So, although I am sitting in a hotel room in Jamaica during a rainstorm, I am going to finish up the New Jersey trip first and then try to catch things up. What's been happening? Lots of life and little of blogging!
After New York City and the Hudson Valley, we returned to my mom's house for a few more days. As I've said before, New Jersey is the place that most feels like home to me, though I have only lived there for a few years on a couple of different occasions. Perhaps because both my parents were from there and we had a large extended family, I feel some sense of rootedness even though I was a nomadic Air Force kid.
Only one of my siblings still lives in Jersey, my youngest brother Bill and his family. Although we have vastly differing political and religious beliefs, he's always been my buddy and I think we both try to put aside our differences and just enjoy each other's company when we are together. (We reserve our biggest arguments for Facebook. haha) His wife Patty is always a big help to my mom and to one of our elderly aunts, and has a heart of gold when it comes to taking care of people. Their kids are a blast, smart, fun, and funny. So when we all got together to have some dinner and play a mean game of "Mexican Train," all kinds of hilarity ensued. I have to admit, I thought "Mexican Train" sounded racist and was calling it "Train," but my mom sent Rich and me our own set and the official title emblazoned on the box reads "Mexican Train." So then I had to descend into the rabbit hole of research about the silly game and could not find a satisfactory answer about why it is called "Mexican Train." Indeed, it is also just called "Train." It apparently is derived from a Chinese game called Pai Gaw and has nothing to do with Mexico. Go figure. I'd never played before but it was hilarious fun.
The females of the clan