East vs. West
I went to Pennsylvania over Labor Day Weekend for my niece’s wedding. I hadn’t seen her for almost ten years, when she came out for a week’s visit. It was a joyous occasion and I got to spend time with my brother and sister-in-law and my sister and her new beau, as well as see my nephew Ben, whom I hadn’t seen for at least fifteen years. Why so long? Because I live in the Southwest and they all live in the East.
I grew up in New Jersey. When I drove the rental car from the Pittsburgh airport to the wedding venue, about seventy miles into a more rural setting, my senses overloaded with the overwhelming greenness. Although I live in the pines in the summer, these trees were so thick of green that nothing showed through them. The cornfields are surrounded by contours of green, maybe crops, maybe just grass. The contrast between the starkness of the southwest and these over-green mountains astounded me. I love both. Even the remembered San Francisco Peaks seemed rocky compared with these hills.
My sister and her beau live in New York City. Of course none of the meals we ate compared to their usual cuisine, at least according to him. My sister is more amenable to bland food. We drove out into the countryside and ate at a family-owned place advertised as “lakeside dining.” The restaurant was on a small pond, but my sister delighted in watching the ducks and geese from our table by the window. My sister and I reminisced about childhood days gone by.
I should mention that the Pittsburgh airport was a dream compared with Sky Harbor. The rental car booth was inside the terminal and the cars were across the walkway. Never have it gotten into a rental car easier! I managed to get everything into my new carry-on bag, one of those pieces of luggage that one wheels while it’s upright. So I skipped baggage claim altogether. I also have a GOES pass (similar to TSA precheck but global) so I breezed through the security checkpoints.
The wedding was held in a copse of pine trees. It looked just like Munds Park. We sat on rough-hewn benches. First down the aisle were the eight bridesmaids and groomsmen. Except one of the groomsmen was a young woman, the sister of the groom. She matched the others in her gray suit. Then came the groom with his mother and father on each side of him. My brother and his first wife escorted my niece down the long aisle. She looked like she’d stepped out of the pages of Vogue. Her gold mesh birdcage veil was perfect with her elegant gown. My twenty-eight-year-old nephew held up the train of her dress.
This is a photo of my brother Joe and his wife Judy under the chuppa with the bride and groom.
This is a photo of my sister Evelyn and her beau Russ.
The hors d’oeurves were delicious, especially the lamb chops. The band was terrific and I got to sit with my brother, sister, and some of my brother’s friends whom I knew from back when.
The bride and groom were lifted up in chairs during the Hora, a traditional Jewish dance.
This is my brother dancing with his daughter, the bride.
The Weissman siblings at the reception.
I drank in as much greenery as I could to store it up for the days in the desert when I miss it. I love the stark beauty of the West, but sometimes I do yearn for the green.