|Mary, Ed, Tori, John|
On almost any night, Bourbon Street is a loud, wandering party. A little obnoxious, more decadent than you can imagine, but always entertaining. So we spent some time there Friday night with Tori's aunt Mary and uncle Ed, who were visiting from Arizona with a group of friends.
The friends were in town for a wedding, so after Friday night's long stumble through the Quarter, we had them to ourselves Saturday, took them to see the sculpture garden in City Park, and a tour through one of the city's many cemeteries. We've got cool cemeteries. This one features the biggest funerary phallic symbol I've ever seen. The person so honored is a former New Orleans Police Commissioner. (We believe the draping at the top of the column is a 19th century condom.) There's always something to see in a cemetery. (In Oregon we lived about 200 feet from an old cemetery, which is where I got a lot of names for various characters in books over the years.)
Sunday they all went on a swamp tour, the same one that Max and I went on a year ago with his biology class. (That's Max, greeting a baby alligator on the tour.) So we stayed home Sunday and recovered from the first two days of the excursion. Monday Tori took them all over – around the Garden District, then off to a restored antebellum plantation.
But this isn't really about the tour itinerary. It's about family. When Tori's brother died this spring, we realized she was the only person left from that particular nuclear family. She was the sole survivor. And I haven't been as close to my seven sisters as I should have been, there's only been a couple I keep in semi-regular touch with. We decided we needed to make more of an effort to reinforce those bonds. So it was great that Ed and Mary came out.
We've been talking about a trip west next summer, if for no other reason than we are still paying monthly rent on a storage unit in Albany containing – well, it's hard to remember what a lot of it is. Kitchen stuff that we've of course replaced, clothes that won't fit, a couple of thousand books – but also lots of family photos and other mementos. I made the mistake of doing the math, how long we'd been storing it and what it has cost. Ouch. Time to And now we've got another reason to go. We have a specific invitation to come by the river, where Mary and Ed live, and spend a couple of days. And we've got other family all over the west, plus lots of our oldest friends. We are the farthest east contingent of both our families, except of course, for Millie and Ben in NYC, but we claim them as ours.
So we'll have plenty to do. I don't see how we can make it in less than three weeks and see only a fraction of the people we want to. But that's the plan.
We couldn't have had a better weekend than the one we just spent showing our new home to family. They're airborne right now, on their way back to Arizona. It was great to see them.