Tuesday, September 04, 2007

"It is better to keep your mouth closed and let people think you are a fool than to open it and remove all doubt"

Yesterday I went on a trip.
A sort of pilgrimage, if you will.

Fifty minutes the other side of Ithaca is a small town called Elmira. Like so many towns in this part of the world, it has a grand history of industry and wealth; a history which unfortunately hasn't endured.

A significant part of Elmira's history, and perhaps the reason it is most famous, is due to the presence of a family by the name of Langdon. The daughter of the Langdon family, one Olivia Langdon, met a friend of her brother's in 1868, and two years later the couple were married at the Langdon home. The young man in question was one Samuel Clemens, who wrote under the pen-name of Mark Twain.

Every summer for 20 years the Clemens' came to Elmira to stay with the family, and in 1874 Samuel's sister-in-law Susan Crane and her husband Theodore gifted Samuel with a study at Quarry Farm, their farmhouse in the hills surrounding Elmira. It was in this study that such works as Tom Sawyer, Huckleberry Finn and Life on the Mississippi were written.

Those who are lucky enough to have met him will know that my Dad is a bit of a Mark Twain fan. He is legendary within his Rotary Club for his uncanny ability to summon a quote from Mr Clemens for any occasion, so yesterday's mission was a bit of a Dad day. Needless to say, SOMEONE is going to be getting some Mark Twain/Elmira memorabilia for Christmas.
(Rachael, don't tell him, am going for the element of surprise)

I miss my Dad.