Every morning, Grandpa Paul takes Anthony for a walk to the Super Fresh grocery store which is only 2 1/2 blocks from the house. They've been making this ritualistic trip every morning as Grandpa picks up fresh vegetables and fruits for the day. About 1/2 of the store clerks know Anthony by name and they exchange greetings and smiles.
As we approach the fish counter, Anthony says to Grandpa."buy me fish."
"Do you want fish for lunch today?", asked Grandpa.
"Yes. I like fish for lunch today." answers little Anthony who indeed does usually finish the fish that Grandpa cooks about three times a week for him.
Debbie, the fish lady tells us when the flouder is "fresh"... usually on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. Then she'll pick out a nice 2 oz piece and feel for bones. If there are any, she'll cut them out before wrapping the fish for us. Sometimes Anthony will go behind the fish counter with Debbie and she'll pull out a live lobster from the tank and let Anthony touch it.
Shopping for the lunch is almost as much fun as eating it!
Aloha, Grandpa Hsueh Wen!
"Anthony, where are you going on March 29th?", asked Grandpa
"I'm taking an airplane to Hawaii", answers the little boy.
"Is Grandpa going with you?", asks Grandpa
"No." answers Anthony shaking his head. "Just Mommy and Daddy"
"You have a Grandma in Boston. You have a Grandma in Hawaii. What's her name?",
Without hesitation, he answers,"Grandma Ivy."
"And you have another Grandpa too and he lives in Hawaii. What's his name?"
Anthony smiles confidently,"His name is Hsueh Wen."
It's amazing, the little guy really does understand so many things that are going around him and the many relationship and different people and where they live and who they are in relationship to him. Not bad for a 2 1/2 year old.
Kevin's Getting Ready...
In late May, Kevin will graduate from Columbia's School of Business and will move out of his Morningside apartment. For the next 5 months, he'll be moving around until in December. Then he moves to La La Land to start his new job.
Well, he getting ready for his move(s). On Dad's last visit to NYC, Kevin had prepared quite a few boxes to be moved and stored back in the Boston area... things he will not need in NYC, nor L.A., but also too good to throw out.
Columbia has been a very good experience for Kevin. The two years just flew buy. Where will Paul stay in NYC as he makes his regular monthly drives to Philadelphia? It's always been fun to stop and Kevin's, visit with him, has a nice dinner with him and sleep over.
Kevin Sings in Paris
For Spring Break, Kevin and his Columbia a cappella group, The Clefhangers took advantage of cheap airfares and went to Paris. Highlights of the trip for Kevin: biking around the palace at Versailles, singing for tourists at the Eiffel Tower, and having baguette sandwiches for lunch every day! Yum!
Other touristy stuff Kevin visited: Notre Dame, Saint-Chappelle, the Louvre, Sacre Coeur, Musee D'Orsay, the Rodin gardens, and L'Arc de Triomphe. On the right is a picture of Kevin standing in them middle of the street in front of the famous Arc. The street is the Champs-Elysees, but you can't see the myriad of high-end retail stores in this photo.
In college, Kevin travelled with the Brown Derbies to Japan as well as Russia and the Baltic States. Where will he sing next? Maybe it's time to visit the southern hemisphere!
Ron Rained Out.
A big NorEaster of a rain storm sweep into the Boston area in late March. To the south, there was flooding, and to the north, there was 10 more inches of snow. The heavy rain combined with the melting snow on the ground to put real pressure on the storm drains, sewers and rivers and dams.
"Hello, Paul. Do you have an extra futon for me to sleep on tonight?", asked Ron over the telephone. The Newton drains are full and water was backing up in his apartment and the workmen were there trying to correct the situation. The water in the apartment had been shut off, so no washing, no toilets, and lots of cleaning up to do.
Rachel picked up Ron on her way home from work. He had his toothbush packed and was ready for a good dinner at Paul's.
Water, Water, Everywhere
Yup, Ron got flooded in his apartment. Rachel's younger brother, Tierry had four plus feet of water in his basement. With 8 inches of rain on top of melting snow, there was certainly a lot of water in the ground. Paul thought that he was going to be lucky. It was already Saturday morning, his basement was bone dry, he was working on refinishing the butcher block counter tops of his kitchen and he and Rachel decided to make a quick day trip to the Bershires to look at some time share units.
At 5 PM they returned home and Paul went to the basement to get some new sand paper. Yikes! Water. Water everywhere! A good 5 inches of water. Where was it coming from. Paul threw his small pump that he uses to empty the jacuzzi into the water... nothing happened....the pump didn't work. Great! Rachel started bailing with buckets. Paul wanted to phone Taylor Rental, but it was past 5 PM and they were closed for the weekend. Off to Home Depot.
Paul was able to get a small 1/6 HP pump from Home Depot for $85. They were selling like hot cakes. The little pump seemed to do the job. By midnight, the water level in the basement was down under 1 inch. Better turn it off and check it and the water level again in the morning. Oh, oh! More rain and snow are forcast for tomorrow!
