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On Optimists Pessimists and the Rest of Us


AS WE GO TO PRESS WITH this issue, we’ve just felt the first hint that fall is indeed right around the corner, if not barreling right down the sidewalk at us—that crisp nip in the morning air that says summer may have a spasm or two left, but not much more than that.

People seem to react to autumn a couple of different ways. Some sit in their cars and steam about the interminable minutes spent stuck behind school buses, mentally kicking themselves for not having left 15 minutes earlier; some sit and hum along with the radio, thankful that the bus drivers wait until all the kids are safely clear of the road before restarting traffic. Some folks marvel at the crisp air and near-psychedelic color show on the hills along the river; others grumble while unclogging gutters, raking lawns and driveways or vacuuming pools. And while some complain loudly about the dropping temperatures, rising heating bills and then brood over what to pack for their four-month retreat to Florida, others reach back into the recesses of their closets and pull out those luxurious, thick, soft wool socks that feel so good and then thank Mother Nature that sandal season is over.

Which is a long-winded way of saying that, to some folks, there’s good in almost everything; to others there’s always something wrong, no matter how good things get. I suspect most of us straddle both sides of that fence most of the time. Like my uncle used to say, “There’s three kinds of people in this world—optimists, pessimists, and Episcopalians.” (Though I still have no idea what he meant by that.)

Whether by accident or design, this issue falls squarely on the optimist side of the fence, so doom-and-gloomers need read no further. Good Stuff this time out is just that—not one not-so-good-stuff in sight. From teens growing vegetables for the less fortunate to yogurt pies to a café named for a president’s wife (finally)—it’s all good. And there’s a whole slew of pages devoted to the quintessential Hudson Valley fruit, if not its signature product—apples, in all their glory. From chefs’ imaginative new dishes to the rebirth of an industry centered on what used to be considered inferior fruit to the new liquid gold—it’s all good. And to top it off, we bring you the harvest edition of Hudson Valley Restaurant Week—and this years’ event already is drawing more restaurants and enthusiasm than ever before. That’s not just good, that’s fabulous.

So, whether you’re an optimist or pessimist (or Episcopalian), you’re bound to feel good after reading this issue. If you don’t, take two Dinah Washingtons (page 54) and call my uncle in the morning.

Hudson Valley Restaurant Week is back this April 8-21!