This was not your ordinary family visit.
My wonderful sister-in-law is turning, well, a distinguished and wise age this year, and she decided to celebrate by gathering three generatons of family women (that would be all of us still roaming the Earth) to join her for a few days in New York.
I live here, of course, but my relatives are scattered around the western Great Lakes area: Michigan, Indiana and Kentucky. (My sister, an Indiana recidivist, only recently arrived from Dallas.) Several of “the girls” had been to NYC before, but with thirteen years on the Upper West Side, I was the ranking subway expert.
We had a ball.
Top of the Rock. The Empire State Building. Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. Wicked at the Gershwin. Carriages in Central Park. Lunch at Tavern on the Green. Shopping in Chinatown, fueled by spring egg rolls from a mom-and-pop (literally) street vendor. Dinner in Little Italy. World Trade Center. St. Patrick’s Cathedral. A wild and fairly typical taxi ride. Shrimp at Bubba Gump’s. Times Square. Walking for miles every day.
You know how it is; you live in a wonderful place but somehow never get yourself out to see all the sights that make your town so attractive to tourists. I’ve never been to the Empire State Building (and never got to the top of the World Trade Center, either). Never shopped Chinatown. Never knew Bubba Gump had been marketing his shrimp in Mid-town.
But with all those entertaining places and activities, the real joy sprang from being with these six vibrant, funny, gracious women. My grandnieces are not only drop-dead gorgeous, they are poised, sensitive and humorous—they can even laugh at themselves, a gift and blessing that will serve them well. Of course they didn’t get this way by accident; all the women in my family are a wild mix of intelligence, enthusiasm and wit.
The men of the crew (all of them definitely well-endowed in the humor department, too) kept the home fires burning while the rest of us wore ourselves out having a great time in New York. Thanks, guys. I’m sure you’re all going to be greeted by tired but joyful sweeties and daughters.
But the biggest thank you goes to my lovely, sweet, tireless, charming, generous and now distinguished and officially wise sister-in-law.
Happy Birthday, Wanda. We’re all looking forward to the next biggie.