It started with a quick pick up from the airport...my heart was in my throat and there were tears in my eyes. Here he was my cousin John, and his lovely wife Kathy. You see when I was 12 years old we moved from all that was family from a small little town in Massachusetts. First it was N.J. then N.Y. then oh my gosh at 16 years old my father moved us clear across the country to Washington State. We never moved back. Our entire family was left on the east coast minus my parents and my one sibling. Both Chris and I married western boys, and here we have stayed. But, and that is a big but...we never forgot the days and times of all that was family and childhood. This very special visit from one very special cousin was an amazing treat for my sister and I.
I kept thinking to myself, Cindy give him a moment to breath. His younger brother Joe had just passed away and our hearts were so full of so many emotions...so much to catch up on...so much more to share. For the next ten days I had FAMILY. It was crazy how the memories came flooding back. Things I didn't even know I remembered. Long forgotten stories of a distant time came bubbling up to the surface. By the sharing of those stories about the same gatherings and the same characters we both loved and cherished, we remembered. Oh how we laughed and oh how we cried... Did I mention we are Italian. I hope that explains some of what I am trying to convey. The culture of the Boston area Italian immigrants and there families back in the days... is one of well...much love, much laughter, much joy and the crazy Italian American slang that we all knew. I can't tell you how many funny words we used this week. Probably most of them made up :)
A trip a da zeet (accompanied by the shaking of the hand) became the word of the week :) Hahaha I can't even begin to explain that one...something about an aunts stomach ???
Kathy asked me on the way to this winery (now keep in mind she is from New Hampshire) What kind of trees grew on the hills around us...at first I was puzzled...trees...what trees? Then I realized with a chuckle, Kathy we only have sage brush...hehehe. Our terrain is not like the east coast. We belong in a John Wayne movie back drop more than anything else. More on this later.
I can't even believe how many wineries we toured...lol. This is our first outing to Red Mountain, to an estate winery called Terra Blanca. A very beautiful setting with a beautiful new chateau type building.
John arrived Thursday and Chris and Pat joined us on Friday night. We took everyone out to a local restaurant on the river and enjoyed a lovely walk along the river as the sun was setting.
Early the next morning I had arranged for a 5 hour boat tour up the Columbia River. My son Josh from Portland, my daughter Jenna from Seattle joined us with Meg, Ty, Ty's mom, sister Ashely and the babies...what a big day we had!
Puddin Toes gets her special "treat milk" (milk with a splash of vanilia flavoring)
Getting on the boat
the aunties...Jenna and Ashley
my cousin John carrying Puddin Toes pink purse...
Sis and I with our hubbies
pushing off from shore
One piece of history that was pointed out to us was part of the Cariboo Trail that was used to herd cattle all the way up to the Canadian Gold mines. Apparently this trail saw more cows than it's more famous cousin the"Chisom Trail" who knew??? Like I said I think I live in the middle of a John Wayne movie :)
We saw lots of wildlife, deer, 6 foot wing span white pelicans, blue herring cranes, and many, many more birds.
This place was called White Bluffs where there was a substantial Indian village at one time of the Wanapam Indians. This area later became known as the Hanford Area, where my dad worked.
Uncle Josh and P.T.
Back to the house for an Italian feast of mom's lasagna and "meat a baallls"
Jenna for one was very happy with a home cooked meal.
Afterwards there was lots of visiting, baby holding...and a very competitive game of Bocce...aheemmm Christina Marie :)
Day 3 we did a little wine tasting at Wine O'clock in Prosser and had a wonderful lunch. The salad was a homemade vinaigrette of 8 kinds of tomatoes and 6 kinds of cucumber. Then we all shared a pizza Margarite, Salumi's meat pizza, and our favorite which was pear and bacon. All topped off with a bottle of Sangiovese (an Italian grape of coarse) The food and wine were delish.