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Visiting Family in New York State

Steve (my brother) and I drove up to Rome to visit Mom and his daughters who live in Utica, Herkimer, and Camden. There was a winter snow-storm in Norwich and Utica Thursday night, but thankfully the roads were clear by the time we drove through Friday night. Beautiful scenery though with all the fresh snow and trees with one side coated and other side bare.

My nieces are very able to create a lot of noise, warmth, and good cheer. I am getting together with some high school chums (Terry, Melissa, Ant, and Paul) later tonight for a few hours. My old stomping grounds of Utica, New Hartford, Oriskany, Rome, Verona, and Westernville have changed a lot in many ways (mostly the steady decline in population, revenue, and business) and remain exactly the same in others (the local radio station is still playing the same rock playlists I grew up with in the 1970s and 1980s).

Most of all it’s cold. Daily highs of 19 degrees F are warm for this time of year here, so long as it is sunny and calm, and people just trudge around the piled up snow and admire the frosted trees; but my blood has thinned out living in Virginia/DC/Maryland since 1990, and it feels very cold to me. I do not miss having snow melt off my boots and get on the floor where I take them off, nor the crazy parking when no one can see guide lines in large parking lots because we are all parking on top of an inch of packed snow and ice. The frosted trees are pretty, but the brown slush on the roads and next to them takes away from the ambiance.

A pack of family is in the kitchen now making “double fudge balls” and it’s a pleasant sound. Mom’s partner is watching a football game in the front room, and the remaining nieces are all playing with holiday gifts in the back room. The cat, who is now quite elderly, is curled up in his bed, and all seems right in the world.

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