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What's New In the Adirondacks

Part IV: The New Mantle

The two adults sat quietly looking at the boy, almost speechless.  The story they had heard fascinated them into silence.

At length Carlton O'Leary spoke up.  "These nails which I have carried around with me for decades, as if they had no value, have turned out to be the most important nails of any carpenter in history.  If the world knew their value they would be priceless."

"Indeed they would be, Mr. O'Leary," softly answered Joseph.  "Indeed they would be."

The old collector again gazed at the boy and his father.  "For now, do nothing with the mantle-piece.  I want to think about what I should do with these nails.  Please go into town and get other supplies to fasten it in place."

An hour later the father and son returned with the necessary materials to install the shelf above the fireplace.  O'Leary was sitting quietly in his favorite chair watching as the waves rippled across the lake.  In the distance some clouds shrouded the peaks of the Adirondack Mountains.  All around the lake a dense forest of trees stood guard.

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Photo Credit: Marc Rabice
Part III: The Birth

"That is quite the dream, young man," commented Carlton.  "I am intrigued, as a collector.  What else did this soldier tell you about these nails at the birth of Christ?"

Thomas took a deep breath and glanced at his dad for reassurance. 

"It is ok, son. Mr. O'Leary and I are quite interested.  Tell us what Marcus told you."

Thomas apologized because he didn't remember the exact words of the guard, but he would tell them about what the man had explained.

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Photo Credit: bugie.de via photopin cc

Part II: The Dream

"What is on your mind, son" asked the carpenter?  It had only taken a second for him see that something about the old tarnished nails had caused Thomas to reduce almost to tears.

Carlton's voice sounded a little sheepish as he apologized, "Thomas, I meant nothing by my question.  You are welcome to use these old spikes."  Turning to the carpenter he added "I did not intend to offend you or your boy."

He then looked at the boy and offered with some conciliation, "You may keep the nails if they mean something to you, young man.  I am sure they have no real value.  I only accepted them from the merchant as an act of good will.  They are easily replaced."

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Photo Credit: fsgm via photopin cc

Trying desperately to bring his son out of the sudden melancholy his father added, "I'm certain there are other nails that will work just perfectly.   I'll go find them.  You can keep these antiques.  After all, there are five nails here and only three were used to hang Jesus on the Cross.  So, like Mr. O'Leary said these are only part of an old story."

"But, dad" interrupted the boy, "when I fell asleep I had a dream about these nails that seemed weird." 

"What do you mean by weird?" O'Leary questioned.
Part I: The Carpenter And His Son

The carpenter had married later in life.
 His bride was young, but well prepared to live the life of a carpenter's wife.  What they found together almost immediately was they would be parents of an adopted son, whom they would name Thomas.

Joseph and Janice lived in a modest home near Saranac Lake in the heart of the Adirondack Mountains.  In the Adirondacks the tree covered mountains were scattered with villages.  Now and then a big job would come along.  Yet, for the most part the work was just refurbishing a house in a village, repairing a rural barn, or remodeling of a cabin on one of the many lake fronts.

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It's undeniable that the most popular (and difficult) Adirondack hiking challenge is the Adirondack Forty-Sixer, which you must scale all 46 of the Adirondack high peaks to complete. If you've ever wanted to conquer the challenge, but have been deterred by the daunting task that the 46ers present, fear not! A new hiking challenge has come on the scene in the Adirondacks that offers less work, but just as much reward as the 46ers. That's right, folks, 29 is the new 46!

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Model train lovers, fear not! Railroads on Parade is here to stay... with a little help! The intricate model train display has avoided its anticipated dismantlement and will continue to be a main attraction in northern Warren County - but they need your help to stay afloat!

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Photo Provided
About two decades ago my dad passed away, having been trampled on by Alzheimer's disease.  

A couple years before my father's passing I rolled into my home town of Keeseville.  I was sporting a fancy Ford Mustang convertible.  It was one of those sparkly teal blue cars that turned heads with adoring and envious looks.

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Photo Credit: digicla via photopin cc 

It was mid-summer in the Adirondacks.  Warm, green, lush, mosquitoes and flies, all mixed with the smell of barbeque and celebration in the air.  

Mom had been an early graduate of Keeseville High School decades and decades before; I believe in the first or second class to graduate.  

The night after my drive through town the school, that had long since closed due to declining condition, was celebrating a combined reunion of all the classes that had ever attended.  My brother, eldest among the seven children, was there to attend with mom.  She enjoyed the event while being recognized as one of the oldest to show up.  And, so to speak, she would arrive on the arm of my brother.

During the day my sisters cared for her and fussed about her appearance.  She, with an attempt at humility, would chide them to "stop fussing, it's just another reunion."  It was far more than that and rightly so.

When you look at a concrete wall what do you see? A barricade? A forgotten project? A forlorn surface? Do you even actually notice the wall at all? Artist Kate Hartley did, but she didn't see it as a hopeless slab of material bringing a depressing vibe to everything around it - she saw it as the perfect canvas for a very unique, very large-scale art project.

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The new documentary On Home Ground explores the lives of three Iraq and Afghanistan veterans returning home to their remote Adirondack towns, premiering on Mountain Lake PBS November 11.

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The freshly scattered leaves pave beckoning paths for fall reading in the Adirondacks. Here are 7 recent Adirondack-themed books from local authors you must read this fall.