Two weeks ago the Missus and I drove into Manhanntan with her parents for a family reunion on her father's side. After getting off the 59th Street Bridge I took out my cell phone and took these shots of an ivy covered building through the moon roof of my father-in-law's CR-V:
The reunion party was much better than any of us anticipated - this side of my wife's family has a lot of bad blood between people, and there were fears of arguments and grandstanding from the hosts.
But none of that happened; we were there to celebrate family, specifically how everyone was there on account of the elders of the family, Rocco and Josephine, who came over to America in order to make a better life for their children. Well into their 80's, husband and wife sat in the middle of the ballroom as a representative from each table was asked to come up to the band stage and say a few words about the family.
When the time came for someone to speak from our table, my father-in-law asked me to do it. He's prone to get emotional at these types of things, and we all knew that if he tried to speak, he'd cry. So I agreed, and went up and took the microphone.
I spoke about how happy I was to see everyone, and how great is was that we could all come together. And since I was not directly here as a blood relative, I wanted to speak on behalf of everyone there who had the honor, privilege and joy to be married into the family. At this point I had already consumed more than my normal (normal typically being "1") amount of cocktails, so I also began to choke up a bit. I mumbled out a few more thanks and went back to my table.
A few hours of dancing, eating, and laughing later we made our way through the families, saying our goodbyes and promising to get in touch with each other more often. When we got to Rocco he kissed me on the cheek (kissing between men in Italian culture is a big deal, so I usually manage to curb my aversion to being touched by people I don't know) and said thank you. I had gotten a lot of compliments that night and was feeling pretty high about the whole event.
Yesterday morning we got the news that Rocco died in his sleep. This weekend we're all getting back together again, and for the life of me I wish we weren't.
Whenever I close my eyes all I see are buildings stretching out above me.