Saturday, July 20, 2013

Trip of a Lifetime: Aiden and Nana's Summer Vacation, Part I

In the blink of an eye my grandson Aiden will be all grown up.  On my fridge are photographs of him in his chubby, little boy phase.

I look at those pictures and can’t quite grasp the idea that soon he will have other, more important things on his mind than spending time with his Nana.  For now, however, he is happy to be in my company and I’m making as many memories with him as I can.  This summer we did another trip; just the two of us and we had the time of our lives.

Four years ago I attempted to cross the country with Aiden (See New York a Bust).  We made it halfway there then I decided I was pooped so we turned around and went back the way we’d come.  It wasn’t a failed trip; we still had some great experiences, but the final destination had been my hometown in New York State.  This summer we succeeded in making it there, thanks to Southwest Airlines. 

Aiden turned eleven years old on the flight from Los Angeles to Buffalo and he got the royal treatment: applause from the airline crew and passengers and a chance to meet the pilot and sit in the cockpit.

When we arrived in Buffalo, I took him to a local treasure, Antoinette’s Sweets, a place my grandmother took me to when I was a little kid.  They still make their own ice cream, whipped cream and candy right on the premises. 

When the owners, Mr. and Mrs. Morphis, were still alive, my husband and I became friends with them and we always got a behind-the-scenes tour.  This visit I was content to sit with Aiden and share some of those memories with him.

We spent the first night with my big brother, Dominic.  He took Aiden to a kid’s paradise: Vidler’s in East Aurora.  Aiden came back with a bagful of treasure and then we went to a local diner for some New York fare: Beef on Weck

and chicken wings.  I was home! 

The next day Aiden and I headed south through Pennsylvania on our way to Ohio.  Our first stop was to Amish Country where Aiden saw for the first time people that live without electricity, horse and buggy transportation, horse-powered field plowing, kids with funny haircuts (and bad teeth unfortunately, but a good lesson to him to keep up his own tooth hygiene), and a way of life so foreign to a kid that lives in L.A.  We went to all the different shops and his favorite by far was the Toy Store where Amish-made puzzles delighted him and where he plunked down his own money and came away with a puzzle that for the rest of the trip he stumped anyone willing to try the challenge.

On the road again we indulged in my favorite hobby, and now Aiden’s, and visited old, old cemeteries. 

This interest of mine is one I’ve passed on to both my girls and now Aiden will probably keep up the practice. 

We look for the oldest person, interesting names and seek out war veterans.

Our greatest find was an ex-slave cemetery, one I would have missed had I not made a U-turn to read the historic marker.

Next installment:  Fourth of July Fun in Youngstown, Ohio

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