Monday, January 11

January 2010

As soon as the New Year begins I begin making plans to travel North for our Lanza Family Reunion. This year was no different! From the time grand-daughter, Missy B, made her heart-felt plea for the sight, sounds and tastes of family we all (those who could get away)made our arrangements to gather at Liz & Harry's house in Hopewell, NJ. I flew to New York and visited with daughters, Mickey and Melissa, then drove to NJ. We have made the trip many times and it is an easy 2 hour drive, getting us there in time to pick up pizza from Franks in Flemington. The first night is spent in the kitchen eating pizza and planning for the weekend. Grand-daughter Kaitlin is there for a short time then gone to a friends to prepare for SAT tests.

Day two is a shopping day buying the food for the big Saturday night food fest: snack foods, main course and desserts. At the same time we buy a little special treat for the ones who come early, grand-daughter Malorie and Vito and grandson Tyler, and do the pre-party planning. We serve Dirty Martini's, King Crab Legs with drawn butter and green salad with baked Atlantic Salmon.

Saturday and as the day progressed they began to arrive: my wasband Dick, his wife Mary, daughter, Melissa, son Richard and his wife Schatzie and two grandsons, Sean and Dominick. who drove from North Carolina. The cooking begins with Richard preparing the filets, Ugly Potatoes, fresh green beans, shrimp and scallops. The phone rings and it's grand-daughter Missy B, who is sick and looking for a doctor. We give her advice about a doctor and continue cooking. Gifts for the silly gift exchange pile up; you draw numbers and pick a gift that someone can take from you. We know the exchange will get heated when a really good gift changes hands lots of times.

Missy B finally arrives looking pale but cheerful as usual. The buffet is put up and the dining room table set with an extra table in the living room. Everyone can be seated this year as there are only sixteen. We are missing eight people at this year's gathering but that's normal as it is winter and people have to work or have other obligations. The door opens and it is grandson Alex who has driven in from New York where he is working on a TV show. He lives in LA but this was one family gathering that is close to his work so he made sure he was here.

After dinner and gift exchange, that threatend to turn ugly, and folks begin to fade away: some to hotels and other's to guest rooms and the house gets quiet for the night. Early the next morning we all swing into gear again as they all begin to get up or arrive for a Sunday brunch. The big coffee pot comes out and Liz and Harry do the bagels and cream cheese with OJ. I take over the stove and make biscuits and sausage gravy, scrambled eggs and tons of fruit.

At the table we get an exchange of information from grandparents (who are both working; papa & Mary at the inn and grams (me) at a new book) brother Rich (looking for a new job) sisters (Mickey getting ready to graduate, Melissa (looking for listings for her C21 office) Liz (how she is juggling her job at J&J and a teenage daughter) daughter-in-law Schatzie (how it is going at the hospital), grand-daughters: Missy B & Malorie, (both who work for big corporations) and Kaitlin who is still in high school but also works at a daycare. grandsons: Alex, TV producer, Sean, who is the midst of moving to NC, Dominick, college student, Tyler, highschool student, and Marlorie's boyfriend, Vito, who works in investments and is interested in family history.

It's a lot to take in in a weekend but we manage and before you know it it's time to hit the road and my family departs for NY, NJ, CT and me back to TN. It must be a relief to our hosts; Liz and Harry, who have been the best ever hosts with the best food and the best humor to know they can relax and have time to unwind before work starts on Monday. I always hope we don't outstay our welcome and we are invited back next year.

The flight home was just like I like it, uneventful. As soon as I rest up from my nine day reunion it's time to pack and head for Florida. I look forward to winter in the sun.

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