Last Friday, 1 FEB 08, the wife and I packed up and took a trip to Smithtown, Long Island, to celebrate my mom's 80th berfday. My sister Caren drove up from MD also.
I have been making this trip since August of 1967. And this was the worst one. We left Syracuse in freezing rain and sleet. And it stayed that way for almost 200 miles. I came very close to turning around at Binghamton and heading back home. The weather slowed us down so much that I hit NYC right at peak traffic. A trip that normally involves five hours of driving took over eight.
But it was worth it. My mom looks great, hardly a wrinkle on her. My sister is aging gracefully too. She'll be 60 this year. Eight days less than a year separates us. As kids I always got on her case because for eight days we were the same age. I don't do that any more.
WHile my mom was getting ready to go out for dinner with us, my sister casually dropped a small bomb on me. My brother-in-law (ex-brother-in-law since my sister died four years ago) was going to dinner with us. And he was bringing his girl friend.
I didn't know what to think so I said nothing. I wasn't offended. My sister Jean is gone and there is nothing that will change that. I had wondered about her husband and what he would do. I assumed that sooner or later he may want to start dating; it was none of my business.
We drove to a spot on Jericho Turnpike, an Italian jpoint named Mariscio's. My brother-in-law was already there; he was alone. We chatted for about ten minutes waiting for his date to arrive and when she did I was floored.
I was afraid to say anything to my wife or my mother - but from the very first time Carol walked up to us she reminded me of my sister. She was small, pretty, and had long straight hair just like Jean. And her mannerisms were like her also. She is a very nice lady and has a very pleasant way about her. And for such a little thing she eats like a house on fire.
We had a truly great dinner. There were waiters all over the place. We had the best service I ever experienced at a restaurant. None of the waiters spoke English as a primary language and when one of them asked me want I wanted I started to say, "Let's see a Green Card please." But I didn't.
After dinner we went back to Mom's house and my wife, Mom and Caren said the exact same thing. Carol reminded them of Jean. In a way that is a fitting commentary to my sister.
We all had a nice breakfast the next morning at a Greek diner and were on the road by noon. It took only four hours and fifty minutes of driving to get home.