Monday, August 17, 2015

Amherst, New York - August 14 - 16, 2015

It was difficult to leave the Benedetti/Peters family, but after dinner on Friday night, at the FLX Wienery (flxwienery.com), a place in Dundee, New York serving delicious pork products and mouthwatering french fries and onion rings, I managed to tear myself away from the cute children and loving adults, and I headed to meet up with my friend, Jennifer, and her tennis playing daughter, Madison.  Madison was playing in a tournament just outside of Buffalo.

One of the perils of traveling in the evening is the dark.  I went south instead of north, and ended up driving all the way around Keuka Lake, and what should have been a two hour drive ended up taking nearly five hours.

Bless Jennifer's generous heart, though.  When i arrived in Amherst, NY, there she was, patiently waiting for me, with a key to my own room, with a king sized bed, at the Marriott Courtyard.

Madison, who is 13, did not want me to watch her play on Saturday morning, so I slept in, drove around, and read "Blue Highways."  Saturday night, the three of us went to a place in Williamsville, NY, called Creekside, and I finally got to taste a beef on 'weck.  It was delicious, but my stomach paid for a week of fun eating - hot dogs, tacos, cold pizza.

Madison Williams - age 13



Jennifer Hoben Williams 



I slept in again on Sunday morning, and then had lunch at Wegmans with Madison and Jennifer, where i practically dove into the fruit and salad bar.

Jennifer refused to let me pay for anything, saying it was her contribution to my trip. As we said good bye back at the hotel, i started to cry the way i used to when i said good bye to my mom and dad for any length of time.

Jennifer Hoben Williams and I have been friends since we were thirteen.  We met at John's Island, when there were few kids around, and even fewer extravagant amenities, like there are today.  She has been a stalwart in my life.  Earlier in this trip, on my way north, I stayed with her and her husband, Henry, at their gorgeous turn of the century Georgian home in Locust Valley, and reveled in her mothering nature.  Lunch, a manicure and pedicure, dinner out a lovely bistro, and driving around Locust Valley and Glen Cove looking at real estate made me feel at home.

She has appeared at the most wretched times in my life, seemingly out of the blue, knowing something was wrong.

When Jennifer and Henry walked into my dad's wake, i was overcome with emotion, and totally surprised. In the hospital, after my stroke, there she was, hovering over me, fussing, and bringing me things to eat and read.

After the good byes, Jennifer sent me on my way, and i drove to the Canadian side of Niagara Falls, and rode along the Niagara Parkway.  What a peaceful way to spend a summer Sunday afternoon.  Getting back into the states at the border crossing was slow, but not unbearable, giving me chance to get my wits about me for my journey to Youngstown, Ohio, about three hours away.


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