locals say New York State refuses to repair that swath of I-86 unless tribal cigarette retailers agree to pay New York’s $4.35-per-pack cigarette tax on sales to non-native customers. This would force up the prices drastically and negate any reason for a non-native to buy their cigarettes at the reservations.
The Indians have threatened to shut down I-86 with a tire-burning protest, which they have done in the past. The Indians say this tax will destroy their economies and impinges upon their sovereignty, but the state disagrees and says it desperately needs the $200 million these taxes would bring in. See the whole story here. Looks like the cowboys and Indians are still at it, eh?
When we stopped for lunch at a rest stop on I-86, I discovered I had no spoon with which to eat my yogurt and cottage cheese and pineapple. My hubby is a genius. He cut the top off a plastic water bottle with his trusty pocket knife, and fashioned me a scoop that worked perfectly! My husband, I think I’ll keep him. When we reached Jamestown, we went to The Desilu Center (which consists of the Desilu Playhouse and the Lucy/Desi Museum) for directions to the cemetery. We found the museum had expanded since our last visit, but since it was already 2 p.m., we promised each other we’d come back when we had more time.
The Desilu Playhouse and Museum is home to the sets from the 2001-2002 “I Love Lucy” 50th Anniversary Tour, and includes the Ricardo’s living room and kitchen, The Beverly Palms Hotel Suite, Ricky’s Tropicana Club and an interactive Vitameatavegamin set. For more details on the Museum and Playhouse, visit this article by AC’s Mary Carol Herwood, and the Lucy/Desi website here.
After traveling in circles for half an hour, and stopping strangers in the cemetery to ask where Lucy’s grave was (they were all wryly accustomed to this), we ended up at the office (where I said we should have gone first!). The director said the map given to us by the Center was WRONG! Well, of course it was — after all, it WAS a “Ron and Pat excellent adventure!”
We finally found the gravesite, where Lucy’s ashes are interred with her parents, brother and extended family. I snapped some pics of Ron at the gravesite, let him have a few minutes with his beloved, and off we went back to Pennsylvania to visit Tandra.
Tandra has all kinds of animals, and I just had to photograph the most beautiful almost-pure-white turkey I’d ever seen, along with a gaily colored red golden pheasant. (Gotta love those country girls. I emailed her asking what kind of chicken that big white bird was, and she replied, “LMAO, that big white chicken was a TURKEY you flipping dumb a$$.” Hey, I’m a city girl, that’s why I ask questions!) After a couple of cups of high octane coffee, we left with a promise from Tandra that she’d make it down to the campground next year. I’m holding ya to it!
Back at camp, we learned that area had been under a tornado watch all day. Heavy rain and high winds had blown down trees, and several large broken branches landed all over our campsite, one right in our fire ring. They’d have done a job on our truck if we’d been there! Seems we picked a good day to go see Lucy! See Slideshow of Jamestown and Tandra’s birds here. (To be continued.)
Ch. 1; Ch. 2; Ch. 3; Ch. 4, Ch. 5; Ch. 6