My wonderful neighbor, Jeannie, left work at lunch time to take me to the airport….twice.  The first time was the wrong day the second time I was out waiting for her.  I arrived on time, flew through security after checking my bag with American Airlines AND paying ransom for my suitcase.  We arrived in Chicago 10 MINUTES BEFORE MY CONNECTION SHUT THE GATE….WHICH WAS ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE AIRPORT….I RAN UNTIL MY LEGS CRAMPED THEN LIMPED THE REST OF THE WAY TO BE LAST IN LINE …BUT I MADE IT.   NEVER FLY AMERICAN!  

     Helen was at the Cell phone lot when I called and picked me right up.  Thoughtful Helen had some Pasta with fresh tomatoes and garlic waiting to warm up with some nice wine before bed.  We caught up on things since last we saw each other in Oaxaca .  I spent the summer in the UK and Holland while she took a few weeks with her granddaughter Sonia and visited Paris.

     We spent the next day at Highland Park after our ritual breakfast at Jine’s Restaurant on Park Ave where I have patronized since the early 60’s.  Breakfast was better than ever.  Highland Park had added a Vietnam Memorial that honored all Vets but those from the Rochester area name by name.  It also had a history of that period in our lives and paid tribute to all Vets.  Later we visited a Castle there but it was closed so we walked around back to the gardens and then to the Highland Bowl where occasional concerts are performed.  It was a beautiful day.
      We ended it with dinner at the Park Avenue Pub (Park Ave Grill that I also patronized in the 60’s before it burned down).  It still served outstanding food with a nice Happy Hour with the local Park Avenue crowd of regulars.  Helen introduced me to Lois one of the neighbors and we later had a fabulous meal that we ended up taking home for lunch the next day.  Helen drove me to the Airport where I had arranged a car rental and we bid goodbye until after my reunion when I would return to spend the last couple nights in Rochester.
We discussed the possibility of me renting a summer apartment in the area for next year.  I could drive up and visit my friends and family while enjoying the summer in NY.
     I checked into the Red Roof Inn at Batavia and had Roast Beef on Wick at Alexis Restaurant near by.  I visited the Holland Land Company Museum first.

       The next day I was off to meet my Granddaughter Rose and celebrate her birthday.  She is my oldest Grandchild.  We were to meet at Sophie’s Restaurant, a real Landmark in the same area my daughter lives in Buffalo, but they were just closing to install some new kitchen equipment so we met down the road at the Kenmore Village Restaurant…another 5 star Breakfast and Lunch independently owned and operated place with exceptional food.  Her Son Zander joined us. He is 5 or 6. We had a nice time.

     I returned to Batavia for a short rest then drove back to Jennifer’s house to have dinner at Fat Bob’s BBQ with my daughter.  We also had a nice visit and enjoyed the food though I couldn’t eat it all.  Drank the Community Microbrewery Ale that was great.  Switching to Micro Brews with Malt barley, yeast, hops and water ONLY.  I dropped her back off and we planned Saturday afternoon at the Knox-Albright Art Gallery in Buffalo.  

    Saturday I picked her up and we spent the afternoon enjoying Picasso, Cezanne, Warhol , Van Gogh, Magritte, Dali, etc…very nice small but established Gallery. 

I joined my granddaughter Taja and her 3 daughters after I returned Jennifer to her home.  We had a nice dinner at Texas Longhorn…again I couldn’t eat it all.  Her new child Melie was all smiles and her other daughters were not as shy as I remember and carried themselves well in conversation with politeness and class.  Taja seemed more relaxed with all the responsibility of a single mother and doing well at her job.

