Daytripping in New Jersey

Sorry.  There was no post yesterday (obviously).  I’m starting this Weird Wednesday series off to a terrible start.  (Wah-waaaaaaaaah.)  To describe that lack of a pilot episode, it’s a picnic basket left at your front door after my ringing the doorbell and ringing.  Looking out of your door window or peephole–depending on where you live–you see no one, so you open the door.  Seeing the basket at your feet, you wonder if:

  1. It’s a welcome basket left by a neighbor to welcome you to the neighborhood
  2. If you didn’t just move into the neighborhood, you might be worried, but that worry will only shiver you if the day wasn’t your birthday
  3. The basket may be filled with food, puppies and/or kittens, or something awesome that no one has ever seen before.
  4. The basket might not have any of those, and you begin to doubt as you search for a tag that reads:  It’s a trap!!!
  5. So you think this is all a trap.
  6. You shut the door.
  7. You return with a broom.
  8. You tap the basket.  You tap it harder.  You knock it on its side.
  9. Nothing spills out.  It’s empty.
  10. You worried over nothing.

Just like reading that 10-item list, you’re time has been wasted.  Congratulations.  Similar to yesterday:  you get nothing.

Uncle Michael in between bitchin' cars

Uncle Michael in between bitchin’ cars

Family happens, and I took a road trip to New Jersey for the day.  Northern Jersey, so a day trip is able to be accomplished.  Along with an aunt, my parents and I visited my Great Aunt Anne, who is currently residing in a nursing home.  I haven’t seen her in a while, and despite her probably not remembering us/me, I’m infinitely grateful to have made the trip.

There is a picture somewhere in the basement of my parents’ house, a shot of my Great Aunt with a plastic baseball bat in front of the tree of my my grandmother’s house, but that will have to take some searching.  As soon as I find it, I’ll post it.  It would only be appropriate despite the theme of the post it will go in.  My Great Uncle, seen above with his blue classic and my other uncle’s Firebird, would be proud since that is how he rolled.  Despite keeping that car immaculate, he was a man of his word, and I’ll get to that in a moment.

Uncle Mike and my Great Aunt Anne were hip people.  It was exciting to find out that the couple were swinging by my grandmother’s house in Wyckoff, New Jersey.   This may sound redundant for some–that’s life–but Grandmother’s house was a center of family gathering.  Aunt Liz and Uncle John still throw the big parties, but Grandmother (my brother and I didn’t have a nickname for her) had the house for big dinners and banter.  Every time we stopped by there was some mystery as to who was showing up.  My father being one of eight hints that our family spreads out.

Aunt Anne and Uncle Mike would usually have toys, which would make a lot of noise, for the great nieces and nephews.  The blips and beeps from these late 80’s and early 90’s handhelds were more for the parents; although, these games shut us up, our parents’ patience were tested time and time again, and we kids could not afford to keep buying the batteries.

Aunt Anne, Grandmother’s sister, would be the one to initiate and encourage our playing outside when the weather was nice.  As I stated, there is a picture of her holding a wide, green plastic bat, because we’d run around invisible bases in the front yard.

Uncle Michael, the partner in crime, was a character as well.  From head to toe, he would always dress and look the same.  Topped off with the same haircut, Uncle Mike would usually wear a button-down short-sleeved shirt.  Sometimes he’d wear slacks, or he’d wear shorts, which he would refer to as sawed-offpants.  Yes, there is more to this, but it’s completely inappropriate to say.  The shirts would have a chest pocket, which would contain a couple pens and a pad of paper.  That pocket-sized pad was a wealth of knowledge.  Contained upon those lined pages were (but not limited to):

  • Unique license plates
  • Adult jokes (These were adult jokes in the sense that kids did not understand them, and when (we) were finally able to we were never allowed to repeat them.)
  • Questions people would ask, and answers were never known
  • Names of the people next to said questions
  • Answers to those questions

Whenever he or someone were asked a question, Uncle Michael would write that question down if the answer was never given.  The next time he spoke to that person on the phone or saw them in person, he’d relay the answer.  The little things really do matter.  Sure, these questions were not too important, but he took the time to live up to an expectation that he placed upon himself.  We could always be assured that he’d enlighten us.

Aunt Anne and Uncle Michael were also incredibly artistic.  Grandmother was as well, especially with charcoal, and so it’s assumed that this artistic nature would be passed along.  It has.  Many aunts, uncles and cousins can all be included in this list. I’m not close to being a world-renowned guitarist, nor am I the next Pablo Picasso, but my abilities are with imagination and words–I am absolutely grateful for.  My grandmother (and her sisters) is where I get my Czech roots from.

Whenever we played Pictionary, I always wanted to be on Uncle Michael’s team, because he could really draw (like a boss).  It was almost cheating to be placed with him, because you were guaranteed an easy win.

A trip to Czech Republic is upcoming on my places to visit abroad, because it’s the remaining third of my nationalities that I have to cover.

My (nationality) Triforce is made up of:  Italian, Irish, and Czech roots.

This is silly to think this, but at times I wonder if maybe I should remain single, because money can be saved easily for my adventures abroad.  Sure, it’s selfish of me to say such things, but we’re all a little selfish.

Alas, here goes my getting off topic once again.  Habits do die hard.

Yesterday we ate lunch at Brady’s At The Station, an Irish Pub in Ramsey.  The joint has some great corned beef sliders, and the turkey and brie sandwich that I had was amazing; the cranberry dijon was a perfect addition.  We shared stories and caught up.  It’s funny to reflect and to listen in.  Our family is full of stories, and I’ll be glad to share some of them with you when appropriate moments come up.  Thursdays, perhaps.  Maybe segments are a great organizational method for my madness.

Before I forget, kudos to my cousin Johnny, who got an amazing scholarship to Northwestern; he’s the best wrestler in the country, and he deserves this accolade.   Maybe this is another sign for me to venture to Chicago to pursue dreams and to keep an eye on the little guy… who could kick my ass with one punch.

4 thoughts on “Daytripping in New Jersey

  1. Pingback: Flashback Friday: Malone Family Photos | The Infinite Abyss(es)

    • That is a picture of him when he definitely was in the moment. He was a character, but he’ll always be remembered.

      The best memory of my Great Uncle Mike, which I forgot to include was his singing “The Theme from New York, New York” at my aunt’s wedding (my father’s sister, who we visited and mentioned above). He had amazing talent. Plus, he was Italian, which also added to the ambiance of the song.

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