Week before last I spent twenty-four hours with my mom, a much needed return to "hearth and home", so to speak.I had made the decision rather abruptly, I had four days off and I was rather bored and tired of being on this bloody island.I needed to get away and when I took the train from my mom's home the last time I was there, I realized that since it's so damned easy to get there, why not go?And the fact that she would be going back to school, and with our schedules being so opposite, it made sense to get a quick visit in whilst I could.
I got up very early and got my act together, taking a small bag with me with fresh underclothes and a second T-shirt and off I went.The eight o'clock train from Atlantic City to Philadelphia got me into Thirtieth St. Station close to the next connecting train to Huntingdon Valley so I ran to SEPTA and off I trundled to see my mommy!
I always have that moment of trepidation when I am on a train.Am I on the right one?Am I going in the right direction?Things like that.I have gotten on subway trains on the wrong side and ended up on the wrong end of the city from where I wanted to be.I did a quick scan of the passengers and realized I was on the right train because the area I was going to was full of the kind of people that were on the train.I rung my mom and we coordinated when I'd be there so she could come collect me.
She pulled up in a new chariot, which surprised, but didn't shock, me.Luckily I'm used to both her and my stepfather changing vehicles so I look for them driving more than the model of car.
We did the hug/kiss moment and off we went…SHOPPING!First, I needed nourishment.I hadn't eaten at all since getting up and I was starved.I had never been to a Red Robin so that was our choice and, right after I walked in and sat down and ordered, I was damn glad we chose this WONDERFUL place!The child that waited on us CARDED me!How sweet was that?What a way to welcome me to a new-to-me restaurant!After my mother giggled and smirked (expletive deleted), I showed the boy my identification and we enjoyed our afternoon cocktails and meal.My, I do like that Red Robin place!We finished up and off we went to the mall.She needed a jacket for a dress of hers but she didn't show me the dress so I was a bit hobbled as to the style and colour.She told me black so that narrowed it down (a bit) and we looked everywhere to no avail.Next time, I must be shown the item we are attempting to match if we are to find just the right accessory!We did end up at Boscovs, which was having a killer housewares sale.We got a huge wall clock for her newly renovated kitchen and a few other knick-knacks.We then went to the supermarket for items for dinner.I was going to be treated to a home-cooked meal!People, nothing, and I mean NOTHING, feeds the soul like a mother's home cooking!
After getting back to her home, I once again admired the new kitchen and raided the fridge for pickles.We sat and watched "Clean House" together and then prepared dinner.I was in charge of peaches, I had to peel and cut them for the peach and blueberry tart that she was concocting for dessert.
Yes, hot cats and cool chicks, this was to be a FULL meal made by the loving, nurturing hands of my very own mother!Soup to nuts, as they say!Speaking of nuts, Betty, my step-grandmother came up from her downstairs flat with a tray of assorted nuts and sat with us catching up on my life and I with hers.
My mom busied herself with the cooking and I went out to the deck to sweep the leaves and spider webs from under the chairs and table and get things set up out there.The grill gave us a bit of a problem but eventually lit and the steaks were thrown on it, filling the night air with a heavenly scent!I made the margaritas (the ONE drink I cannot make well, luckily they were the frozen kind) and (wait, I HATE making frozen drinks, too!Oh well, the extra tequila made up for it!) pretty much everything was done and we sat out under the stars for a delicious meal!
Appetizer: Pita pizzas with fresh Jersey tomatoes diced on top
Drinks: Frozen Margaritas
Main Course: Thick juicy steaks medium rare on the grill, fresh asparagus, baked potato with the fixins
Dessert: Peach and blueberry tart
We sat and talked about this and that and had a grand time there under the velvet canopy of the nighttime sky.I knew there were deer out there, just beyond the lights, watching us.They roam her property (as well as wild turkeys, rabbits and…sheep?!?) and it's not unusual to see a herd of them traipsing through when you look out the windows.
Dinner was finished, we sat and talked, letting everything digest.Then the clean up was underway.Afterwards, we sat and watched a little television, having a glass of wine and then wound down, finally going to bed.
I don't think I ever slept better!
Morning came and lo and behold, there were tools laid out for me to hang the clock.Mom eyeballed the spot where she wanted it hung and I dutifully did the manly thing, took hammer in hand and promptly destroyed her newly renovated kitchen!
The clock was hung beautifully!Perfect spot and perfectly matching the new kitchen.The wall is green and the clock has a complimentary green colour around the face, it looked quite nice hanging there.
I took a shower, my mom came back from dropping my stepfather off, and we sat talking for a bit more over lox and bagels.I began thinking about the time and realized I should be getting underway.I said my good-byes and off I went, wandering down to the train station and trying not to get killed in the process.You'd think a neighborhood as wealthy as Huntingdon Valley could pony up for a sidewalk or two!Most of the time I was walking in the winding street dodging the soccer-mom mobiles as the careened around the curves!
I got to the station and waited for the stationmaster, Joe, to finish his lunch so I could buy my ticket (I accidentally left my return ticket on the train coming up) back to Thirtieth Street Station.I used the time to read vintage pamphlets that adorned the walls of the Victorian era station learning a great deal about the café cars that used to be on the train lines and the sleek modern engines that can take you an astonishing forty miles an hour!
Once in the city, I looked at the schedule for the Gambler's Express (what they used to call the train to Atlantic City) and realized that if I waited for the three o'clock train, I could wander around Center City for nearly two hours!
And I did!
I text messaged and rang everyone I knew in Philadelphia, finally getting a hold of Charlie (or Charles, as he likes to be known by now-a-days.Bloody prissy hairdressers!) and I met him for lunch at this little downtown bistro, eating right out on the street.He had his new little pooch, Basil, with him.We ate and caught up, having margaritas (natch!) and I finally left him for my trek through that fabulous city back to the train station (after first getting my bearings, I got turned around a bit).
I got to my island of love at five and proceeded directly to work.Luckily the club is only a block from the train station.I set up and boomshanker, I was right back into the swing of things.
I am a life long resident of this little island on the east coast of New Jersey and I am the walking representation of Atlantic City. Which doesn't say much for the city. I'm a professional party guest.