friends and family

I flew in to the Rochester airport on Tuesday afternoon and was met by my old friend Dina. Our first stop was at a Wegmans grocery store.

Wegmans is the most amazing grocery store in the world. The one we went to is at least twice the size of the largest Publix in Tallahassee, and the selection is incredible. They even have a second floor!

After the store we went to her house. Her husband didn't get home from work for a couple of hours, but her sister Brenda and Brenda's husband Jim arrived not too long after we did. Brenda and Jim are also old friends, and it was a great time.

As the evening wore on, I needed to find a place to spend the night. I hadn't planned particularly well and thus had no confirmed bed. After a few phone calls I managed to get the OK from a childhood friend, Brian Hoose. He met us part of the way between his house and Dina's and he drove me out to his home in Honeoye (pronounced "honey-oy") Falls, where I had the pleasure of meeting his wife Cathy for the first time.

Wednesday morning Brian had to go to Buffalo on business. I met his son just before we left, then Brian and I went up to Rochester so he could drop me off. We went to a diner for breakfast then parted ways. I hadn't seen him for nearly twenty years so it was fortuitous that he could generously put me up (and put up with me) for the night.

I spent most of the day walking along the Erie Canal and absorbing the wonders of nature. Late in the day I finally managed to locate my buddy Greg's house.

Now, I knew roughly where his street was, but in a city the size of Rochester you really need to have accurate knowledge of such things if you expect to get where you want to go. I couldn't find a sufficiently detailed city map, even at a couple of the nicer hotels. They had some maps for visitors to the city, but nothing with enough detail to locate Greg's residential street. Finally I spoke to a fellow - at the last hotel I tried - who had the same lame map but was vaguely familiar with the location of Caroline Street. He made it sound as if it was only a mile or so from where we spoke.

He was wrong. I walked for over an hour; and, just when I was convinced that I had been given faulty information, I found myself in front of a branch of the Rochester Public Library. "Eureka! They'll have a map for sure," I told myself. They did, thank God, and I was even happier when I learned from the map that Caroline Street was only three blocks further up South Avenue.

When I arrived at Greg's house, I didn't see his Jeep but the windows were open. I climbed up to the porch, talking to myself ("Hmmm ... I don't see his Jeep ... I see open windows ...") and he met me at the door before I could knock. He had just returned from a 26 mile skate and looked as hot and tired as I felt.

We spent the evening talking and watching the Yankees beat the BoSox. Hooray! Beginning before the game, and finishing after, we watched Metallica's movie, "Some Kind of Monster." Greg mainly wanted me to see Metallica's newest bass player - Rob Trujillo aka Mr. Amazing - but we watched the whole thing. The band came across, as I put it to Greg, as "brutally human" individuals. It took a lot of guts for them to release that movie because they are shown to be, well, "brutally human". Warts and all.

On Thursday morning Greg had some business to attend to out in Wayne County so he drove me all the way out to my Dad's house in Wolcott.

Today my uncle Leon - Dad's eldest brother - and Leon's son Eric came to visit. They had arrived in Rochester last night but spent the night at Dad's younger brother Harry's house. I hadn't seen Leon or Eric for many years so it was another wonderful reunion. We'll see them again tomorrow at my Mom's memorial.

Anna flew in to Rochester yesterday and spent the night with friends in Newark, NY. She is spending the day with her friends at Darien Lake's Six Flags park. This evening Dad's girlfriend Velma and I will pick Anna up when she returns to Newark.

It just keeps getting better. I wish Ike could be here, and I even wish The Ex could be here, but I am having a great time.

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