for he’s a jolly good fellow

Things have happened, and I’m only just now starting to write about them. Let’s start with the trip to NY.

It came to our attention last year that our Uncle Fred (who is one of our absolute favorite people, let alone uncles) was turning 50 in 2014. My sister, Morgan, had the brilliant idea to help him celebrate it by showing up, unannounced, in New York.

Months upon months of planning later, we did it. All twelve of us (as Uncle Fred so eloquently put it, his “brother, his wife, his five children, his three sons-in-law, and his two granddaughters”) flew up to Rochester, NY, to spend a long weekend with Uncle Fred and Aunt Stephanie and figuratively bang the pots and pans and pop the champagne to ring in our uncle’s new year.

Because Uncle Fred is a planner, we FaceTimed him three weeks in advance to tell him we were coming, and I think he was suitable surprised and pleased. I say “pleased” rather than “excited”, because neither Uncle Fred and Aunt Stephanie are effusive people. It might be the whole Northern thing.

The weekend included great food, a craft beer tasting (Uncle Fred is big into beer), NY pizza, too many games of pool, a chance to see our other Northern uncle and his wife, four children, and two hangers-on, a beautiful road trip out to Niagara Falls (a first for my husband and my two brothers-in-law!), a lot of red wine, and a visit to the cemetery where my grandparents are buried. I also have a newfound yearning for Wegman’s to come to Charlotte. PLEASE, Great Powers That Be of Wegman’s…

The most eventful part of the journey was undoubtedly the trip home, when we flew from the Buffalo airport to the LaGuardia airport and had a 25 minute layover to catch our Charlotte flight. Has anyone ever been to the LGA airport? Can I see a show of hands, please? So you know how big it is, right?

Well, we asked the flight attendants on our BUF-LGA flight to help us out and maybe make an announcement to let us get off the plane first (we are 12 people all trying to make one connection, you know), but they didn’t lift a finger. Our first flight left ever-so-slightly late, and then our landing was delayed because LGA was redoing their runways, and basically one thing after another went wrong. When the plane doors finally opened, there was a mad dash out to the terminal. We had less than 15 minutes to make the connection, so we sent two of our party sprinting out to the connecting gate (across the entire airport, of course); we sent one person to our current gate to have them call over to the connecting gate and tell them to hold the plane; the airport sent one of those coveted little golf cart things to help tote us over to the connecting gate; we piled nine people + driver onto the little cart, which was surely only supposed to fit four; we ran wildly through the remainder of the terminal, when the cart could take us no further, and tumbled onto our plane breathing thanks to all flight attendants and gate agents involved in our rescue.

It was a miracle we made it, and really, really good, because there were no more Charlotte flights out that night, and we would have had to spend the night in the airport WITH TWO LITTLE TINY CHILDREN WHO WERE OVERTIRED AND SICK. (!)

Baruch HaShem.

Speaking of sick, we all came home and promptly got sick (with the exception of maybe one or two of us). It has not been fun, but we are on the mend, and Uncle Fred is definitely worth it.

Happy birthday, Uncle Fred! We love you!

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