As always, The Smith Family Players had an amazing adventure getting to Waverly. We flew from LAX to Dulles airport. We spent two funnish-filled days in Georgetown/D.C. area. I say "funnish" because it is not fun to spend two days in a hotel with two children under four. They are cute and all, but man oh man, are they MOODY!!
Aren't these just about the cutest little hotdogs you have EVER seen? Courtesy, Johnny Rocket's Kids Menu.
As we made our way north, we were peppered with demands (Goldfish, and other "tasty snacks") and questions. "Are we there yet?" was, of course, the mantra of the day.
We stopped at this lovely rest area in LaPorte, Pennsylvania. And yes, they still have a telephone booth there. They like to rock it old school in PA.
Mr. Smith got to experience a rest stop bathroom with what could only be described a toilet seat with a hole in the ground. To quote my niece, A1, "Don't look down, Grammy!"
H was so happy to be out of his car seat that he ran around like a wild animal and then refused to get back in the car for about 10 minutes. Although the boy appears to be in fighting shape in this photo, immediately after these were taken, he announced, "My throat is bad" and proceeded to projectile vomit for the rest of our trip to Waverly. Once again, traveling with kids, always risky.
During our journey we passed St. Basil's Church in Dushore, PA that some of my ancestors helped construct. Absolutely beautiful with a ton of family history. There are legions of my relatives that were married, baptized and even eulogized in that church.
Mr. Smith was a little surprised by the number of Adult Bookstores in PA. He doesn't understand how long and lonely the winter can be. I thought it was hilarious that they have large parking lots to allow tractor trailer parking!
After a few brief, but necessary stops (change vomit-soaked clothes, procure Dramamine, paper towels and a few boo boo presents) we arrived in Waverly. It is not exactly like Brigadoon, it is there all the time. You don't have to wait for 100 years to pass. But it is beautiful and peaceful in a way that Southern California is not.
In the summer it is green and lush, instead of brown and dry and occasionally on fire. I have been traveling to this lovely place for decades. The pace is slower, the air is cleaner (in comparison to Orange County) in this spot. Despite the fact that the farm is directly across the road from train tracks, you will never get a sounder night's sleep.
My aunt and uncle got married as teenagers, had three children. As a young husband, my uncle Jim rebuilt the house (originally his grandmother's) after the devastating flooding of the Chemung River in 1972 (after hurricane Agnes dumped 20 inches of rain). His family has lived on the land for generations, farmed the land and sold the fruits of their labor.
The strawberries, cucumbers, sweet corn and potatoes are legendary. There is nothing to equal them in my mind.
Their produce is legend in the valley. My aunt still makes homemade strawberry jam, lots and lots and lots of jam. Here they are, lined up like rubies in her freezer. Delicious!
We gathered for a big, rambling, loud, Irish family reunion. My mother is one of five sisters, three were in attendance and in rare form.
The final count, 48 attendees on July 4th! Yikes.
Uncle Frank made popcorn. Yup, that's his popcorn maker. He brought it with him!
Uncle Frank made lemonade, and Sno-Cones in preparation for his seaside snack stand of the future. The moment the Sno-Cone machine was unpacked, a long line formed.
It occurred to me that they grow most of the ingredients for one of Emeril's best side dishes. Is called Maque Choux and I have made it several times for Thanksgiving. The thing to do is get yourself some of the corn that is only grown at Birney's farm. Cut the luscious kernels off the cob, make sure to capture every single one and get that corn milk! Don't waste a single drop! You can freeze it or you can make it right away. Either way you won't be sorry. It is a lovely alternative to creamed corn.
All in all it was a lovely week. We had a wonderful time. I got to show off my babies and my husband. There was no drama, no lawsuit for a whole week, no lawyers. It was pure bliss!
Thank you to Maureen and Jim for their hospitality that appears to know no bounds. You made our stay so wonderful and so special. Thank you for opening your home to all of us.
In the next installment: the journey home. Holy Moses, was that a trip!