When taking group pictures there is invariably one in the group who is not posing sweetly. To them I say, go ahead and make my day. The four of us, Anne, Dan, Dave and I took Puck to the dog park, giving Maren a wee bit of a break. Years ago, on this holiday weekend, we were passed on the highway by an aging Volvo station wagon that had white shoe polish sign, painted on its back window with the message, “4 days with the FAM, Send Booze!” We have often wondered since, if that message was ever erased upon arrival, but I expect not. Not that that’s the situation here.
Anyway, at the dog park, it was all Puck, all of the time. The weather is nice today, sunny and warmish (50 °F). So, the dog park was chock-a-block full of other dogs, with their people. Puck was pretty much consumed with chasing balls and sniffing butts, dog heaven. We took a break from the dog portion of the park and walked a trail around a reservoir. Its water level was very low. The water had dropped enough to expose the remains of old stone walls, from ancient Pilgrim farms. Once our walk was done, we rejoined the furry fray and Puck got some running. Sometimes she was chasing other dogs and other times she was the one being chased. Puck is napping, mission accomplished!
In-between these little forays outside, most of our time is spent huddling around the full screen hearth/TV. FIFA’s World Cup soccer is playing from when we arise, until the mid-afternoon, when I guess it gets too late in Qatar, over on the other side of the world. The football highlight of this holiday weekend was yesterday’s 0-0 draw between England and the US. The hype for this game was already in overdrive and quickly accelerated to hyperdrive, before the first foot touched a ball. These two teams have only faced each other three times in World Cup play. There was yesterday’s draw and in their next previous meet that game was also a draw. They first met in 1950, when the upstart US team actually beat the heavily favored England. Saint Louis had a role in that win, because a sizable portion of the US team were of Italian descent and came from the Hill, the Saint Louis Italian neighborhood.
Thanksgiving was a day of feasting here in Malden, MA. Beginning with a slew of different cheeses and crackers, the menu included, a roasted chicken sitting on a bed of schmaltzy cabbage, with Peruvian green sauce on the side, sliced potatoes and leeks au gratin (I helped), Mac & Cheese, Dan’s Brussel Sprouts, Anne’s pomegranate salad and a silky-smooth pumpkin pie. There was so much food that we didn’t even get to the pie until today. Needless to say, there are plenty of leftovers. After yesterday’s frenetic activity in the kitchen, I’m not sure that we will get out much, except to walk Puck. Everyone is in the living room watching World Cup soccer. I’ve included the above movie version of our walk beneath the New River Gorge Bridge.
Yesterday, Dan, Anne and I drove from NYC to Boston. There was lots of holiday traffic on the road. All of the thruway rest stop parking lots were full. Dan took the lead and anchor elements of this journey, and I had the easy middle half. Still, there was lots of stop and go traffic. We made a detour to Fall River, my mother’s ancestral homestead. It was already dusk there when we arrived, and we still had a way yet to go before reaching Maren and Dave for the night. So, we only stopped for a little bit, to snap a few pics and pay our respects. Except for the closed-in front porch that I don’t think is an improvement, the place looked pretty good, better than I remember it. The closing of the front seems to have been a fad, because most of the other houses were similarly fitted. On the way out of town, we passed Robinson Supply (bath), another family name, but probably no relation. Diving through Boston, via the Big Dig, we made good time and arrived in Malden well in time for dinner. In our guest room we found the pictured plaque-map that commemorates Dave and Maren’s first date. Urban Axe was the name of the bar where they first met. It featured games of axe throwing, set in an urban environment. Just coming from Fall River though, it seemed like another family connection.
Leaving NYC this morning, with Dan at the wheel. We’ve spent two nights in Brooklyn, but spent most of our waking hours in Queens. On our arrival night in the city we visited Allen and Ashlan in their home in Long Island City, which is part of Queens. Anne got to see their apartment’s view of the 59th St. Bridge, the inspiration for one of her current quilts. More importantly though we all got to see Elijah, the superstar rockstar of NYC. The next day we were back in Queens. This time we walked to the 59th St. Bridge. We crossed it halfway before all of the speeding bike traffic became too much. We ended up taking a ferry first to Manhattan and then back to Brooklyn and Dan and Britt’s apartment, with its five floor walk up. Last night, we were in Queens again, this time for dinner at Britt’s parents house. Britt’s sister and the family’s dogs also welcomed us. We enjoyed a lovely Italian dinner and the great company too. This morning, we were once again in Queens, with Dan at the wheel, leaving NYC for Boston.