The drive to Sidney, NY started at 6:30AM. I met my sister at the Mobil station with the Dunkin Donuts for obvious reasons. It had already started raining, but it wasn’t too bad out yet.
We made it Sidney by 11:15AM and before heading over to Toodies to meet with the cousins and second cousins for lunch, we took a quick spin around town. The
tenements apartments where my grandparents, Bess and Harold lived for so long had finally burned to the ground and only a vacant lot stood there now. Hale’s, the place we used to walk to get Harold’s paper and our comic books and penny candy is still there. You could still see lots of damage from the floods this past spring when the Susquehanna rose up over it’s banks.
We had a lovely lunch with Tom, Judy, Kristen (and her new baby Amelia Mae), Lauren, and Jared. Then we headed over to Saint Paul’s Episcopal Church were I had been more than a few times to Christmas Eve services. Tom reminded us of the time, my mom and his mom (Auntie Gladys) had had a few too many whiskey sours one Christmas Eve and they had left he and Judy at the church after the midnight services and driven home without them. They had made it half way up Main Street when apparently our Moms’ had figured out they were missing a few kids and circled back to get them.
The pictures they had chosen to memorialize my Uncle Frank were perfect, especially the one of him sitting with his long legs in a lawn chair, reading a book with one hand and idly petting Ozzie his chocolate Lab with the other. This is how I will always remember him. Uncle Frank was one of the kindest and finest gentle man I have ever known.
After the services we all had coffee and donuts and it soon became time for Cindy and I to head back home.
The drive home was horrible – torrential rains, big wind gusts. But it wasn’t the first time I had driven these horrible conditions through the Catskills and Berkshires. I had driven the same conditions once in a little Red VW bug and the rain had taken the paint right off the hood of the car as if it had been sand blasted. When we finally hit Springfield the sky was downright ominous. I had Cindy scanning the sky looking for funnel clouds, it looked that bad.
I think we checked in with DD at that point, who had stayed home, and she informed us that it was snowing at the house and the wind was very scary. Fortunately she never lost power.
By the time we got home I was totally exhausted and headed to bed, grateful for that extra hour as we go off Daylight Savings Time.