Pennsylvania Dutch Country
In early Spring, Paul made another day trip to the Lancaster, Pa area, the hub of the Pennsylvania Dutch community of the USA. He used the Yahoo map finder to get directions from home to Lancaster. It was a beautiful drive out along the rolling hill of the rich farmlands of the area.
Highlight of this visit was a stop at the Amish Farm and House in Lancaster. It's located on Route 30, adjacent to the American Musical Theater.
The Farm was the home of a "House Amish" family until the mid 1950's when the house and farm were turned into a public museum and educational site. "House Amish" are the Amish who worship God in their homes and do not have a church. Then too, there are "Church Amish" who go to church on Sundays and worship God. The Amish are an off-shoot of the Mennonites of Germany. In about 1700, the Amish split off for they felt that the Mennonites were not strick enough in following God's will to live and worship more conservatively. At the invitation of William Penn, the Amish and the Mennonites came to Pennsylvania in 1725 to help to settle and farm the land. Penn wanted hard working people of good character to help settle his land holdings.
A tour of the house is $6.50 per adult and one gets a wonderful lecture and guided tour. Lots of history and lots of new things to see and learn. These are an interesting people who still florish in the Lancaster area and many other parts of the country and Ontario, Canada.
They still drive their horse drawn carriages and do not drive cars. Their houses today do not have telephones, electricity, nor town provided gas lines. They are a very simple people who are still "pacifists" and also wait until young adulthood to baptise their young children into their faith.
They are a hard working and very independent lot, and care for one another and don't look to the government(no social secruity for them)to take care of their needs.
Dienner's Country Restaurant
What would a trip to the Pennsylvania Dutch Country be without a good Amish meal? Well we found a lovely place that is certainly good enough for us to recommend it to our friends.
Dienner's Country Restaurant is located at 2855 Lincoln Highway( Route 30) in East Ronks, Pa., just before you get to Lancaster. The outside is not very fancy and one could easily get diverted to a fancy "tourist stop" if one looks at the road signs and the facades that are bright and shiny.
Dienner's had wonderful and simple "Home cooking". The price of a buffet lunch is $6.60 per adult. Anthony was $1.20 for his buffet... he ate about $10.00's worth. He really liked the food, drinks and deserts! It was really simple cooking and the taste reminded one of Mom's home cooked meals.
The waitresses were all in the Amish dresses and the service was friendly and good.Their hours of business are 7 AM until 6 PM Mondays through Saturday. Closed on Sundays.
Give yourself a treat and relax and enjoy.
Free Turkey or Ham
Wow! A free turkey or ham at Super Fresh. If one purchases $250 worth of groceries just before the Easter Sunday holiday, one receives their choice of one free turkey or one free ham. Super Fresh will usually run this special at Thanksgving time and at Christmas as well. Seems it used to be , purchase,$150 worth or groceries and get a free turkey. Then, last year, it was purchase $200 worth of groceries. Now, it's buy $250 worth of groceries and get a free turkey!
In any event, $250 worth of groceries is a piece of cake and the Bau's always make good use of their free turkey.
Dinner @ Deanna's
Kevin and Paul wanted to share dinner with Deanna on Paul's stop-over in NYC on his was home from Philadelphia. Rather than eat out, Deanna decided to invite them to her home for short ribs cooked in a "Dutch Oven", some Panatoni, a nice bottle of Italian wine and some very expensive chrysanthemum tea. Yummy!
The baked short ribs were tender and very tastey. "Best short ribs I've had in years", commented the Weston Food Critic.
"Going out to dinner in Manhattan on a Sunday night is not a great idea", added the hostess, pleased with her own cooking as well.
Kevin, who had just returned from Paris had some "jet lag" and some homework to do before school the next morning, so the guests just ate and ran.
It's interesting to note the prices of gasoline at different locations on the East Coast. On his trips to Philadelphia, Paul always tries to gas up his auto in N.J. close to Philly. Normally, the gasoline there is a good $0.10 cheaper than the cheapest gasoline in the Boston suburbs. Say $1.37 a gallon versus $1.47 in late March.
On his day trip to Lancaster, Pa, he had to gas up in the country. Gasoline in the heart of Pennsylvania Dutch Country was $1.27/gallon. Of course the Amish people don't use a lot of gasoline to power their horse drawn carriages. I wonder what the price of oats is at this time?
One has to exercise more caution for oneself and one's property when in NYC. With out-of-state license plates on one's vehicle, it is wise not to leave anything in view when parking on the street. Better yet, it is smart not to leave one's vehicle parked on the street, but to use off-street parking or indoor garages.
Paul always parks his car indoors in Manhattan and then uses subways, walking or taxis to get around. He did this again last visit, but then noticed, his quarter coins, which he uses for tolls and were just filled before pulling into the indoor garage, were almost empty when he pulled out of the garage the next morning. It was probably two or three dollars in quarters missing and Paul did not go back to say anything to anyone... no sense in it. Sad, but these petty things can keep one on guard. Next time, don't leave so many tempting coins in the ash tray!