     Sunday Jennifer picked up her daughter Alexis and her boys to meet at my hotel.  We drove over to the Paradise Water Park at Quality Inn just down the street for an afternoon of water slides, arcade games and fun before finishing it at the Pizza Parlor then Oliver’s for Ice Cream.  Gavin, the oldest, asked where his Grandmother’s mother was.  I explained we divorced after I returned from Vietnam, I took custody of my daughters then moved to Boston where I remarried and had another child, your Aunt Heather.  My first wife took up with another man, had more children and moved to Alabama where she died of cancer.  Well where is you wife?  Oh, we moved to Arizona and after 15 years we divorced when she fell in love with my friend and left me.  I explained that love effects people in different ways and isn’t always meant to be forever.  He looked at me and said: “Yes, Love is very Mysterious!” 

      That was an understatement.   It was a great weekend with my family and felt good.
       I checked out of the Red Roof Inn and headed for my Cousin Helen’s home in Coxsackie, N.Y. about 270 miles away, to spend a few days with my other Cousin Barbara, Helen’s husband David and Helen’s granddaughter Jenny that lives in an apartment in their home.
Helen had a nice dinner all waiting for me with BBQ Chicken, potato salad, Baked beans, and Orange/Pineapple Ice Cream.  I drank a few Vodka mixed drinks before bed and woke with Gout in the middle of the night. Fortunately the pain subsided and I vowed to take Vodka off my diet. 

      The next day we spent catching up on the past year and scoring a Cannabis Vape for the rest of my trip. David and I went into town that evening and returned with some Pizza for dinner while we watched America’s Got Talent…last episode with the finale tryouts. 
      Barbara came by early Wednesday for our trip to North Adams Mass to see Mass MOCA, a large textile factory converted to a huge gallery with assorted exhibits from Light Shows, to Black and White Photo exhibit, Modern Art, Contemporary, and some really weird things but I liked the architecture of a stripped down factory converted into all these different venues…they even had a Micro Brewery!  

       Barbara had made reservations at Max’s in Greenville NY, one of my favorite restaurants.  We freshened up after driving back and were off for dinner. I had the Sole with Shrimp in Lemon Wine sauce, Chocolate Mousse and Calvadoros Brandy. The surprise was when the deserts arrived with candles on David’s and mine while everyone sang Happy Birthday.  I slept well that last night.


       The next morning David had made a coffee run to Dunkin Donuts and brought me Coffee with an Old Fashioned Doughnut.  I drove to the Attica Hotel

that day then to Louie’s Bar for Happy Hour with Beaver, Louie and Bev showed up.  They recommended a new Restaurant that served Polish/Italian Food. 
         I tried it out with “Italian Wedding Soup” , a couple Potato Pancakes, Pasta with Marinara and added a side of fresh Vegetables to that with a glass of wine. I returned to try my new Vape…after 3 hits I was asleep.

         FryDay our Class got together outside of Attica at the Bennington Lanes for our Fish Fry Dinner and gathering for the first time in 5 years.  Sally Drew and Rosie Baggs showed up but hadn’t been to any reunions so after 55 years I had to ask, “Who are you”.  Most of the crowd arrived and we had a Pollack Fry instead of Cod or Haddock…but a great salad bar to go with it.  It was a fun relaxing evening.

       Saturday I washed the family gravestones and stopped at the Attica Prison Preservation Society to tour the Museum. 

Bob Emmons, and his wife Harriet met me at Bryncliff Resort early for our private reunion…we cooked together after we were drafted into the Army in 1966 and was with an engineering outfit in Ft Stewart Georgia before taking a boat to Vietnam where we were assigned to Bien Hoa airbase until I got transferred to MACV Saigon to work for General Abrams the Deputy Commander of Vietnam at the time.  We have remained friends for over 50 years.  

      The Class of 63 started showing up around 6 pm so we went into our private dining room where drinks were served and the Reunion was starting.  There was about 50 people and it was great to see them all.  Bob and Harriet live in Cuba N.Y. so knew of some friends of my classmates and got along great with everyone.  The dinner was excellent and we ended the night around 9:30 and bid goodbye until the next reunion in 2 years during the Attica Rodeo the first of August in Attica.

     It was a rewarding two week trip and I hope to rent a place next summer and drive up to really travel around the area I grew up and visit friends and family.

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