Luke’s party was at 3pm which meant we didn’t have to leave
until around noon, but with my dad’s childish stall tactics in play (he HATES
family get-togethers) we didn’t actually leave the house until closer to 1pm.
When we were finally able to drag him out to the car, the
first thing he did was complain about the “damned caterwauling” on the radio.
There was nothing “wrong” with the singer’s voice, he just wanted to spread his
misery around which he proved by demanding mom change the station to something
he liked even though: a) he didn’t say what that might be, b) he refused to
take the station list she handed him, and c) she was DRIVING at the time.
We were finally able to agree on FNC radio – okay, it was
the station least protested – which was providing round-the-clock coverage of
the hurricane: the accrued damages, the evacuations and the storm’s projected
path all with Shepard Smith’s over-excited – almost giddy – mantra of “NYC’s
gettin’ a HURRICANE!”
It was 3pm, and we were barely to Hamburg yet, but dad
insisted on stopping at a gas station to pick up snacks for the hotel room. I
was able to go in, use the restroom, buy a coffee and come out before mom was
done at the pump. Dad took another 10 minutes to come out with a single
half-filled bag of… whatever. Did I mention he hates family get-togethers?
We arrived sometime after 4pm, and I helped mom take the
presents out of the back of mom’s car, while dad just stood there complaining
loudly about a “lack of directions.” Finally, he stormed off to the side patio
for a “kids-today-are-outta-control” rant with my Luke’s other grandpa.
Meanwhile, the dozen or so small children assembled for my
nephew’s party were playing in the backyard, oblivious to any coming storm.
They’d remain that way until the gradually darkening skies finally gave way to
short bursts of moderately heavy rain – a brief sampler of things to come later
Dinner, in the form of sloppy joes and hors d’oeuvres was
served around 6pm, and the rain had let up enough for us to eat outside (under
a small tent). The cake was served around 7pm, and we left for the hotel shortly
before 9pm in the fierce wind and heavy rain… conditions that were expected to
continue through my niece’s christening the next morning.