Fredonia, NY

I made the mistake of staying out too late Friday night. This means I woke up not feeling as well as I should to be ready for a road trip and wedding weekend. This also means I was late picking up my date. I arrived at 12:30, we had a quick sandwich that I had brought (left over beer can chicken) and made our way out the door for the two hour drive to Fredonia, NY. I was heading there for a wedding of two of my friends from Charlotte. He was from Fredonia and her family was all in Charlotte, so it worked out great for me that it was there. If it was in Charlotte, I’m not sure if I would’ve been able to make it.

Our target was to be there by 2, but my delay caused that not to happen. We got to my date’s mom’s place (she is from there) at 2:30, threw our stuff in the rooms and left for Lake Erie State Park, only 5 minutes from her house. I learned that Fredonia is not that big. As we drove she showed me her brother’s house, her aunt and uncles place, and a few others. Main Street was very cool, with shops, restaurants, and some bars lining it.

On the drive over the sky was grey and it rained on us. Once we go just south of buffalo, the sky opened up and the sun stayed with us. The state park was beautiful and they had a big house rented out. It was right on the lake and had a beach maybe 100 yards form the place.

We arrived and saw Rob and Tam immediately. They gave me a big hug as introduced my date to them. She and Rob tried to see if they knew each other from home town, but it was more of joint people they knew. We were introduced to some family and some of their friends and they were off doing what the couple does, meet and talk. I didn’t know anyone there besides the couple and the bride’s mom. We headed over and got a beer from the ice cold keg with the leaky tap, and sideways pump. Not sure if I’ve seen a horizontal pump before.

We walked through the crowd and since we didn’t really know anyone, walked down toward Lake Erie and the beach. The wind blew, but the sun felt great. From there it was off to the swing set. There were 4 swings. She sat second from the right, the far right was a kiddie one. I pushed her. I couldn’t let her have all of the fun, so I got on in-between her and what turned out to be a very nice girl our age from India. I struck up a conversation. She and her husband were traveling through on their way to Niagara Falls. They were from Illinois where he was a doctoral student in something very long dealing with breast cancer. She was nice and we all just enjoyed the day and swung. Very relaxing.

The party started when Ryan and Becky came. They were a bit late and came as we chowed down on a great spread of BBQ chicken and the accompaniments. Ryan and Becky are friends from Charlotte (Ryan and I grew up together in Rochester). They were in the same deal as us, in terms of not knowing that many people.

A few beers were had and as the day went on there was badminton, kickball, some Frisbee and a little hacky sack soccer. That party ended at about 6. My date and I went to her brother’s house. This was my first time meeting anyone in her family. I wasn’t overly nervous, but there is always some nerves. You don’t want to reflect badly and make her look bad.

He was out back with a back hoe digging a deep hole to burn some wood. He got down, came over and shook my hand. He had a friend with him and we all small talked for a few minutes. Nothing big to report. He seemed like a nice guy. I didn’t do much talking.

WE left there and headed to her mom’s so we could change and get ready. Her mom and boyfriend were going to be home now, so I had to be prepared. I asked last minute questions about what I should do. “Any thing I shouldn’t ask about? Shoes on or off? First name or Mrs…?” and so on.

We arrived and we all met. It was cordial and she had a big smile for most of the time. She is a very engaging lady. We talked for a few minutes, but time was short. We had to get ready so we could join them for dinner at the Moose Lodge. I had never been to a moose lodge before and I wasn’t sure what to wear, but was assured jeans and a shirt were fine.

I was amazed by the place. The prices were incredible. The four of us sat down and ordered some beers. They told me about the prices, but this was incredible. A dinner of two beef on weck sandwiches and fries was 3.95. A round of beers for the 4 of us was 7.50. This was my kind of place. Our conversation started off a bit slowly as we felt each other out. The boyfriend was kind of quiet and did a lot of TV watching at the start. I asked about things and they asked me a few. I am not sure if it was just time to relax, the dinner, or the beers, but after about an hour it was as if I had been there before. We were laughing, telling stories about how we met, and all of that. We had so much fun we joined them as they went to the American Legion. Again, I was amazed by the prices. A round over there was like 6 bucks.

They had pull tabs in each of the places where you buy, peel back, and have a chance to win some bucks. We bought quite a few at the moose and had no luck. At the legion I was low on funds so the mom bought 20 dollars worth. She liked my gambling spirit and gave me 10. We pulled and nothing. She bought 20 more. Half to me. Pull and a line through one, which meant it was a winner. It was for $85!

Now the dilemma, which wasn’t really one at all. I sure could use $85. I could cash it and run out the door never to be heard or seen again. Or I could do the gentlemanly thing and hand it over to the mother who had paid for it. That is what I did. We played a little more but that was really the only big winner.

It was close to 11:00 now. I had more to drink than I planned, but we had to meet the wedding crew out for some rehashing at their local watering holes. We said our goodbyes to the family. I think she was pleased at my performance. And lucky for me it was not forced, they were nice people and I had a good time with them.

We met the wedding crew out. They were at Heenan’s one of the two spots we got to know over the weekend. Ryan had called me a couple of times wondering where we were. Most of the people knew this was my first meeting with the family so they gave us grief as we walked in. She said it went well to them. I even say my first interview while on my trip, from Greensboro. Rob, the groom, had set it up and here he was. We talked about my progress and the book, etc…

The crew was well into the night. I said I had had a few, but there were some who had more than a few. It was a jovial night with a lot of hugging and cheers. The four of us, Ryan, Becky, and us split games of darts and we won the pool game. Ryan is much better than us, but the Crown was throwing him off.

I was whipped. It was about 1:20, but the crew was still going strong. Some of the guys were golfing and I was meeting Ryan at 8 AM for breakfast at the White Inn, a very well known place around town. I am not a morning person especially if you compound that with drinks. We slipped out that back door to avoid ruthless hazing from the group standing at the bar and blocking the main entrance.

We made it home, got ready for bed, and I tried to be sure my alarm went off at 7:15 AM. Ouch.