We had a lovely Thanksgiving dinner, courtesy of my brother Howie and his wife Laurie in Rochester, New York. They hosted seventy relatives and friends at one of their two Sticky Lips barbeque restaurants, and even invited in strangers from out of town who couldn’t find an open restaurant and noticed all the cars parked outside. He made up nine turkeys and gave us free access to beer on tap, like Sam Adams Cherry Wheat and Naked Dove Seasonal. We all brought food, and most of the dessert was left over simply because we couldn’t cram anything more into our gullets.
The day before, we began our drive to Rochester at 5:45 a.m., starting out early in the rain to get ahead of the snow in Pennsylvania before it accumulated. Meanwhile, Clare and Kyle were at our house packing out. Since we had a piano she was taking with her, and you can only pack out of one place, over time she accumulated here everything she wanted to ship via air freight or ocean freight to Colombia. A few days later a neighbor came over, wondering if we were moving again. No, you’re not getting rid of us again that soon!
The day after, we ate ribs and pulled pork at my brother’s other Sticky Lips restaurant. He bought the building it’s in and, inspired by Walt Disney, is in the process of turning it into a tourist destination, adding a micro-brewery, an improv comedy club, and a restaurant where the wait staff sings. In honor of Kodak where our father worked, he’s going to call it Photo City Junction.
The next day Mom and I took a trip down memory lane by attending a live performance of The Nutcracker at Eastman Theater with the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra. When I was in third and fourth grade, I danced on the same stage with the same orchestra in The Nutcracker, as an angel. She ferried me back and forth downtown for rehearsals. It was good to see so many children participating in the version we saw, with the youngest dressed as elves and sprites. This one Tchaikovsky ballet has made ballet lovers out of millions! Thinking about how Herr Drosselmeyer makes the Christmas tree become gigantic after the household goes to sleep always brings a smile to my face.