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As time passes and our life circumstances change (read “kids are growing up and will eventually move on”), Stephen and I sometimes now ask the question, “Do we want to stay here?”

We live in the Town of New Scotland, in the Voorheesville School District, waaaaay out in the country.  We often talk about the idea of having a condo unit in downtown Albany so we can walk to events and restaurants.  Oh!  Maybe we should get something like that in Saratoga!  The freedom of not having to drive everywhere sounds so appealing!

Appealing, but probably not ever in the cards.  Surprisingly, my born-and-raised urban-Albany spouse is more comfortable living where flannel is the fashion.  And he seems most happy when he is elbows deep into a construction project.  No smell of sawdust?  Unhappy dude.  Planning elaborate heating systems?  Happiness rules.

We have a lot attached to our house in New Scotland, and it has always been Stephen’s dream to build a house there.  Start fresh.  No mice.  Big basement.  We have pictured it, standing in the woods, how it will face, what trees need to come down, me, what the kitchen will look like.

The question becomes, “Do we stay?”

Reasons to stay include:  1) good neighbors and friends, 2) proximity to golf, 3) proximity to Falvo’s for the best meat ever , and 4) if you live – and die – in this area, you will get the best obituary ever written.

Yes, you have to live AND DIE here.  It may be worth it the long run, however.  (Hopefully a “very long” run).  The Altamont Enterprise (click here) provides the most detailed and humane obituaries I have ever read.  They are stories, including quotes from friends and families.  Sons reflect back on their dads’ lives, on memories of fishing together, or on stories the dads used to tell.  Surviving spouses tell how they met and fell in love.  Friends recount card games and other shared moments.  Pets are included too, named and given their rightful place as part of the surviving family.  The whole person is presented, celebrated and beautifully eulogized.  You read these obituaries and wish you had had the opportunity to meet the deceased.

The Altamont Enterprise has won numerous awards, but in my mind, what truly wins them accolades is the insight that their readers, those diverse and unique individuals of rural and suburban Albany County, deserve a painting with words upon death.

About Claire Ziamandanis

Claire Ziamandanis is Professor of Spanish at The College of Saint Rose in Albany, NY. Over her 20 years at the college, she has been a champion for study abroad, establishing the first affiliation for Spanish students, and then working with the Study Abroad office to open the doors to students from other majors. Claire loves travel, food, wine and Spanish but not necessarily in that order!

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