The reasons for travelling included the impending wedding of my mother's elder sister's eldest son's daughter, the opportunity to let my mother bask in the happy glow of familial love, and the opportunity to actually travel around in my Mom's old stomping grounds from her elementary school days. Secondarily, we would see a few of the sites of the big city there.
The California contingent of the family included forestcats, me, my sister the artist, my mother, and my mother's younger brother's son. This group flew in on three separate flights; the cousin actually worked, a bit, on the first two days, as long as he was going to be in town there, anyway.
We arrived on Thursday, and met Mom & sister at the airport. Both flights were late, but ours arrived about fifteen minutes earlier than Mom's. Sis was supposed to turn on her cell phone on arrival, but rather than doing it when the flight landed, she waited until they'd picked up their baggage, thereby freaking us out. We rented a large vehicle, loaded up everything, and drove to the hotel.
We stayed at a Holiday Inn only two blocks from the site of the wedding, not far from the State Capitol, in St. Paul. The Minnesotans were all freaked out by the bridge failure of I-35W, but the traffic, bad as it might have been, was nothing compared to the Ventura Freeway on an average day.
We had dinner in the Irish pub on the ground floor of the hotel with the whole gang. forestcats ran out of steam, but my sis and the cousin went out to see the Walker Art Museum that evening, since it was open until 9PM, and free.
Next morning we tooled out to the cemetary where many of the relatives on Mom's side of the family are interred. I'd been there before, 26 years ago, for the burial of my grandmother. A rich relative had paid for a dozen plots there, and several generations of family are present. Total of thirteen, to be exact, and we found them all.
Following that, the cousin went back off to work, and we went to find Mom's old house. We did, and it's in great condition, and we found the lilac bushes that have to be about a century old, that my grandmother loved. forestcats got lots of photos, so that was very cool. We then walked a block down through an alleyway, just like Mom used to do, to see her elementary school. It's very much like it was, back in the forties, but the odd thing was that it was wide open; school was still out, but there was a lot of electrical work going on. The entryway had a greetings poster in English, Hmong, Spanish and Somali. Curious.
We wandered more that day, including in our tour Mom's high school, which has been rebuilt; Mom's favorite post-school diner, which was still there, and which still makes very nice food. We tried, and failed, to find her synagogue, but we did find the old homes of other members of her family.
Then back to the hotel to change before we went to the Rehearsal Dinner.
It was held in a park that couldn't have been eight miles from the hotel, but the couple were worried that we'd be stuck in traffic. We ignored their concerns; the highway speed was about 45MPH. I'd call that "not bad". We got there in no time.
The Dinner was held in a open-sided structure at the park with several grills and bathrooms. It turns out that the groom brews beer as a hobby. This saddens me, as I couldn't taste the various concoctions. I understand that they were pretty good. (While we were out on our perambulations, we found a shop that was devoted to the brewing art for hobbyists; it turns out that he works there part-time. Oh, and while there, I picked up books on making cider and mead, among other topics)
We got a chance there to meet members of the bride's family who we hadn't seen in some time. The friends of Bride & Groom, though, looked like they'd been emptied out of the frats and sororities of the MidWest.
This is getting long; I'll do other days on other posts.