Good Evening Everybody!
I figured it was high time I updated my journal, and the tail-end of a vacation is as good a time as any, particularly after a vacation wherein you've participated in a ceremony of connubiality.
So yeah. I flew back home to the motherland of New England this past columbus day for the purpose of both enjoying a very much-needed, relaxing vacation in the beautiful, autumnal gory of New England, and to participate in the wedding ceremony of one of my oldest and very best friends.
I've known Glenn since Freshman year of High School. Ironically enough, when we first met, we didn't really like each other. But once our natural instincts towards being smartasses subsided, we became inseparable friends.
Interestingly enough, Glenn's had a DA page for years but never did anything with it.
Glenn doesn't hold my fascination with nor desire to spend hours upon hours on end on DA.
Ah well, there's no arguing taste I suppose.
I guess helping build a computer programing company from the ground up and having an IQ that far exceeds the ordinary genius level can make one want to focus on other things. Ah well. At least he's still willing to share his home and break bread with me.
Or maybe it's just because he still owes me money.
My 6 am flight left Ft. Myers and I touched down in Hartford just after noon. After a short stop at an awesome bakery in the Italian district, a stones throw from the Institute For Living where Jonathan Winters and James Taylor spent time recovering from their drug-dependancy problems, it was off to a warm welcoming party where beloved friends and relations all came to welcome back the wanderer who been wandering astray for the last three years. It was a great joy to see so many treasured relations and dear, dear friends after being away so long. The party was wonderful, and the feast provided by my poor, overworked mom was very, very much appreciated.
The next few days before the wedding held a greta many enjoyable and relaxing ventures, which included the very necessary task of hunting down wedding gifts for Glenn & Cait.
Me and my dear mom took in a 6-mile hike on Raged Mountain on the western edge of the Connecticut River Valley. Me and my sister took a very invigorating morning hike on Case Mountain, where the morning light made the autumn foliage particularly obliging to photography.
After taking in a both nostalgic and caustic training session with our personal trainer friend, me and my dad took the time to see the newly-constructed Connecticut Science Center in downtown Hartford. Call me crazy and/or a hopelessly forgone science geek, but I LOVE any and all science museums. Whether they're telling you something you already know, teaching you something new or showing you something simple and elegant or complex and staggering, Science Museums are a great boon to both culture and education in every possible sense.
The days wore on and the hour of the wedding soon approached. At the rehearsal, I was first introduced to Cait's larger family, whom I hadn't met. I was excited to meet them, and if at all possible, they were even more excited to meet me, seeing as how I would be the best man at their eldest daughters wedding.
Cait's parents were polite and welcoming, if a bit terse. And getting re-acquainted with members of my graduating class who turned up was interesting to say the least.
After a brief rehearsal at the Publick House in Sturbridge Massachusetts where the ceremony would be the next day, I drove Glenn to Woodstock CT for the rehearsal dinner at Cait's house.
Cait's sister, Megan, the maid of honor, along with Michelle, Cait's mom, made the assembled party a lovely supper and we retired for the evening.
The day of the ceremony came, and the alternating rain and snow from the previous day had thankfully subsided, leaving the small, quaint town of Sturbridge as the most resplendent backdrop for the wedding, and the Publick house, standing as the quintessential piece of New England iconography for two and a half centuries the most charming and majestic of venues.
Before the actual ceremony proper, Glenn's uncle Kevin was kind enough to buy me a pint at the pub to help me take the edge off so I wouldn't worry about mucking up my reading, my ring-holding duties, my passing out of the cords or my toast. Glenn stuck to Club Soda, until just before the actual ceremony , when the husband of one of the bridesmaids offered him a flask, which he gratefully accepted.
After much shouting, grinding of teeth, rending of garments and general confusion and disarray, the ceremony began.
Glenn and Cait maid quite the endearing Bride & Groom to be sure. And with my magnanimous voice and halting, deliberate cadence inspired by the great William Shatner, I delivered my reading, from "Captain Corelli's Mandolin" with much stylish panache.
After me, it was Megan's turn to take center stage. Apart from being a talented cook, the Maid of Honor has quite the bewitching singing voice, and delivered a rendition of "I Believe in Miracles" That captured, nay, commanded the attention of all present.
From there we moved on the the hand-tying ceremony, where the couples hands are bound together with a series of cords to symbolize their newly-established bond. A practice originating from the Celts that was co-opted by the Holy Roman Church and is still sometimes seen today. My knot was the prettiest, FWIW.
Hands bound, vows exchanged and the "I Do's" said, Glenn and Cait had quite literally tied the knot, and the party could officially begin.
After the couples first dance, and the bridesmaids and groomsmen took to the floor, I kicked off the reception by reading my brilliant, pithy and eloquent toast.
I say with no small amount of modesty that it was a wonderfully-written piece of composition.
