Day 590: La Dolce Rita

From Bristol, Connecticut, the Mind’s Eye Group went south to Sleeping Giant State Park. The “sleeping giant,” also known as Mount Carmel, is a narrow ridge—700 feet high and approximately three miles long—that is mostly contained within the park. Those with an anthropomorphic bent have identified formations that resemble various features of the human figure. Though Laetitia wasn’t especially interested in comparing rocks to body parts, it was a great place to hike with a variety of scenery and wildlife.

New Haven, their destination, is the second-largest city in Connecticut. It’s a port city on Long Island Sound and the home of Yale University. After checking into their lodging, the group went to several local museums: the Yale University Collection of Musical Instruments, the Yale Center for British Art, and the Yale University Art Gallery. Afterward, they walked through New Haven Green, a 16-acre area of parkland that reflected the wisdom of the city’s founders, who planned its development rather than just letting it happen. They had a group picture taken at the New Haven Green Fountain.

After dropping her guests off at their hotel with a designated time for meeting in the lobby, Laetitia found a bar near the Yale Campus for a pre-dinner libation. She sipped a glass of New Zealand Marlboro sauvignon blanc and listened to a group of Yale cinematography students talking about La Dolce Vita, Fellini’s comedy/drama that rocked the art film world in the 1960s. They were discussing Anita Ekberg’s famous scene at the Trevi Fountain in Rome and how often it’s been imitated. Their conversation moved on to Under the Tuscan Sun, a film with the same title as Frances Mayes’ book, but with little other resemblance. They spoke with amusement about the gratuitous additions to the film, including the Fellini Fountain scene, a pregnant lesbian, and an Italian lover for the Frances Mayes character.

Just as it was getting to be time for Laetitia to finish her drink and join her group, the students’ conversation provided the limerick of the day. The gossip was about Clare and Rita, two businesswomen who had had a bit to drink at a convention party in town and decided to do a reenactment of Ekberg’s scene at the New Haven Green Fountain. They didn’t want to ruin their dresses, so they took them off.

‘Tis said that a lady named Clare
One night on a New Haven square
Played La Dolce Vita
With her good friend, Rita
As they romped in a fountain, quite bare.

Day 589: Bristol Pistol

It isn’t far from Waterbury to Bristol, Connecticut, so Laetitia and her group visited Mattatuck State Forest on the way. Their woodland hike took them past the Whitestone Cliffs, where they stopped to watch rock climbers.

In Bristol, Laetitia took her group to the New England Carousel Museum and the Witch’s Dungeon Classic Movie Museum, the latter featuring figurines of Frankenstein’s Monster, Count Dracula, The Creature from the Black Lagoon, and others.

During happy hour, Laetitia was within earshot of more than one interesting conversation. At one table, a group of local citizens was hotly debating the virtues and vices of the Blight Committee and its more euphemistic sounding successor, the Code Enforcement Committee. The discussion swirled around whether or not the committees exceeded their authority. At another table, a wife was complaining to her female friends that the presents her husband bought for her were always things he wanted himself and telling them how she got even. Her story became the limerick of the day.

When a callow young fellow from Bristol
Gave his wife for her birthday a pistol
She told him, “How nice,”
And then, in a trice,
Exchanged it for Waterford crystal.

Day 588: Hurry in Waterbury

Laetitia and her group headed south down the Hudson River valley and then east across the state line into Connecticut. Their first stop was at the Roxbury Mine Hill Preserve and Furnace. The nineteenth century quarry, mine, and blast furnace once supplied building materials for the Brooklyn Bridge and Grand Central Station in New York. After viewing the abandoned mine shafts, quarries, and equipment, the group took advantage of the preserve’s four-mile loop trail.

Waterbury, the Mind’s Eye group’s evening destination, was once known as “Brass City” because of its pre-eminence as a manufacturer of brass products during the first half of the twentieth century. The city was also heavily involved in watchmaking. The Timex Group began life as the Waterbury Clock Company. On arrival, the Mind’s Eye tour visited the Timexpo Museum.

The happy hour gossip when Laetitia went for her usual late afternoon libation was about a local lad who didn’t view patience as a heavenly virtue.

An eager lad from Waterbury
Was addicted to sex in a flurry
And the time from slam, bam
Until “Thank you, Ma’am,”
Was just seconds, for he liked to hurry.