Sunday, May 16, 2010 Dio, Apples and Cortland,NY.

Ronnie James Dio is dead at 67. For those of you who don’t know, 67 is too young.

Sometimes in life, it takes too long for us to realize something. And once we learn what exactly it is that we didn’t know we’re upset with ourselves for not knowing for so long. And sometimes we realize we knew it, we just weren’t paying attention. And that’s somehow worse.

I’ve been going to the Farmers Market for almost 10 years. It took a summer or two for me to figure out the one I was walking to in downtown Stamford wasn’t really a farmers market, not a one of them was a farmer. They sold vegetables, for sure. But I got suspicious when I saw a pile of boxes with DOLE on the side. I quickly jumped ship and started shopping at the Darien Farmers Market.

I am a groupie. A Farmers Market groupie.

I rarely miss one, from May to December, from new potatoes to pumpkins. Rain, shine, hot, cold – I remember one farmer had a fire in the back of his truck. He was making soup. And he was staying warm.

I was a good number of years into this groupie life when I finally heard the term “seasonal eating.” And I guess, in a way, that’s what I had been doing, I just didn’t realize it. It opened a door in my brain and I really started paying attention.

About halfway through the season the cool chick who sells fruit will have a variety of apples on display. Shiny pyramids of crispy juiciness rising out of square baskets lined in white plastic bags. Cool chick moves so fast, ripping out the bag, taking your money, giving you change, whipping out another bag, relining the basket and filling it with another set of shiny apples.

Cortland apples, brings me back to Ronnie James Dio, from Cortland, NY.

Circular. Like an apple.

I’ve been to Cortland. Twice. Both times to see a musical! For some reason, even though I have a degree in Theatre, I hate to go. I honestly only go once a year, in the summer, to see whatever it is that my friend Bert Bernardi directed. I know it’ll be great, I’m not wasting my time, I’m not disappointed, I get out of Stamford for a while - what more can a Headbanging Hostess ask for?

Anyway. The first time I went it was opening night. It also happened to be the day of the farmers market! So I took off driving the county roads, armed with my mapquest directions, searching for a real-life farm stand.

I found one. It had 5 tomatoes on it, a few potatoes and an “Honesty Box.”

Come again?

They used the honor system. They trusted the honor system…to a degree. The signs that alerted me to the fact that “God is watching” made me think they’d been burned once or twice. Maybe that’s why they only put out 5 tomatoes.

The second time I went, while eating breakfast at a diner, I experienced what I can only call a “taste discovery.” Not being able to eat eggs makes breakfast out a sucky meal. Sometimes you can get oatmeal or cereal or a bagel. This time I got bacon and hash browns. Hot sauce on the hash browns, maple syrup on the bacon, BANG! They touched each other on the plate, I ate it and the rest is history. Sweet and spicy – words to live by.

And it was only AFTER these two visits that I learned Mr. Ronnie James Dio was from Cortland and that there was a street named for him. Dio Way.

Life is short. Don’t regret not knowing. Pay attention.

We Rock!



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