My Aunt Rita was a trailblazer. In 1973, she moved her family from Brooklyn NY, living on the 8th floor of a 23 story hi rise apartment building, to a house in Englishtown NJ, approximately 40 miles away. That apartment building was almost exactly 400 yards away from my apartment building, we lived on the 15th floor. We couldn’t believe that they were leaving Brooklyn to go to New Jersey! Brooklyn had EVERYTHING! The best restaurants, the best PIZZA (That’s right Stanger!), shopping for just about anything within walking distance. What’s in New Jersey???
Long story short, my family traveled that 40.1 miles to my Aunt Rita’s house every Thanksgiving. I probably don’t need to tell you, but that 40.1 miles took about 2-3 hours on Thanksgiving. I still remember the car rides, especially the early ones, thinking my Aunt Rita and Uncle Lenny had lost it, this place is “barren”, “it’s in the sticks”. What didwe know, we came from the city. I can’t tell you exactly how many Thanksgiving holidays I spent at that house, but it’s by far the greater majority, probably at least 40.
Just to add a laugh to the story, I currently reside 4.8 miles from that house. We won’t be going there this year (Aunt Rita is fine, don’t worry!), my niece recently purchased a house in East Windsor NJ, and she decided she wanted to have Thanksgiving at her house, and Aunt Rita and Uncle Lenny will be joining us as well.
Why the long story? Because Thanksgiving is all about family, however big or small, it’s all about giving thanks for the people you have, and the food you have to share with them. I love my family, all of them, my sister, my nieces and nephew, my Aunt and Uncle and cousins , and although there have been times in my life when I’m sure I didn’t appreciate them enough, the truth is, I do. I look back fondly at those trips to NJ from Brooklyn, even though the traffic was a nightmare, and my dad cussed up a storm every year.
One funny anecdote before I go. On the way home, we had to go over the Driscoll Bridge to get to the Outerbridge Crossing which then took us through Staten Island to get to the Verrazano Bridge to get back to Brooklyn. There was a drive-in movie theater on the right side of the bridge, and when driving over the bridge, you caught a little glimpse of the movie as you passed, the screen was no more than 50-100 yards from the bridge. One Thanksgiving, they decided to show a movie with lots of nudity, and if the traffic wasn’t bad enough usually, you could imagine what happens when a movie is showing with naked women all over the screen. You could only see as you crested the top of the bridge, because they put up wood slats to block the view, but when you got to the pinnacle, you could see. Well, I was about 12, and that was the BEST ride home ever! So what that it took 3 hours, it was worth it!
Enjoy the day with your families, whether it’s the two of you, or 50. Appreciate what you have, and the people you have to share it with!
A Holiday Public Service Announcement from Piggy:
Every year thousands of humans say turkey is not enough and add pork to their menus
Many piggies die without reason.
The fact is turkeys are jerks and have it coming. Don’t eat ham today. Ham is for assholes.