I did had some interesting political discussions with my father in-law John Lefever. I will discuss these in succeeding posts.
This was the third time I've landed at Newark airport and I still have the darndest time finding the freaking Garden State Parkway. This time, we drove 20 min in the dead of a cold night (it was around 2am EST) convinced we were on the right road, which, of course we weren't. Finally we sorted it out. Man, I hate driving in New Jersey. Every ten minutes, you've got to stop and pay $.35 toll. The travel guide tells us that this is a "convenience" to break up the monotony on the road. Yeah, sure! New York is much better, you only pay the toll when it's time to leave the thruway.
We finally arrived at my mother in-law's house in West Hurley at 4 am. Friday the 23'rd of December. We went to the Kingston mall and did all our Christmas shopping that day. We spent Christmas eve at the home of my brother in-law Dan and his wife Diane. Gifts were exchanged and we played a rousing game of Trivial Pursuit - Pop Culture Edition where we all proved how unhip we are because nobody did very well. There were way too many references to Jessica Simpson, Justin Timberlake, and reality TV - subjects I'm barely aware of.
Christmas day was spent in recovery and the evening was spent at a party of one of my mother in-law's many friends. My mother in-law, Edith Lefever is head of the Performing Arts of Woodstock (PAW) community theater group and is practically a celebrity of the Woodstock community.
Monday, the 26th, we got up early and drove 150 miles to Utica, home of my relatives. We spent the day with my Uncle and Aunt Vito and Mary Ernest. I met cousins of mine, Paul, Elizabeth, and Diane, whom I had not seen since 1972 (I was 9 then). My cousin Nick was also there. I had seen him as recently as 1979. My uncle gave us a tour of Utica. I don't think the entire town has a building newer than thirty years old. It is very run down and there is no development anywhere, it seemed. What a contrast to California and the rest of the west! We had a good dousing of snow that day. It came down hard all afternoon while Michelle and I had hot cocoa and looked at photo albums of my aunt and my mother when they were in their twenties and thirties. My Uncle Dick and Aunt Doris came and we were treated to a real italian dinner with home-made pasta, just like my mother used to make. I actually had to scrape snow off our rental vehicle that night before we drove to our hotel.
Tuesday, we drove back to West Hurley, rested, and went to see Syriana (my mother in-law's choice). Syriana is one of the most convoluted, confusing, pointless, and worst movies I have ever had the displeasure of watching. I had thought the cinematic low point of 2005 was Hitchiker's Guide to the Galaxy but I stand corrected.
Wednesday, we went to Julanne Sapronetti's house in Sturbridge Mass. It was another 150 mile drive. Julanne was Michelle's maid of honor at our wedding and was Michelle's college roommate a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away. She married a fellow named Jan since our wedding so we got to meet him.
Thursday, it rained and rained and rained. It was a messy drive back to West Hurley. Much of the snow was gone by then. We had one more hurrah with Dan, Diane, John, and Edith before our trip back home.
A great trip for both of us. Too bad it had to end. Happy New Year everybody and Go Trojans!