Tuesday, August 18, 2009

My Cousin John

Part I

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!

Morning lattes for the trip

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

We went out to the Hanford Reach...the last part of the Columbia River that is free flowing (without any dam interferences) Now a national monument.
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 :)

Puddin Toes trying to take it all in

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.

Then we popped over to the Winemakers Loft and took them to Coyote Canyon...remember our last wine tour with "John" our wine maker friend. I love the ambiance of the old world look to this place.

Good times, great days, and this was only the beginning of my week :)


Pure and lovely said...

WOW what a fun week!! I can hardly wait to here about the rest of it! Could I bring some friends over, say Octoberish, and hang out with you and all your fabulous fun?

I was impressed you used your Desert Rose dishes. I have my mother in laws set now and have not ventured out and used them.

On This Rock said...

Wow, what a whirlwind of fun, activity and family...just the very best kinds of vacation. Almost makes me wish I was Italian... some great pictures as well. Thanks for sharing.

My Carolina Kitchen said...

Lovely reunion and great photos of your family. Thanks for sharing this with us.

Maree said...

Wonderful times..great memories. Gorgeous photo's.

Your sis looks same, except different...you are both dolls!

I have the desert rose pattern too..we use them for breakfast and ice cream. ;-) (Inherited them from my Aunt Lucy.)

Beautiful family!

Judy ~ My Front Porch said...

Oh my goodness...you have been busy...a good kind of busy! Good family...good food...good fun. And that was just the beginning? I'll be back for more.

Duchess of Tea said...

Darling, looks like you are having a great time. Reunions are always fun. Enjoy yourself and may God Bless you and your family.

Hugs ♥♥♥

Knitting Mania said...

Hey Sis, GREAT post, brought back all my good memories of just 2 weeks ago...Love your photo's...I'm stealing them for me too! Wink!!


Von said...

Way too much fun! I'm sure your cousin went home with lots of great stories about the West. :) Any plans for a family reunion back east?

Nana Trish is Living the Dream said...

After just visiting you sister's blog I realize you guys are into some fun and good fun. Those meatballs look yummy!

Sara said...

Hi Cindy - you are mightily blessed with family!

Charm and Grace said...

What a lovely visit it sounds like you are having. This is so great for you to all be together and get to do so many fun things. What memories you are making. Have fun and thanks for the pictures.


Vee said...

If I could only read pictures, I'd be able to tell what fun you all had. So Christina is a wee bit competitive, eh?

Just a little something from Judy said...

What a treat for us, that you open up your world and let us in. Seeing you and all of your family sharing, laughing together, eating together...I love having that priviliege. Memories you are creating for the children, will stick with them for a lifetime.

Barbara said...

What a wonderful time. Your first paragraph almost had me in tears. When my brothers emigrated to Australia in their early twenties, my Mother never saw them again.

I loved enlarging the pics that would elarge and it is so interesting to see the vastly different terain to here.

Proud Italian Cook said...

Cindy, What a beautiful family you have. I enjoyed catching up on all your posts. There's nothing like family, it's so true! Your granddaughters are stunning, so much joy!

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