Lucy, Desi, Rocks, and Chance

By eric

One of the reasons for getting out on the road was to talk to people. And within just a few days, I have already met some interesting and amazing people. Everyone has their own unique story. As it happens, I met a guy on a short hike through a small park in western New York who’s story just slightly overlaps with mine.

Panama Rocks

Panama RocksCharlie and I started out the day going to Panama Rocks in Panama, New York. These rocks were formed and dropped in this area nearly 355 million years ago. For context, that’s before the dinosaurs and roughly when plants started to inhabit the Earth. It was pretty amazing to walk through sections of rock that haven’t moved for millennia. There was even a section between rocks about 75 feet (20+ meters) deep that has snow in it all year round. This is because there is a (very) cool breeze passes through the rocks at that depth never letting the temperature get warm enough down there to melt the snow. The hike itself was gorgeous with a lot of interesting explanations of the history and greenery. 

Chance Meetings

Army TedFor me, what was even more interesting than the rocks at Panama Rock is that I ran in to a guy named Ted. Ted is just your run of the mill grandpa taking a walk with his family in the park on a Sunday afternoon. While Ted’s family was playing with Charlie, he and I started talking and the conversation eventually turned down the road of the military and our respective times in the service. As luck would have it, Ted was in the Army as an Air Defense Artillery officer stationed in Fort Bliss, Texas from 1961 – 1963. Coincidentally, so was my dad. Before I let Ted in on that fact, I asked him if he knew a Lieutenant Harold (or Hal) Lubow (since they were both ADA Lieutenants at the same time on the same Army base). He immediately had a look of recognition and said he never met him but had heard the name quite a few times. This was no surprise to me as having heard quite a few stories from my dad and an Army buddy of his about his time in the military, I could see that his reputation may precede him. So I told Ted that Hal was actually my father. Ted then asked me to ask my father if he remembered Ted (which I thought was peculiar seeing as he said they never met). I told him that my Dad had passed a few years back, but I did appreciate the chance encounter. So we took a picture, shared a hug, and moved on down the trail. Needless to say that finding someone who even has name recognition of a person (my father) over 50 years later is interesting in and of itself. Not a bad run-in for a stroll through the woods in western New York.

Lucy and Desi

Lucy & Desi MuseumHaving grown up watching reruns of I Love Lucy, I didn’t want to pass up an opportunity to check out a museum dedicated to TV royalty. In fact, I didn’t even know there was a Lucy and Desi museum until the nice woman who ran the Jell-O museum told me about it. But it was absolutely worth the detour in the pouring rain to see the museum. It is located in Jamestown, New York because that’s where Lucille Ball is from. She made nepotism a common practice during her career by doing her best to employ her friends and family from Jamestown whenever possible. Part of giving back was to dedicate this museum in her honor. There was also quite a bit of stuff in the museum that was dedicated to Desi Arnaz who was incredibly famous and talented in his own right. But it wasn’t anywhere near as interesting to me; so there’s that.

30+ Lucy TV GuidesI Love Lucy was the first TV show to ever be recorded instead of just broadcast live in front of a studio audience. This made it ripe for syndication and worldwide distribution. This is the reason that TV Guide, multiple times over the years, said that Lucille Ball’s face has been seen by more people worldwide than anyone else in history. This may no longer be true, but it’s an amazing claim for the time and likely true then. She also graced the cover of TV Guide over 30 times. Besides being an inspiration for many future entertainers, she was absolutely brilliant and hilarious. Going through the museum watching clips of I Love Lucy was a hilarious and reminiscent experience. It was especially fun walking the halls and seeing everyone laugh and being taken back to a time where they remember Lucy bringing them laughter and joy too.

The whole gallery of pictures from Panama and Jamestown is available on Google Photos.

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