I’m not sure what is stranger about this novel set in Skaneateles: Is it that men can get pregnant, or that Skaneateles has a great little Indian restaurant? We do learn that Austin Baines, owner of Skaneateles Vine & Rind, smells like sun-warmed grapes on a hot summer’s day, that Skaneateles school teachers duck into his wine store on their way home, and that “Greek wines weren’t a big seller in Skaneateles,” but only further reading – which I do not plan to undertake at this time – will tell if more startling revelations about life in the village remain.
Krebs postcards are beyond common, but I couldn’t resist this one, a “Velva-Tone” postcard from Santway Photo-Craft in Watertown, N.Y. They were in business from 1917-1941, and primarily published cards that depicted scenic views in New York and Vermont.
Moravia is not Skaneateles, you might tell me, and you’d be right in some ways, but the Colonial Lodge is in Bear Swamp, and that’s on Skaneateles Lake, and that’s close enough for me. The walls of the Lodge are full of stories, and the one that first caught my eye was a photo of a hunter standing by a very large pig, a trophy pig to be sure, nothing Charlotte’s Webby about it. I was told the wild pig was shot near Locke, on State land.
After the fact, one man whined that the pig had been his pet, but that was never the case. The would-be pet owner had tried to buy the pig from some Mennonites who’d used it for breeding. The pig had grown too big, so the owners were willing to part with it, but when it came time to make the exchange, the pig proved impossible to catch and vanished into the woods.
For the next two years, the pig was his own man, a feral fugitive. Given his size, he prompted 911 calls whenever he got too close to civilization, picked up some bird shot when he got into gardens, and was the secret object of desire for at least two local hunt clubs. But for one so large, he was stealthy.
Until that fateful day in the woods when Russ ended the pig’s rambling with one shot and brought him out, not to the scales of justice, but to the scale of Doug’s Custom Meats in Scott, where he rang up at 700 pounds. “He ate good,” noted Russ.
A gleaning from eBay, early photos of Fred and Cora Krebs
Over the doorway of a pub in Doolin, County Clare, Ireland; thanks to Mary Beth Blackmon.
George P. Lawrence was a Skaneateles merchant circa 1900-1910; this trade card, in the shape of a coffee cup, folded open to reveal ads for coffee and tea.
My thanks to the Skaneateles Historical Society, and to Catharine Barnes for saving this item for our future enjoyment.