Friday, August 8, 2008

On the road north

Well, here I sit, in a mediocre hotel room in Massachusetts, awaiting our dinner-date with my aunt and cousins. After about 8 hours in the car with my dad, husband, and son, I'm grateful for a little quiet time with my dear friend, Laptop. Hello, Laptop, how I've longed for your glow.

I can't believe this place with the water-stained walls, the basement-musty smelling a/c unit, and the burn holes in the bedcovers has complimentary wireless, but I'm thrilled. Also thrilled that there's a pool in which Big Daddy and Sweet Boy can play a little while. Ahh...quiet.

This evening we'll be in New Bedford, my dad's hometown nicknamed "the whaling city" because it was once home to the whaling industry. (It's the city that inspired Moby Dick, which I have never read, but its full text lives on the web, so I really should check it out one of these days.) New Bedford is a working class city right on the water, between Boston and Cape Cod, with rich ethnic and cultural heritage. The population is almost 40% Portuguese (much like me, who is 50% Portuguese), and when we were kids we always got a thrill looking in the phone book to see the pages and pages of people with our last name, which was very uncommon in southern New Jersey. In the past 10-15 years, the city has really come up, and a great deal has been done to restore it's downtown area. One of the highlights of a visit a few years ago was a couple hours in the New Bedford Whaling Museum, which gave me a much greater respect for the whaling and fishing tradition in this part of the country (and a bit of pride to have family roots in such an interesting niche in American history).

Anyway, Big Daddy and Voo have been talking about dinner at Me & Ed's for, oh, like 11.5 months, since just after the last time we visited the family here. And with good reason: You don't get seafood like this anywhere. I mean, sure it's good in Maryland or California or even Florida, but New Bedford seafood tastes like they just pulled it out of the sea and warmed it a minute before serving it. And at Me & Ed's, you can get it with garlic-smashed potatoes, my personal favorite touch. Awesome.

(Fast-forward to about 11pm...)

Well, Me & Ed's did not disappoint. We had a great meal -- topped off with the menfolk groaning about their overstuffed bellies -- then went back to the house to play a little while. Really good visit. Sweet Boy and his cousin (who he kept calling "my best friend") played with bubbles and cars, and he tore up her bedroom while she very patiently stood by. (Thank you, patient girl!) The men could talk Red Sox for a little while, and we girls caught up and laughed a bit. I wish we could see this chunk of family more often, and every year I say "this is the year we'll visit more than once!" but alas...maybe this year. I hope.

Day 1 was long, but the night was deliciously good.

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