Alright, I admit it - it wasn't a bad trip. It was actually a really great trip, and being somewhere else had the effect of removing a ton of bricks from my chest, even if only temporarily. Here in the Cackalackies summer is still hanging on with a sticky vengeance, but Autumn was in full swing as we headed up through West Virginia and Pennsylvania to Western New York, and the shore of Lake Erie. The maples and the sumac were incredible shades of coral, scarlet, crimson and russet, especially in upper PA and NY. (None of which, of course, are in this picture, but it's still a good shot of what Western NY looks like)We filled the back of the pickup with apples and cider, kielbasa and pepperoni, horseradish mustard and rye bread, peanut sticks and hard white cheddar; a cornucopia of all the things that mean home to us. We bought our apples at The Red Barrel, out in North Boston. We went to Schwabel's in West Seneca, to have Beef on Kimmelweck and German potato salad, because they've been serving it since 1837 and I think they're still the best. This is their cash register:We went and visited with my aunt, who is now at 65 pounds, but hanging on - she had more energy than I'd seen in her since she had the operation, over 4 years ago, and while one good virus could still carry her off, it gave us hope that maybe, somehow, she might just be able to get better.
I was worried that going with my dad to see his sister, and his friend who is in frail health as well, might tip him (and me!) over the edge into Dark and Twisty-ville - it has to be tough to see your peers passing, one by one - but he surprised me with his resilience. We talked about everything under the sun on the drive up and back, sometimes getting so engrossed that we missed our exits! It was a bonding experience for us both, I think, which can only be good. I think it helped that we went to Oil City and had dinner at the Yellow Dog Lantern, because the ladies who work there love to flirt with my dad, and he loves to give it back in kind. They sat down in the booth with us and told him if he weren't married he would be going home with one of them, couldn't believe he was 77, thought he must be only in his early 60s, and you know he loved that!The drive up to New York from Oil City was eventful - Route 8 ended abruptly above Union City (we were talking and missed the detour signs) so we took a dirt road or two and somehow ended up in New York, near Findley Lake. The Ace Hardware store was in Union City - I love the old bike and the ad for tux rentals in the windows!I missed the guys while I was away, but the rest of the shite, as posted before, yeah, not so much. I know I can't control how other people behave (as much as I might like to, as much as they might be begging to be disciplined), so my task now is to try and forget, or at least to ignore the flingers of bullshit - it's their problem not mine. Now I have to repeat that about a hundred times whilst looking severely at myself in the mirror - it's not my mess, I'm not going to clean it up!
Thanks to you all, who came and left a little moral support!
Picture below: the tribal lands where my mother swears they touch her cheek and ask, "What tribe are you?" Yeah, sure they do!