A traveling weekend -- 07/23/07

We put in a few miles of traveling this weekend, together and separately.

On Friday Nancy and I drove over to the northern Westchester County area of New York to visit Nancy's sister Clara and her family.

On Saturday Nancy and Clara and Clara's oldest grandchild (10 years old) hopped into Clara's car and headed down to Virginia to return her to her parents and siblings after having spent four weeks with Grandma. Clara's younger daughter and a niece from here in Rhode Island are flying down this week. They'll return home with Clara next Sunday while Nancy is catching a train Thursday night and will be home on Friday morning.

As they headed south, I got on the Taconic Parkway northbound, got off near the town of Red Hook, and crossed the Hudson on the Kingston-Rhinecliff Bridge to visit my brother and his family.

We hung out and talked and took Zoe, their pet pile of fur out for a walk... although, given the effect of a sunny summer afternoon supply of heat and humidity on a creature who is wearing a fur coat, part of the walk ended up being a carry.

In the evening we had a family dinner gathering at a restaurant -- Enzo's Ristorante (for those of you in the mid-Hudson Valley area, it's next to where IBM used to be -- yeah, I give directions like a Rhode Islander) which, as you probably guessed, serves primarily Italian cuisine.
Am I shrinking, or is my little brother getting taller?
Our cousin Carol and her husband Oscar (we celebrated his 85th birthday at a surprise party back in 2005) were there, along with Charlie and Donna's daughter Melissa and her husband Rob, and Donna's sister Dolores. Charlie & Donna's son Chad was also there.

Chad was still tired from Friday's USA Cycling Mountain Bike National Championships at Mount Snow, Vermont, where he took second place in Expert Men 30 to 39. Number two in the entire country. Nice job. (The day had involved countless one-on-one downhill racing heats on a bumpy slalom course... over and over... to the point of pain and exhaustion.
So.. a toast!

Charlie is actually toasting with a mug of coffee -- he lives on coffee and he doesn't drink alcohol -- thus I am forced to lift a glass of beer. Yes, that is coffee that Carol is holding... but that is also her empty wine glass in front of her.
And here we all are (except for Dolores who is taking the picture). Charlie, Chad, Oscar, Carol, Melissa, Rob, Donna, me... and Nancy. "Where's Nancy?" you say... why right there in my hands on my cell phone. She phoned from Virginia to say they had just arrived safely and I said "Wait a second, smile, you are about to get your picture taken." (Yes, I know, it's not easy being married to me.)
And, finally, a picture of Lake Katrine. I grew up in Kingston, NY. Lake Katrine is a semi-rural community a few miles from Kingston. Our parents had retired to the town of Sawkill, which is a neighbor of Lake Katrine. My brother built a house in Lake Katrine almost thirty-five years ago and has lived there ever since. And yet despite that, I have never seen Lake Katrine, the body of water. I always assumed it was some little pond on a farm somewhere in the town. Somehow it came up in conversation and I had to confess that I had never seen it and didn't have the slightest idea about where it might be. I felt a little better when I found out that neither Carol nor Oscar had ever seen it either. [Dick, do you know where it is? It's between Route 9W and Flatbush Road... If Neighborhood Road crossed 9W and went straight it would hit the south end of the lake in about half a mile.] I was astonished to see that it was not a pond at all, but was a decent-sized lake that must be four or five hundred feet wide and maybe half a mile long. Very pretty. I can't believe that something that close to town was not surrounded by houses (or, at least, by rows of summer cottages). It is being developed now... there were three or four new houses on the road we were on and what looks like a McMansion (on the opposite side of the lake toward the left side of the photo) being built.

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