We opted for a last minute escape-from-Irene and headed northwest to see Mark's sister's family near Syracuse. Can't believe it took us a hurricane to get there -- somehow years have passed since we made that 4-1/2 hour trek. That's just too long, right? Now, I'm sure they could post some similar wide-eyed kind of statement when they visit us in the NYC burbs. But really, it was funny.
My SIL's boyfriend trains police dogs and used to be a US Marshall so Max and Alex were just about in Nirvana. He gifted them with some real police targets to be taped on trees here and used with their plastic bb's. Their saucer-sized eyes just glowed when he showed them the dent in his calf where he took a bullet and I bet one of them wet their pants when he showed them his guns.
When I was a kid, our only out-of-town family trips were to my dad's hometown in Reynoldsville, PA. Things seemed so exotic up there. People burned their trash in the back yard, called soda "pop" and knew everyone in town, plus everyone from the three previous generations. My grandmother's boyfriend (for 50 years), Clutch, was a retired coal miner who owned a car wrecking company though my grandmother claimed he just "loafed" all day and spit. He and my grandmother lived three miles apart and he came to her house daily for dinner and stayed to watch the news. He would take my brother and I over to the junkyard and let us poke around some of the wrecks and get bottles of coke from the machine. He took my brother for illicit rides on his dirt bike and only had Clark bars, beer and cheese in his refrigerator. He taught us to play Black Jack for pennies and always offered my parents a shot and a piece of cheese when they came to watch the Pirates games.
I loved every minute of it.
And I'm so glad we got to visit my niece and SIL and her boyfriend who filled my kids heads with all kinds of intrigue and adventure. And the cousins, who never see each other, warmed up and actually laughed and goofed around together. We got to go the state fair and Jack sat on a cow, which rocked his little world. And I almost entered a calf raffle, but then I saw the woman standing behind the cow catching its poop in a bucket and figured I'd stick to goldfish.
(here is Jack sitting on said cow)
I think that's the country girl that lives inside me somewhere.
We just don't get those velvet black skies down here in the NY metro.