When I’d planned out this weeklong trip for Aiden and I, I’d originally intended on visiting Civil War sites, even considered a trip to Gettysburg, but even the best laid plans…….. Oh, well, cemeteries and scenery would have to suffice.
|Aiden swears he saw a "ghost" flit from the |
porch to inside this abandoned house!
Since we’d spent so much time in Amish country, it was necessary to stop for the night before making our way to Ohio.
We stopped at a Days Inn in Erie, Pennsylvania and before we got settled, we made our way to Applebee’s Restaurant, a favorite of mine for their Santa Fe Chicken Salad. I was disappointed to discover that they didn’t have that particular item on the menu; but aside from that the experience was memorable. Why? Because Aiden entertained the entire wait staff with his Amish puzzle.
That coonskin cap he’s wearing, courtesy of his Uncle Mike, hardly left his head. That alone brought attention to Aiden; his little trick just made him all the more endearing. Wait until you see the pictures of him in the cap and accessorized with a fake mustache!
Once back at the hotel, I set up my computer near the pool so Aiden could swim. I’d forgotten about intermittent rain in these parts and had to often shield my equipment from a drizzle. As I sat under the umbrella Aiden awaited other kids to play with. Before anyone else showed up, however, my little man showed a protective side to him.
I was seated on the far side of the pool and for some odd reason, a guy that came out of the hotel decided sitting in a seat next to me was the ideal spot, although there were empty seats all around the pool. He sat down, put his hands on his knees and stared silently before him. Within seconds, Aiden has crossed the pool, put his arms on the side and watched. I raised my eyebrows to him, “What’s he doing?” my look conveyed. Five minutes later, not a word spoken, the guy got up and left the area. I thanked Aiden for looking out for me, my brave, eleven-year-old Man.
After a good night’s sleep, Aiden and I made our way to Youngstown, Ohio to visit an old Las Vegas friend. Celeste and I met when in 1989 we opened Acres of Animals Pet Shop. The store was located at Jones Blvd. and the 95 freeway. We had to close two short years later, but my friendship with Celeste has endured. Even though she moved from Las Vegas years ago, we have stayed in touch. It was a great treat that I would be able to see her again. And her daughter, Lisa, whom I’ve known since she was nine would be there, visiting herself from Colorado with her husband and four kids! Aiden was also in for a great treat.
July 4th was spent in the company of family – just the way I like to enjoy my holidays. Celeste’s entire family, children, grandchildren, sisters, nieces, nephews, and mom all contributed to the potluck. I was so happy to be there, and as you can see, so was Aiden.
The next days after our goodbyes, Aiden and I once again took to the road. We were headed back to New York, but by way of Route 62, hoping to hit more Amish communities. We didn’t, but the scenery we took in was everything I love about the northeastern woods – green trees, fields of flowers, and flowing rivers. My enjoyment was palpable, but I started to feel a bit of anxiety as our arrival was expected by another family and I realized taking the back roads added hours to our trip. Our four o’clock arrival time was pushed a couple of hours and I was feeling awful for holding anyone up. Once we got on the New York Thruway, however, I knew we’d make better time.Next stop, Clarence, New York. I’d spent nine years of my childhood in Clarence, leaving just after my freshman year in high school was over. As I drove to our next destination, I was able to point out places to Aiden such as the location of the General Store where Nancy and I had gotten caught stealing candy (a great lesson on what not to do!), the street where I’d lived, the church where two of my brothers were married, and the Dry Cleaners that was once the location of a stop on the Underground Railroad.
Finally, we arrived at the Gorny home. Laura and her husband and five children waited their dinner for us. Laura is the sister of my daughter, Erin’s husband. We have spoken on the phone, gotten to know one another through Facebook, but it was such a joy to meet her in person. Aiden was thrilled to have another set of kids, cousins this time, to play with. The arrangement was for Aiden to spend the night while I went out with a few friends.The report I got back the next day when I went to pick him up was what a great time he’d had: exploring the woods behind the house and playing video games; this kid was racking up the summer memories, for sure!
|Aiden (on left) with cousin Caleb|