austin_dern (austin_dern) wrote,

I really can't stay

We spent Friday with bunny_hugger's family, which is part of why my daily entry was so late. (You wondered, didn't you?) We spent longer than expected, since there just kept on being more stuff to do. This was the first time I'd really got the full force of her family at once, and the first time I'd really seen her brother outside his new homeland of New York City. I'd seen him at our wedding, of course, and her whole family then, but we were in such a swirl of activity and attention and stuff pulling us away that I barely had the chance to appreciate anyone being there. This was full and undiluted family. My wife feared it was going to be too much for me, or that I'd get bored. Not a chance.

The main objective for the day was cookie-making, or possibly just eating crackers with cheese on them. I may have had too much of that, but when there is so much to snack on it's hard to resist. The cookie baking was less the making of dough --- her mother had done that and even left it to chill and warm properly before we arrived --- and instead rolling it out, cutting out patterns, and decorating. They've got a lot of patterns, more than I think my parents could find on short notice, since my mother hasn't baked cookies in mass quantities since she stopped throwing Christmas parties. (Not out of hostility, just, she wasn't able to make time for all the work involved.) Decorating was also grand as it was done with butter cream, colored, and however much we lumped onto cookies shaped like houses, or snowflakes, or the state of Michigan, there was more left over. Lots more.

The day gave me a lot of time to soak up family stories, all of which are more interesting than my family's equivalent stories. My old family folklore dives into things like the great-uncles, one of whom worked for American Standard, the other who worked for the New Jersey Central, getting drunk every single night while arguing indoor plumbing, for or against. (On sanitary grounds.) Soaking up family gossip and trying to reassure the dogs, every fifty minutes when they suddenly remembered I still existed and nobody had done anything about it --- they're getting better; last time I think it was every 45 minutes --- meant we were busy and having a great time all through the day, and to comfortably after midnight. At least I was comfortable. The dogs, less so.

Trivia: Until the 1990s the Newark City Subway still used as rolling stock President's Conference Committee trolley cars, constructed in the 1940s and acquired from the Twin Cities Rapid Transit Company in the 1950, making the line a favorite among railway fans. Source: Railroads Of New Jersey, Lorett Treese. (I have a nagging feeling I might have used this before, although certainly not from this book.)

Currently Reading: Paving the way for Apollo 11, David M Harland.


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