Doing the Delaware Thing
A summer Sunday in Lambertville, New Jersey. A break from this summer’s humid weather, and a welcome change of scenery.
Walking along the streets of town, browsing through art galleries along the calm, peaceful Delaware River. Stopping for iced cappuccino coffees to sip along the way.
In one of the galleries we stepped into, a knowledgeable salesman was speaking to a couple about an artist whose work was featured. We were both impressed with his comments, certain that he had a meaningful education and background in art history.
Then the couple asked him to recommend a restaurant in town. He immediately said, “The Hamilton house. I’m a waiter there. Just tell the Maitre ‘d that you’re happiest when Pete serves you. Today is my day off.”
“How interesting,” we thought, “that a person has such varied skills: waiting tables and selling oil paintings.”
Next stop was a walk across the bridge over the Delaware River leading from Lambertville, New Jersey to New Hope, Pennsylvania. Hobensack and Keller, a shop that collects and sells garden pieces from old estates, has a yard filled with fancy wrought iron gates, pewter troughs and cement planters. Inside are antique serving pieces and all kinds of odds and ends. You never know what you will find, and it’s always fun to drop in.
As we approached the shop, we saw a wedding party posing for pictures in the garden. Inside was a man I had not seen before. I asked him if Larry was there. I had dealt with Larry before, and enjoyed hearing his stories about histories of the pieces he found at the last estate sales.
“No, Larry isn’t here today. He’s working at his other job. Larry is the Mayor of New Hope, and he’s officiating at that wedding outside. He often allows wedding parties to meet for photographs.”
I was starting to feel like a character in a sit com, where the same man wears different hats and performs all kinds of different services.
Complain of the number of mosquitoes this summer, and he will put on his exterminator hat and offer to spray your property. Mention the nasty fall you took on your front step and he’ll put on his construction hat, offering to reset the stairs. Discuss a book you’re enjoying and he’ll put on his bookstore hat and rave about the new novels that just arrived in Tuesday’s shipment.
But, I realized this was no sit com. This was an interesting element in this true slice of American life in a small town.