Holy cow! I thought I’d died and gone to Burma during the monsoons! I am so very gad we were on top of Pocono Mountain (not to be confused with the town of Mt. Pocono) and not down in the valleys. Although, from what I could see, the white water rafting businesses were booming! Who cares about rain if you’re planning on getting wet anyhow?
All in all, the reunion went very well. We drove down in rain, finally broke into the clear (relatively) someplace on I-80, arrived in Jim Thorpe and found our motel with no problems. Got checked in and headed over to Cindy’s Uncle’s place – which was designated as this years ‘scene of the crime’.
We no sooner pulled in the driveway than the skies opened up (again) and drenched two couples that were in the process of setting up their tents in Fred’s very, very wooded back yard. After that burst, skies cleared, the sun came out and the humidity peaked out at around 126%. Friday night was the usual welcoming brain fry as folks were arriving from all over the east coast. Lets see, we had representatives from NY (us), PA (the hosts and their eldest daughter and HER clan), NJ (3 families), MA (one), NH (one), DE (one), OH (one). There are relatives in CT that couldn’t make it and I don’t think the family has branched out into Maryland or Vermont yet. There’s a whole new generation coming on line, so who knows?
Saturday was easily the best day there. Gorgeous weather, plenty to do, folks were settled in and in a partying mode. Saturday evening the rains started and just wouldn’t stop. Sunday there was a surprise (mostly) birthday party for Freddy (#60 for the new family patriarch) that included gobs of family from his wife’s side that aren’t included in the reunion. There was a small break in the monsoon that lured a bunch (4) of us into playing this game called “Man Ball”. This is one cousins invention, a method of getting an insanely good workout while being involved in a very competitive game. The gist of it is that we heave a 10 pound workout ball over a standard volleyball net. Yes, you’re allowed to catch the ball. Believe me, trying to hit it like a volley ball will only break something – and the ball can’t break. The idea is to catch and release the ball all in one smooth, connected motion. Cuzzin Alli has a video that I will try to get hold of. In it, cuzzin Paul (The commish of the International Man Ball Federation ) & myself (the most distant relative) are going up against Cuzzins Mike & Corey. Mike, Paul & Corey are all brothers in law, having each married one of Fred’s absolutely delightful girls. 2 on 2, on a regular volleyball court, heaving a 10b projectile at each other. Definitely a man’s (i.e. dumb ass) game.
ANYHOW!! We got well into the second game, tied at 7’s and the skies opened up yet again. It’s bad enough heaving that damn ball back & forth, having to wipe it off every time it touched the sand. One CAN NOT catch a sandy ball. We tried. Ergo the invention of the ‘Ball Sack’, used for de-sanding the ball. Really, it’s not as bad as it sounds. So sand we could handle. But rain coming down at about an inch an hour? Standing/running water in the court? Nah. We bailed. Not very manly, but our options were limited.
We closed up shop at the party site and hauled the celebration back to Fred’s place where the debauchery continued till beyond 10pm – on a school nite. At least we were spending the nite again and didn’t have to make the 5 hour trek home till the net morning. We’re crazy, yes, but not stoopid.
Only real bummer of the weekend was Monday morning. We had the opportunity to sleep in, ,but everyone else at the motel was hot to trot to get to the track for the race – including Mr. Harley who had thoughtfully parked on the lawn right in front of our room. He left for the track at 6:55am. This I know for sure. Tried to laze around in bed, but the spell was broken. After that it was just shower load up & drive. Uneventful trip home, noticed another new wind farm somewhere south of Dansville NY. Not a huge one, definitely fewer than 100 turbines, but most of them were up & running. That’s always encouraging to me – maybe this stuff will catch on!
Really don’t have much of anything else. Mild case of brain fry I guess.
Oh! Our list for Nawlins is fleshing out nicely. Café Dumond for coffee & beignets, Central Market for a muffaletta, Someplace else for a Banana’s Foster (Cindy only, I can’t stand nanas), another place for a Wooly Hurricane (? – sounds analogous to a Long Island Ice Tea – a little bit of everything that ends up tasting ok), we broke down and got reservations for lunch at Nola’s (one of Emeril Lagasse’s places), plan to do dinner at House of Gumbo and Bubba Gumps. To offset all that food intake, we plan to take advantage of many of the walking tours available and may even make up some of our own.
Aside from eating at Nola’s, we’d really like to get a taste of the local cuisine. I guess we all now New Orleans is famous for many things, especially it’s food. So if there are any more “gotta have it” kinda places, speak up – especially if it’s something that isn’t a regular tourist trap kinda joint. You know – someplace where the locals might eat.
Time to run . . .