Wednesday, September 21, 2011

A weekend of friends, family, food and traffic

Me, Emily, Nancy and Tami at Tami's stepson's wedding.
After staying over in New York Friday night, I practically flew out to South Jersey to Tami's for a beautiful family wedding, spending precious time with my high school friends, their spouses and Tami's extended family.

Despite any worries about traffic, the coast was clear through the Lincoln Tunnel, and the approximately two-hour drive passed quickly.

We stayed over, and I spent some time the next morning at her house, reading the New York Times, talking to relatives I've known forever, drinking good coffee and eating delicious coffee cake.

On the way back to New York Sunday morning, I paid for my good luck on the way over, getting stuck on the New Jersey Turnpike for what seemed like half a day. I was reminded of the downsides of living in the New York area; I drop back in like I never left, even savoring the sounds of sirens, buses and breathing in the smell of the sun on baked pavement, but then I remember. The traffic.

When I finally got off the turnpike, I had to inch my way across town through snarled traffic. At one point when I was trying to get through a cross-walk so as to avoid gridlock, pedestrians insisted on walking in front of my car, even though I had the green light. When I tried to move ahead, slowly, of course, so I wouldn't hit anyone, they gave up and went around but started banging on the back of my car. Ah, New York.

I was so sick of the car that when I got into the neighborhood in the East 70s, I parked in the equivalent of East Podunck, on the wrong side of the street when it came to having to move it, or sit in it, in the morning for street cleaning from 9 to 10:30 a.m.

On Sunday, I went to a wonderful restaurant, Matisse, and sat outside for the New York version of  family dinner with Jeanne, Bruce, Aunt Marge and Bill and cousins Serena and Chaska. Chaska was in from California as part of the East Coast tour of her band, Raining Jane. We like to say our cousin is a rock star; she's beautiful inside and out and radiates what you'd just have to call a life force. (Serena is the same way except for not being in a rock band).

(Thanks, Bruce, for the New York photos.)
Serena, Chaska, Jeanne and me at dinner in New York.
They convinced us to go to SoHo, to the City Winery, after dinner to hear some music. All I knew was what Serena said, that it was some kind of folk music that I'd probably like. It turned out to be Tom Paxton, who provided part of the soundtrack for my high school years, and it was interesting to see him so many years later.

It ended up being a late evening, but the next morning I had to get up early and get to the car on time.  I got provisions – coffee, breakfast, newspaper and book – and sat in the car for the duration. I was slightly chagrined that the street cleaner never game, but on the day that you don't wait, that's the day the street cleaner comes and you get the dreaded bright orange ticket.

I had lunch with our close friend Harriet from the beach, then headed towards New England, stopping in Stamford, Conn. to hit a few with Ben, have dinner with him and Meghan...and sleep on their couch because it was too late to hit the road again.

The next morning, I left for home. At night, I dropped into bed and konked out.

Folk singer Tom Paxton and me.


donna said...


PJ said...

I try to stay out of Jersey whenever possible. We have to use the turnpike next week. I intend to sleep through it.

I do the parking thing a couple of times per week. It's my satellite office. It's such a silly New York game.

Ronni Gordon said...

PJ: It took so long I almost slept through it myself except for the problem of being the only driver.

Jim said...

You look great, Ronni. Glad you're having some fun.

Howard said...

Ronni, It had been a while since I visited and enjoyed catching up reading lots of entries. You look really beautiful. Great to see you doing great.

rbn said...

How small world - I am just an anonymous blog reader out in the void, but have loved the music of Raining Jane since I heard them six or seven years ago on one of their swings through the Pacific Northwest. We really are all connected, aren't we?

Nelle said...

The turnpike can be a nightmare going into NY or heading south to Philly. You never know and have to allow so much extra time. I love cities though. You look so great! I love the jacket you are wearing and I'm so glad you had such a wonderful weekend.