(Originally visited 18 March 2000)
Finding the grave was relatively straightforward. Directions provided by the visitors’ center were adequate though not quite precise enough. The desk clerk of a convenient motel had never heard of the cemetery but he had a detailed map as did the cemetery itself once I crossed that threshold.
I wrote this in a hotel room in downtown Syracuse, New York. Chester A. Arthur was not the destination of this journey, his grave was merely a way point. This weekend I took a self-declared holiday to celebrate the change of season, despite the fact that there was a new inch of snow on the ground. The vernal equinox and the full moon occurred within a few hours of each other that weekend and it was my good fortune to learn that my favorite opera was being performed in Syracuse that same day.
All this I planned out months before, a personality defect of iNTj‘s like myself. What I didn’t expect was to discover, as I entered the hotel lobby, that they were having a huge party to celebrate not spring, but St. Patrick’s Day and the NCAA basketball tournament.
Believe it or not, I did check before I ordered my ticket and made my reservation to see if the Carrier Dome was hosting any tournament games that weekend. They weren’t, though they would the following week. I figured there wouldn’t be any problem.
And for much of the population discovering an unexpected and free party in their hotel would not be a problem. For me, however, it was. Large, loud groups of happy people have always intimidated me, another defect of my iNTj personality.
None-the-less, writing this in a relatively quiet hotel room, listening to Puccini on my laptop’s inadequate speaker, anticipating hearing the same music in a matinee performance the following day, all factored into a wonderful contentment of my being. I was and am doing what I love to do.
Just a comment on Arthur’s grave: I remember visiting it during the summer of 1981 and thinking that it was the most disproportionately ostentatious Presidential grave I’d ever seen. That opinion stands. I think it’s the great verdigris statue that puts me off.