The rest of the evening passed with much dancing, music and wonderful food. (Glenn and Cait actually had the insight to get a wedding cake that actually TASTED good!) And then it was off to drive my friend Nick home, back to Connecticut, only to get stuck in traffic for 3 hours, southbound on I-84.
It was the happiest wedding ever!
The next day I adjourned to a post-wedding party at Cait's folks house in Woodstock. It was a nice opportunity to catch up with Glenn and get to know Cait's family better. A wonderful shindig all in all.
The last few days of my vacation passed with rather tranquil leisure. The whole family went up to Boston for a jaunt, watching teams from various of the many, many surrounding colleges row their sculls on the Charles "Dirty Water" River in the driving snow, take in some of the local New England culture and cuisine and for a visit to the Museum of Science. The largest and, for my money, best exhibition of all matter of the natural sciences that one can find.
After much rest and composure, and a trip to the family optometrist, I was ready to bid the land of my birth and upbringing adeau and fly back to the land of endless summer where I've tried to set up the vestiges of an adult life.
The trip home was very much needed and greatly enjoyed. It also gave me a lot to think about.
Going back, re-treading old paths and immersing myself in the full, palpable change from summer to fall which I always took for granted as a kid really helped reaffirm in my mind, my identity as a New Englander.
Going back home, I realized all the more that, adapted to the heat and humidity though I have, so much of what makes me me is tied to the Northeast. Both the transcendent joy and the abject suffering that forged me into who I am were set against the backdrop of the Northeast, and the point was driven home to me on my journey North.
At the Publick House, I asked a kind young lady for directions, and the first sentence out of her mouth threw me for a loop. She told me very plainly to "Go up the escarpment," and I actually had to pause and think. I know what an escarpment is. I've known what one is since I was about eight. But hearing it in day-to-day conversation is something I've DEFINITELY not experienced in Florida.
I'm naturally linguistically gifted, and I use my perspicacity and diction to convey and communicate as accurately and as well as I can to people around me. I.E. I know a lot of big words, and I USE THEM! But, I live in Florida now. I'm not saying that the state propagates poor communication, not by any stretch. But moving from the Northeast, which is justly famous for snobbery, elitism and intellectualism to Florida provides a noticeable contrast.
I've actually gotten in trouble at work for using too large a vocabulary.
I'm serious as a heart attack here.
Now I know that using a large vocabulary might be construed as trying to display superiority over someone. But that is something I would never, ever consciously do. The workplace is a hostile environment enough as it is. We don't need any more animosity and acrimony than we already have in these stressed economic times.
And trust me, this isn't some articulately barbed attack on any area of the country that isn't the Northeast. I've been around the country enough to know that we, all of us, all Americans are all part of the fabric that forms the whole of this great nation. We all can bring something worthwhile to the table... But still...
Living in Connecticut or even in New York, I can't ever recall in instance where I was told off for being too verbally acrobatic. Oh well.
And there was more melancholy to be had on the journey home.
I found out that Kathy John's, one of the most cherished and beloved gastronomic mainstays of Storrs, my hometown, closed it's doors to the public forever, another of the countless victims of the economic recession.
That made me really sad. Never again will I be able to sit down in one of the booths of the restaurant that made life in Storrs truly unique, and unique for the better.
A wide variety of decadently greasy, fried and soothingly familiar food available on a large, antiquated-looking paper menu. And for dessert, a staggering array of creamy, succulent ice creams and soft, chewy, succulent baked goods, all for the offering. Unique among restaurants, KJ's also offered a store off the main dining room, which, in addition to various eccentric curiosities (which alone would have made it awesome) it offered a selection of thousands, literally thousands of rubber stamps depicting anything you could imagine, and I do mean anything.
Now, it's all gone forever.
I couldn't believe KJ's closed down. It's wrong and it's goddamn evil. Knowing no other kid will ever experience the thrilling, giddying joy of indulging in a greasy hot dog slathered in chili, bacon and cheese with cookies and Mint Chocolate Chip ice cream as a chaser, and enjoying the early stages of a sugar high/tummy ache while browsing a mammoth collection of rubber stamps is really, very sad to me.
Ah well. The arrow of time points in one direction...
All in all, it really was a nice vacation.
I got to wander for mile after mile up mountain sides and through winding gorges and river valleys in the full profusion of the autumn foliage. I got to be damn near front and center of an exceptionally beautiful wedding. I got to catch up with many and old, dear friend and relation and above all, I got time to rest and relax.
What makes me most happy, at the moment at least, is I got to take back some of the Northeast with me. I made it a point to stock up on genuine Vermont Maple Syrup and Maple Sugar Candy before I flew back down, and I'm damn glad I did.
As I sit here and nibble on the sweet little nuggets of home, I can reflect on where I've been, where I'm going and how to get there, and at least take some solace in knowing that I have roots, a loving family and seriously awesome friends, both online and off to help me should I need it.
(Yes, I know that was a damn long entry, but if you've read this far, it's your fault. I didn't make you.
Peace out, y'all!