Where in world...?

An old friend phoned the other day. He never phones. But this time he just had to know: "What are you doing living in Florence?"
He thought I was in Florence, Italy. I told him it was Florence, Massachusetts.
Here are some answers -- my occasional wanderings through Florence, MA and the surrounding Pioneer Valley.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Pine-Scented Turkey

Aaah, 'tis the season for the turkey. I am not always called upon to cook the turkey, though I have done so in the past. Most notably, I made Thanksgiving dinner with a big turkey when living in England one year. I had to lug the frozen turkey in my backpack home from the supermarket. I can't remember anything about cranberry sauce or stuffing, but it met the Thanksgiving needs of the three Americans at the table, and satisfied the Thanksgiving curiosity of the three British women at the table.

I went to visit my parents in Connecticut for Thanksgiving. Little Joey the dog came along. It's hard to know what he thinks of the holidays and the dinners since he may not have had the most stable home life before coming to live with me, but he was rewarded with a juicy piece of turkey on Thanksgiving night. We all, that is, Joey's Dad and the extended family give thanks that Joey has come to live with us and become a part of our lives!

The Christmas tree part of the store.
 Notice the blow-up Santa in front. 
It's rare for me to visit my parents without paying a visit to the "World's Largest Dairy Store." (Excuse me, while I scoff. But I can't scoff too long, since Ripley's Believe It or Not gave them this designation a long time ago -- it's on their neon sign.) I grew up near this place when it was still a small barn and the little farm out front still looked more like a hobby farm. As kids, we used to lug their colorful plastic bags for schoolbags, since no one ever bought a backpack back then. I was really shocked recently to learn that my cousin from California had put down a visit to Stew Leonard's on his "must-do" list of tourist sites. Excess and kitschy farm imagery help bring people into the store, though we have always liked the freshness of many items offered. It's the Disneyland of Milk, and they have the same animatronic animal figures to prove it. The milk is definitely a big draw, though they have stopped processing the milk at this facility. Nowadays the display of milk cartons going around the conveyor belt is just for show, and you can tell when you look closely at it.

At different times of the year the Stew Leonard's complex features a garden store, or a holiday store. On the day after Thanksgiving, Florentina's approach to the store was greeted with the huge smell of pine trees. Christmas is on its way.

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