Sunday, June 29, 2008

Day 22 - Hot Ham Rock Band

June 28 - Before we met my cousins from my mother's side for lunch at Eddie's Restaurant, Kay and I made a side trip to Syracuse. My cousin Nancy had invited us to come and see my grandparents' old house, which she and her husband Greg now own. They've done a beautiful job of remodeling and updating what must be a nearly 100-year-old building. I didn't recognize much of the trip into town; Sac must have taken us a different way than our path from Kirkville. Some construction near the house even got her confused, but she recovered.

On the way back to Oneida, we found the First Unitarian Universalist Society of Syracuse, where I went to church as a child. From the outside, it looks exactly the same as it did in 1970, except perhaps for a fresh coat of asphalt on the parking lot. Reverend Ellsworth Reamon and his wife Hope were like an extra set of grandparents to all the children in the congregation.

The girls slept (and searched for breakfast in Erin's case) while we were gone and were ready to go to Sylvan Beach as soon as we returned. The trip from Oneida to Sylvan Beach was short, so we some of the half-hour extra exploring the countryside--particularly looking for the Teelins' old farmhouse, or at least for its former site, given that it burned down after the Teelins' sold it a few years ago. Not knowing an address other than R.D 2 Blossvale, I couldn't put Sac to work on finding the site. I made one wrong turn and wandered through the back roads for awhile--finally, I asked Sac to find "downtown" McConnellsville, a town just up the road. Sac put us back on the highway, and amazingly, I guessed correctly as to whether I needed to turn left or right. I found the property by finding the hill behind it where we went sledding in the winter.

Even at 1 p.m. our party of 21 dwarfed the entire remaining clientele at Eddie's. The restaurant looked about the same - I was pleased; I thought that perhaps the eyes of a child glorified the place in my memory. No fewer than 17 Teelins, spouses and girlfriends arrived in shifts--a power failure delayed a few. In fact, the waitress asked if we were there because of the power failure. I had no context in which to answer this question, so I told her that we were "from out of town," which seemed to satisfy her.

It takes willpower to consume half an antipasto salad, a hot ham sandwich, a large chocolate milkshake and any coconut cream pie (my favorites from the menu), but I persevered. I did not feel underfed. My family all seemed to enjoy the food, though Kay mentioned that it wasn't worth a 1400-mile trip by itself to eat lunch at Eddie's.

We posed under a gazebo for a group picture (the only downpour of the trip so far happened while we were trying to arrange this shot). From Eddie's we headed out to my cousin Marge's house, which sits on a corner of the old Teelin family property.

Off to breakfast now; more later.

It's about 10 hours later. Breakfast merged into our trip to Cooperstown, which I'll describe in tomorrow's post. Entertainment opportunities were rampant at the (Marge) Radley house - baseball, basketball, swimming, and ATV riding outdoors and the Rock Band video game indoors. You can imagine what I chose, as did Kallie and Erin when we joined what I dubbed the "Hot Ham Rock Band". I sang vocals on a few songs I did know ("Roxanne", "Suffragette City", "Won't Get Fooled Again") and several more that I didn't know, at least very well. Erin played guitar and Kallie played drums. After awhile, both finally worked up the courage to sing songs they knew really well. Erin scored 100% on "Dani California" by Red Hot Chili Peppers. We sang and played for the better part of three hours. I'm glad I didn't have to sing in the choir on Sunday.

While in the area we made two trips out to Blossvale (less than five miles away) to see the house where my mother was born and grew up. I actually lived there for a few months when I was an infant.

Canastota, NY, (Kallie calls it "Can - of - soda"), the next town westward from Oneida toward Syracuse, pictures itself as the home of boxing - apparently a couple of successful fighters hailed from this small town. We didn't go to the International Boxing Hall of Fame, but we did eat dinner Saturday night at Graziano's Italian Restaurant across the street. As I understand it, Graziano wasn't a fighter (at least not a champion), but he knew a lot of them, including recently defeated presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, whose autographed photo hangs in prime position behind the bar. Next door to the restaurant is Graziano's "World Famous" Inn (free wireless internet - sounds good to me!) All of this splendor is summarized by the sign "Titletown, USA" (which all the time I thought was Green Bay, Wisconsin). To cut to the chase, the food was surprisingly good - Kay and Kallie had chicken, I had baked haddock, and Erin had ravioli. By the time we finished it was almost 10:00, almost time for bed to rest up for a busy Sunday.

More pictures from the day are at

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