OK, so I disappeared for a few days without notice, without giving you a forwarding address, without even mentioning I was heading out of town. Sorry. My sister and her family were visiting my hometown of Pearl River, N.Y., for the past few days, and we high-tailed it out of here to spend some quality time with them. Look at that photo of me with my brother and sister on the tube, surrounded by our cousins. If that ain’t quality time, I don’t know what is. Yes, we’re balancing on a rubber raft in the middle of my cousin’s pool. Not bad for almost 46, eh?
This was the first time I’ve seen my sister and brother-in-law and two nieces in three years! How crazy is that? Siblings should not go that long between visits, but getting back and forth between Austin, Texas, and upstate New York can be expensive and time-consuming when you’re dragging two or three kids in tow, so it doesn’t happen very often. But when it does….look out!
I truly cannot describe for you just how much fun we had this weekend with aunts, uncles, cousins, nieces and nephews all together for hours and hours on end. Plus, if I did, I’m sure you’d think less of me. I haven’t played musical chairs in decades — and never with a margarita in hand while twirling around to Jimmy Buffet’s “Margaritaville.” And I don’t know how long it’s been since I jumped in a pool to splash around like a kid, as opposed to the sedate wading I typically do while holding Chiara these days.
We laughed, we ate, we sang, we ate, we did the locomotion in a conga line around the pool. Let’s just say, if Dennis ever wants to blackmail me, he just needs to go to the video tape. Yes, we have a video tape, a looooong video tape.
Here I am (below) last night with all but one of my Pearl River cousins (only my godchild was missing) just minutes before my sister and her family left for who knows how long. Even then, just before the tears set in, we were still trying to cram in a few more antics to recapture the very close childhood we all shared growing up — more like siblings than cousins. A very good childhood indeed.
And here is the woman at the center of our show, my grandmother, known as E-ma to all, who will be 96 on New Year’s Day. She continues to amaze us with her agility, her determination, her support and her love. That’s four generations right there: My sister, Tricia; my brother, Fred; my dad, Sal, and me. Sitting down is E-ma with five of her nine great-grandchildren. Underneath is a photo of her with all of her grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and a few extra cousins who are like grandchildren.