Saturday, October 14, 2006

Another Trip "Home". . .

I say home, because every time I make the trip, it is truly like I’m going home. While I love living, and working (especially *having work!!) here in North Carolina, I really do miss living in Upstate NY.

There’s a lot to miss, and I’ve certainly gone on, and on, about the aspects I miss here before. The fact remains though, that unless there’s a turn around in the economy, moving back is not in my immediate future.

I left for ‘home’ after work on a Thursday, the plan being to get as far as I could, find a Hotel/Motel for the night and drive the rest of the way in the morning. It was close to 11 though before I stopped, about 2 hours later than I’d planned. It seems the folks in DC had heard about my trip and arranged an early traffic snarl up just to make my drive interesting (and give me something to complain about).

Other than that though, the trip was pretty uneventful.

I arrived at Mom and Andy’s place right around noon, we spent a very nice afternoon sitting around, talking, catching up and, in general, just enjoying one another’s company.

As it was the week of Mom, and Andy’s birthday, as well as their anniversary… I’d told them dinner was on me, where ever they wanted to go, and to invite who ever they’d like to join us.

I’d been expecting that Kathy and her husband would join us, but hoping some of the other siblings might as well. As it turned out, we had a slight communication gap, and Mom thought I was coming in a day earlier, and as such we had a smaller dinner party than I’d expected. Just the five of us, but, regardless, we had a great time, great food, and even better conversation!

Here are the dinner guests....

Mom and Andy.....

My Sister Kathy and her husband Joe. . .

and of course me... with the guests of honor. . .

The next day, I headed over to North Bay to visit my buddy Whit. You may recall that Maryan and I made a trip up last summer to attend his daughter’s (my goddaughter’s) graduation party and stayed the week to visit with friends and relax a bit. Well Whit and I have stayed in touch over the past year or so, and while I didn’t have a lot of time, I took some to hang out with Whit, and his family.

On Saturday he and I hung out in the shop, I lent a hand where I could, but the truth is these guys don’t need much help, they’re pretty much on top of the ‘game’.

Here’s an updated shot of the shop (that was under construction last year) and some activities…

THe outside of the now completed shop. . .

Whit doing a little "bizness" on the phone. . .

and of course, a shot of the dog!!

Saturday night we went out to dinner at a great little Italian restaurant, Maryan will be forever sorry she wasn’t there for that meal… excellent food, and once again great company and conversation.

On Sunday, we had a leisurely start to the day, a nice (but hearty) breakfast, did a little maintenance on a family members car, and then Leslie and Jake headed out to the market for the day.

Whit and I took a ride around the area, checking out some of our old haunts, he was showing me things that have changed… what hasn’t changed (it’s nice to know some things haven’t!!) … and in the midst of all of that I got him to drive by my old house, and the lot Maryan and I sold a year or so ago….

Here’s the old North Bay homestead. . .

The new house going up on the lot we sold. . .

Sunday evening I made dinner. My adaptation of Justin Wilson’s Catfish Creole. Instead of Catfish we used Shrimp.

Whit and I went grocery shopping, grabbed a little of everything I remembered I’d need.

Of course I forgot a couple of items… and was having so much fun talking and laughing while I was cooking that I actually forgot to add a couple of ingredients… but in the end it was edible… and once again it was the company and the conversation that was the star of dinner anyway.

At some point Saturday or Sunday I’d used the phrase “Cowboy Up”… we got to talking about it and I mentioned it was one of my favorite phrases, and heard it in the movie “Tears of the Sun”… Whit hadn’t seen the movie, so while we were out, we rented it, and relaxed in front of the TV Sunday night.

All too soon it was Monday morning and I was loading up the car and hitting the road to go home….

I have only two regrets about the trip… I regret I didn’t have more time, and that I didn’t do it sooner.

One way or another, I’ll be making more trips in the months to come. I know for sure I need at least a week to do, and visit with, everything and everyone, I’d like to.

Mom, Andy, Kathy and Joe... Thanks for having dinner with me, it's been too long between visits!!

Whit, Leslie and Jake… thanks for having me up, and for your wonderful hospitality!!

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