The first big trip we took in the new camper was to New York State. It was June 1967. We visited my brother Tom, who was stationed as an MP at West Point and then went on to see Niagara Falls.
I remember next to nothing of West Point and absolutely nothing of my brother’s role there. He was 21; I was just a kid, a punk, not even in kindergarten.
I do remember the falls though. I can still hear the thunder of millions of gallons of water rushing over the edge of rock eons old. I can see the lights they turned on at night illuminating the falls in a rainbow of color.
Dad took my sister Pat on a trip under the falls; I was too little to go. The story of my life seemed to be being left behind with Mom while Pat, two and a half years my senior, did something cool with Dad. Pat was all excited about it, but never admitted until 20 years later that it had scared the wits out of her.
It became almost a quest during the 1980s and 1990s, for me, Pat and our other sister Judy to view every waterfall in northern Wisconsin and the UP. Even the tiniest trickle of water tumbling down stream was a fascination and a photo opportunity to be sure. Often the smaller waterfalls were the better ones, less people, often no people, just lots of peace and stillness, except for the sound of water.
Niagara Falls certainly was the biggest waterfalls I’ve ever seen, but would I go back there? With all the congestion and commercialism? I think I will take a ten foot waterfall in the woods in the middle of nowhere. But the passion of it all maybe began for me at that New York tourist trap.
(And in case you didn't realize it this is not a picture of Niagara Falls.)