It was meant to be! We arranged to fly to NYC on Christmas Day. That is often a good day to travel. Because AA faced low passenger census on this direct non-stop flight, we followed our travel agent’s hint and took a chance to go out the day ahead to see if we could arrange to fly Christmas Eve for less than an arm and a leg. Good fortune for us! Margaret could watch the animals and house sooner than we had originally agreed on. And, Roy with AA, served us and arranged a change of tickets for a great price, so we called the Pattersons and told them we would be in earlier. Off we went. Interesting clouds entertained me until the cover was too thick to pick up differences.
Arriving in NYC LGA ahead of time, we caught a taxi to Times Square. Wow! It was alive with action in the mild evening. We bought a soft pretzel, wended our way toward the Port Authority and caught a bus through the fog to Denville.
What fun to have Dan, Nancy, Claire, Henry, Rich and me together. We visited, admired Nancy’s and Claire’s decorations and the sweet little tree – top to the shrub out front! Nancy had asked about the decorations as she put them up. After dinner and more visiting, people went off to bed and Nancy and I drove to the church for bells and Christmas Eve service. It was very welcoming, lots of people greeting each other in Italian and English. The minister welcomed all and explained the service. For communion he invited all to partake in the celebration. How lovely! The music was lovely, the hymns classic versions of the “golden oldies” and the lessons from the most revered of the Christmas stories. Light from the street shown through the stained glass window and was accented by the shadow of tree limbs. Very special time.
Having agreed ahead that we would minimize “material gifts” on Christmas Day we shared a few presents. Dan had bought a beautiful table runner of rich purple and gold that he bought while in Dubai. Nancy had created a fun cookbook for me with funny comments. The Pattersons had a few items, but their main gift was helping with flights and bus passes. Very thoughtful. Tom and Mary sent a wonderful note and generous contribution to the Nature Center. Then, a walk, later a ham dinner, beginning the annual puzzle, and a nap. Dan left late afternoon to return to The City.
Friday we visited with the Holfords nearby and did Denville in the afternoon. Such good friends for the Pattersons and for us to keep in touch with. Mara’s cafe with the gelato and great hot drinks, Sergios, Viking, the yarn shop, The Denville Smoke Shop, Anthony’s bakery. Amazing! Sausages…olives…pastries…pastas…breads…oh my! “Anthony and the Bread Factory!”
Saturday we were off to NYC. Catch the pictures on Flickr. Oh the excitement! How and why The City works is unknown. But, it does work. We walked Times Square, stopped at the M and M store, past Rockefeller Center and Radio Music Hall and St. Patrick’s Cathedral. The line at MoMA was too long, so we ditched the idea of the Van Gogh exhibition, and caught the train to the Lower East Side and the Tenement Museum. Busy! But, they accepted Rich’s press card from OWAA, so we enjoyed the walking tour for not much cost. At one point I felt really creeped out and didn’t want to step on cracks, vaguely thinking I could step on a sharp. Then, Rich pointed out two needles lying on the sidewalk right by a school. Gads!
The tour guide, Adam, was excellent as he told the story of immigration, row houses to tenement buildings to projects. A re-curring theme “…there was a problem.” He pointed out places where films had been made – “Crossing Delancy” and “The Devil Wears Prada.” so interesting.
Then, we met Dan in Brooklyn by the Metro Tech Center and walked to his new digs in Brooklyn Heights. Very neat. The Promenade is close, Montague Street with its shops, eateries, and history. We ate at a wonderful Indian Restaurant and then took a walk to a coffee shop as Nancy and Dan talked.
The train cross town is quick – on a Saturday!
Sunday Pattersons had relatives in with lots of talk as Nancy and i worked on the puzzle. Cousins joined in solving this really hard one! Theresa is a marvel at figuring these out!
Nancy and I walked around the Lake and did the Labyrinth at the north end of the Lake. Clouds proved “grey on grey.” Marie and Jack came with food galore, so we warmed up a meal and ate late. Then, with Nancy’s encouragement to continue a tradition she and I have had, we listened to her read “Why The Chimes Rang” and read in round robin, “A Child’s Christmas in Wales.” So, we kept our tradition and extended it to others, as we began to last year. Very nice evening.
Monday, we took in another Denville eatery “Doc’s” with outstanding whole grain pancakes with sunflowers and a touch of almond flavoring. Rich and Nancy walked up Bald Hill and brought back a pudding stone. Then, off to the bus as Nancy was going to meet Karissa, overnight and leave early Tuesday for the west. Another walk on the Lake and a nice dinner and conversation.
A poor night of sleep in anticipation of getting to the bus very early. Always some tension when having to part. All connections on time, smooth flying and a warm return to Iowa. Took care of the bunnies, looked over mail, and prepared for a small New Year’s Eve with friends here. Remarkable that all this works so well. A blessed trip indeed.